Podcast of WDEL Interview w/Rick Jensen on Parent Opt Out of High-Stakes Testing

I had an awesome time with Rick Jensen today talking about parent opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.   There was so much more I could have said, but I had an hour.  Some folks called in.  John Young from the Christina School Board, Delaware State Rep Sean Matthews and Delaware State Rep John Kowalko.  Rick and I talked about special needs children, the Delaware DOE, Smarter Balanced Assessment, and how it is not illegal to opt your child out in Delaware.  We talked about the “scare tactic” letter the DOE wants districts to give to parents when they opt their kid out and how it is based on state code that does not include parents at all.  I hope to do this again soon!

WDEL 1150AM, Today at 3pm-4pm with Rick Jensen, Parent Opt Out Of Smarter Balanced Assessment

I will be on Rick Jensen today from 3pm to 4pm discussing parent opt out!  If you are in your car, give a listen.  If you are at home, you can go on their website, http://wdel.com or you can listen later if they put a podcast up.

Last night at the Christina School Board meeting, the very first speaker to give public comment said “My kid can’t sit still for ten minutes.  He is not taking this test,” and gave his opt out letter to Superintendent Williams.  This is how it’s done folks!

Governor Markell’s Staff Gives Clarity on Market Street Village-Charter School Teacher Controversy

Governor Markell’s staff has responded with a very good explanation of the true meaning behind both the New York Times and the News Journal’s articles on Market Street Village and the discounts offered to certain populations.  I’m not sure where the disconnect was with both the articles, but this is the official word!

The Market Street Village project is not limited to charter school teachers.  Anyone who fits within the income limitations can live there, including other teachers who meet the income guidelines.  What was reported in the paper reflected the marketing effort related to the project.  

DSHA is financing part the project, as it routinely does for developers of low-income housing projects statewide.  Financing consists of a tax-exempt loan through DSHA to the developer, at market rate and funded by a commercial bank. 

Also, DSHA qualified the project to receive federal tax credits (which are paid by the federal government, but managed by DSHA).  As a condition of this federal tax credit funding, the developer will be required to rent to residents who meet certain income requirements, regardless of their profession.  For example, 5 of the units in the Market Street Village complex will need to be rented to people earning up to approximately $22,000 annually.  58 of the units will need to be rented to people earning as much as approximately $38,000 per year.  The remaining 13 units will be available to persons earning around $45,000 annually.  

In order to show demand for the project, it was important to highlight the new teachers who will be working within walking distance of the Market Street Village. 

However, while the developer may be targeting its marketing to the new employees at the Community Education Building, the program rules do not allow for the units to be marketed or dedicated solely to charter school teachers, or any other specific job class. (bolded for emphasis)

The article suggests that the project is also getting Downtown Development District funding.  To be sure, the project is in the Wilmington district and is the kind of project that the program was designed to incentivize.  But the DDD funding will be distributed pursuant to an application process and none of that has happened yet. 

Whatever happened behind the scenes on this, it appears that going forward this is the real deal.  Like I said, I’m not sure how two major newspapers could have gotten that very specific information, but it is not the case as per the Governor’s office.