Governor Jack Markell, Are You Going To Bust A Union?

My oh my, what a tangled web we weave.  The Christina Board adjourned their board meeting with NO Christina Educators Association Memorandum of Understanding negotiated in regards to the Priority Schools.  What will Governor Markell do now?  Will he actually bust a teachers union?  And what will the legislators do if he does?  This will certainly be an interesting next few days.

In the meantime, the Delaware Department of Education has not done anything with the approved MOUs the Christina Board gave them two weeks ago.  Either they were holding out for the CEA MOUs, or they really don’t care at this point.  This has dragged out much longer than most people thought.  Maybe the public pressure is getting to the DOE and they are in stall mode.  However this works out, short of the DOE and Markell ditching the priority plans altogether, it will be a public relations nightmare for both of them.

If you read my last post, with the live Twitter feeds from the board meeting, it looks like the board is more unified than they were at their meeting two weeks ago.  What happens next will be anyone’s guess!

Christina Board Meeting Live Twitter Feed: Priority School Plans & CEA!

Thanks to my friend Jackie for the Twitter feeds.  Where’s Matthews?  In any event:

And there’s the missing man.  I thought he went to all school board meetings in Delaware…slacker…

Continue reading Christina Board Meeting Live Twitter Feed: Priority School Plans & CEA!

The Delaware DOE Is Terrified Of The Parent Opt Out Movement

There is one thing that scares the living hell out of the Delaware Department of Education.  Two words will make or break their education agendas for students of Delaware. Opt Out.

I’ve been going to the Facebook group “Solutions For Wilmington Schools” quite a bit lately and reading all the comments there is one thing nobody is talking about: how student achievement is measured.  This is the flaw in education these days, and parents need to wise up to this fact.  One test to measure all students, schools, and even communities the way things are going.

Nothing against the moderator of this group, but I am beginning to question the true motives of this group.  When I see the title of a discussion post called “Pursuing a New Vision for Wilmington Charter Schools” I see Rodel written all over it.  She’s a very nice person and I have met her before, but I have to remember she is also on the newly named “Schools That Lead” board, which was formerly called the Vision Network of Delaware.  This organization lists Rodel CEO Paul Herdman as a founding member of Vision 2015.  I posted the below information today in response to another individual’s question about the role of the Wilmington Education Committee.  This committee is led by Tony Allen, who also sits on the board of Rodel.

When did the citizens of Delaware allow a non-profit company, that has its hands in so many corporate education reform organizations, to completely change the education of our children?  We have all been fooled Delaware.  We need to wake up, and to do this we need to be brave and decide our children’s education, not companies that seed and feed hedge fund managers and investors.

For the Delaware DOE, Rodel and Governor Markell, “strengthening education” means having students use “rigor” to perform well on a once a year assessment based on the Common Core curriculum. It is my opinion, and many others, this test is not designed to make students more proficient, but to make them less so. For years, the teachers unions have held back certain elements from privatizing education. With the standardized test scores, the Federal Government, through the US DOE and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, have allowed the State of Delaware to judge teachers and schools based on how students do on these tests. Thus we now have “priority” schools where the low-income, minority and special needs populations are among the most concentrated in the state. This situation is playing out across our country as “low-performing” schools are converted to charter schools. We have allowed this to happen by not speaking up.

It is far past time parents spoke up and demanded accountability from our state DOE and Governor Markell. They received $119 million from Race To The Top and entered into contract after contract with organizations designed to perpetuate this agenda. The entire DOE is filled with individuals that either a) adhere to Common Core or b) are former TFA associates or c) worked at other corporate education reform companies.

No discussion of TRUE education reform can occur in Wilmington or anywhere until the construct of the measurement for “strengthening education” is eliminated. This is why it is vital parents opt out now and stop the madness. The Delaware DOE is terrified of parent opt out. So much so that they crafted a letter for the districts to give to parents if they choose to opt their child out of standardized testing. It scared a lot of parents, but the letter states parents are breaking the law if they do this. This is a complete and utter lie fabricated by a very nervous DOE. Without the high-stakes test scores, they would be rendered powerless in Delaware and they know this. They fear a parent uprising against the Smarter Balanced Assessment. This test starts in 36 days. It’s time for parents to stop worrying about the next education reform and how to strengthen schools when this is taking place. ALL DELAWARE PARENTS, CHARTER, PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT, VOCATIONAL and MAGNET: OPT YOUR CHILD OUT OF THE SMARTER BALANCED ASSESSMENT.

Big Leap in Numbers: What Does It Mean?

All About Autism

In May of 2013, the American Psychiatric Association announced changes in DSM-IV. “Intellectual developmental disorder” replaced the term “mental retardation,” and the diagnosis for intellectual disability placed less emphasis on a person’s IQ score and greater consideration on clinical assessment. The terms “Asperger’s Syndrome” and “Pervasive Developmental Disorder” were eliminated and folded under the Autism Spectrum Disorder umbrella. There was concern that the new DSM-V might limit the number of children being diagnosed with autism.

Contrary to this prediction, the numbers of children being diagnosed has soared.

PA Census A by-county map of autism diagnoses receiving services in PA.

The 2014 Pennsylvania Autism Census findings show that the number of individuals has risen to over 55,000 children and adults receiving services, up from 20,000 in 2009. This is a 181% overall increase in the number of individuals with autism receiving services, and a 334% increase for adults 21 or older, making…

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Will Markell Break the CEA Union? Priority Schools Showdown & The Unseen Force Waiting In The Wings

The Christina Board of Education may have approved the Memorandum of Understanding for the three priority schools within their district, but the Christina Educators Association (CEA) is a different story.  To date, they have not approved the MOU.  Tonight, the Christina Board will look at the plans for the three schools, but if the CEA doesn’t approve either than this will put Delaware Governor Jack Markell in a position of breaking up a teacher’s union in order to implement the priority schools for Christina.

This is a no win situation for both Christina School District, the teachers, the students, and the CEA.  Markell doesn’t seem to care because he has two years left in office, can’t be re-elected as Governor, and will move on to greener pastures when his time is done.  The DOE would like nothing more than to put an end to teacher’s unions so they can continue to push their pro corporate education reform agendas.  It is my belief this is what they have wanted all along.  This is the Achilles Heel they found and are doing their best to utilize this advantage.

Add in the Wilmington Education Committee’s reform education in Wilmington plan, which is led by one of the most pro-charter school individuals in the state, and this is a recipe for disaster.  One item that hasn’t even come up in any of these conversations is the voice that will soon roar.  The parent opt out moment will be the talk of the state in coming weeks, and this is the situation the DOE has desperately been trying to avoid for months now.  The legality behind parent opt out is being questioned at very high levels at this very moment.  Everything Markell, the DOE, and the Wilmington Education Committee are doing rests on one test.  This is not what education should be about.  Our children are more than test scores. Our schools are more than test scores.  And Delaware should be more than test scores.