Watch CEA & RCEA Press Conference Declaring No Confidence In Mark Murphy, DOE & State Board of Education

Rep. Earl Jaques called my son a failure today. #eduDE #netDE

I guess my son with Tourette Syndrome is a failure too. And every single special needs child who is opted out, and every low-income, poverty-stricken child who is opted out. And every smart kid whose parents don’t want their child to feel like a failure when the Secretary of Education and the DOE expect bad scores for a few years…

Governor Markell Chastises Parents While Jaques Calls Parents & Students Failures Over Opt Out

“I believe that this push for opting out is unproductive and I think it’s unfair to our young people,” said Markell. “Our educators, our school leaders, our parents, and for that matter our students deserve the information they need to understand how individual students are doing.”

“To me, opt out is admitting failure,” said Jaques. “[It’s] saying, oh, I can’t measure up. I’m not good enough to be able to take this test. I can’t pass that test. That’s not the American way.”

Markell just can’t shut up.  And his latest lapdog, Earl Jaques needs to step down from the General Assembly and crawl back into whatever hole he came out of.  The American Way brought you into office Jaques, and we will take you out of it!  Markell wants to control everything, and now he is directing his dictatorial and authoritarian views on parents looking out for their kids.  If he truly believed the words he said today, he would understand that parents DO NOT see this as valuable information.  If it was, the test results would come back sooner.

Markell is in crisis mode, and he can’t stand the fact that parents and educators are openly defying him.  About a month ago, I reached out to Governor Markell to talk about my issues.  I sent him a very courteous email with a genuine effort to engage in conversation.  His reply: none.  These are people who don’t care about regular everyday parents.  They care about their own money, and their own corporate-driven agendas.  Delaware Parents: They are using our children.  They don’t care about the actual data, just what they can do with it.  At every step of the way on this matter, I have stepped up my game to do what is right for our students.  I will not, and you should not either, allow Jack Markell and his cronies at the DOE, Rodel, the Longwood Foundation, The Delaware Business Roundtable and all the rest of these phony organizations to dictate what is best for our children.  Enough Markell.  You have drawn your line in the sand, and you should eagerly await my next response!

And as for you Mr. “I have never taught in a classroom” Earl Jaques, I can’t even bear to call you a State Representative anymore.  You have lost that title in my mind.  Twice you have chastised me at House Education Committee meetings when I have asked tough questions to the DOE that they didn’t want to answer.  Twice you did not even give them the chance.  You are not fit for the education committee, or the General Assembly.

To read more about the above quotes, please check out Avi Wolfman-Arent’s article on WHYY/Newsworks here: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/delaware/item/79489-delaware-to-launch-qtesting-inventoryq-for-school-assessments

 

Red Clay & Christina Educators Association Announce Resolution of No Confidence in Mark Murphy, DOE & State Board, Demand Public Election of State Board

At Warner Elementary School in Wilmington this evening, representatives from both the Red Clay Consolidated and Christina Educators Association announced a recently passed resolution stating they have no confidence in Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy, the Delaware Department of Education, and the Delaware State Board of Education.   The full document can be read here:

The RCEA and CEA collectively represent over 2,500 educators in the State of Delaware, as the two largest school districts in the state.  Both districts were involved in the priority schools initiative and educators were faced with a no-win situation for many months starting last September.  Members no longer have faith in the state educational leaders to effectively provide supports for their schools and are demanding change from state legislators.

Many have felt for years the DOE has acted unilaterally without true stakeholder input from educators, parents, and schools.  It is only after they make changes that they reach out.  The resolution also states the DOE spent millions of dollars to beef up their own internal positions and as a result, students lost funding, resources and support, especially in our state’s highest needs schools.

Exclusive Breaking News: DSEA Takes Weak Stance On Parent Opt Out **UPDATED** w/Proof Something Very Fishy Is Going On!!!

This message was just forwarded to me in regards to the Delaware State Educators Association in regards to parent opt out.  This message gives no official stance on opt out, nor does it offer protections to parents who are also teachers who choose to opt their child out.  Sounds to me like Governor Markell and the Delaware DOE are passing out the Kool-Aid to lots of organizations today in an effort to scare and intimidate teacher parents.

DSEA needs to stand up for their teachers.  They need to take an official stance.  Jack Markell loves the fence sitters, and he will take advantage of them every chance he gets.  DSEA has a big meeting coming up, it’s time for you to decide where you stand!!!!  Do you stand with the Department or with your teachers who pay dues to you to advocate for them?  DO SOMETHING!!!!

Under both state and federal law, standardized student assessments are required to be administered in all Delaware public schools for purposes of school and district/charter accountability.  Delaware law and regulations requires that school districts test all students.  It is a violation of Delaware law to exclude a student  from participation in the state assessments except in accordance with DOE regulation.  Students have been excluded from participation in the state assessments based upon extreme medical incidents, mental health of the child or where the child is severely cognitively disabled, provided documentation from a treating physician was submitted.  Participation in state assessments is an issue between the District and the parent.   Many educators are required, as part of their assigned duties and responsibilities, to administer the state- and federally-mandated tests. Educators who encourage parents to opt-out of state assessments, or otherwise engage in actions which could be viewed as subversive/interfering with the district’s duty to administer tests (or to exclude certain students) could face potential employment action.    Many legal issues stemming from opt-out are being raised in numerous states.  However,  cases challenging what action can be taken by an employing school district against educators advising/informing/encouraging opt-out rights have not made their way through legal system, and there is limited precedent for predicting how such cases will ultimately  be decided.  Educators should follow the directives of their employing districts and contact DSEA regarding concerns over any such directives.  Any effort by a district to take adverse employment action against an educator should be promptly brought to the attention of the UniServ Director.

For educators seeking to exclude their own child(ren) from participation in the state assessments, DSEA advises the educator to follow whatever procedure is in place in the child’s district for seeking opt-out.  DSEA does not believe the employing district should be able to take employment action against the educator simply because they seek to exercise their rights as  a parent.  We do caution members that an unsettled area is where a teacher-educator opts out their own child(ren) (thus, acting as a parent) but then publicizes such action (for instance, via social media) and could be perceived by others as promoting, inciting or encouraging opting-out of the state assessments.    Should a district seek to take employment action against an educator for opting their own child(ren) out of testing, please direct the member to immediately contact DSEA.

DSEA has not taken a position at this time on any pending or proposed legislation dealing with parental opt-out rights.

Yes you did! You passed AND adopted a resolution to support legislation dealing with those rights, UNCONDITIONALLY!

Governor Markell’s “initiative” to reduce state tests, Parents Are Still Going To Opt Out Jack!!!

Delaware Governor Jack Markell went to William Penn High School in the Colonial School District to announce his Oh my God, parents are actually opting out in little old Delaware a new program to take a perceived serious look at all the necessary unnecessary state tests in Delaware.  From the official website of the Governor, along with my remarks in green:

Emphasizes value of requiring key assessments to track student progress while saying schools should end other tests

Wilmington, DE – Calling for the elimination of repetitive and ineffective assessments, Governor Markell today launched a review of tests administered by the state, districts, and individual schools with the goal of decreasing the testing burden on students and teachers and increasing the time available for teaching. The effort, announced at William Penn High School, addresses concerns of parents and teachers about the amount of time spent on testing and how those tests are ultimately used.Testing Inventory

“Our educators, our students, and their parents all deserve the benefits of effective assessments that show when students are excelling and when they need extra support,” said Markell. “At the same time, tests that don’t add meaningfully to the learning process mean less time for students to receive the instruction and support they need. We are committed to finding the right balance, and this initiative is an important part of that process.”

Jack, students are prepping for the Smarter Balanced all year long.  The curriculum is tied specifically to this one test.  The curriculum is horrible.  You are right, students do deserve the benefits of effective assessments, so stop relying on national federally mandated proclamations designed to weaken and corrode our local education authorities from effectively education children.  Love how you got the word “balance” in there.  Smarter Balanced….yeah, we get it…

The Governor noted that some local tests may repeat the purpose of statewide exams, while others may have outlived their usefulness but continue to be offered because administrators haven’t had the time or resources to fairly gauge their effectiveness.

Yeah, but students get the results right away, and they actually help determine what a child needs, whereas the Smarter Balanced is a once a year test, not given at the end of the school year, and the results won’t be back until shortly before the next school year starts. 

To support a statewide testing review, each school district will receive financial and technical support from the Department of Education to take an inventory of all assessments given in each school. That includes funding to pay someone to lead the review over the next four months. The state will also provide assistance in communicating new testing plans to parents, families, and communities.

In other words, we are taking over the whole testing atmosphere because we can’t have parents opting out.  The districts can’t fight this, so we will.  And look, more money to review this.  Let’s get yet another contractor who knows nothing about our schools to judge us!

“This is a particularly timely moment for us to discuss the role of assessments in our schools as we shift to an improved and less time-consuming statewide test this year,” said Murphy. “We must also provide our districts with the support they need to evaluate all of their exams so we can assure teachers and parents that we are tracking students’ progress while maximizing instructional time.”

Oh look, Mark Murphy is in the house.  Everything that comes out of your mouth is the same.  You have outlived your effectiveness in Delaware.  Please leave.  Once again Jack, 70% of the students won’t meet standard.  How is that improved?  You’ve been tracking students progress for years.  We all know that.  The difference is, on the grand scale, education has not improved that much for students in Delaware but I’m sure your stock portfolio has!

The state’s new assessment, aligned to the Common Core State Standards, will be given only once a year, compared to the previous assessment, which was offered up to 3 times a year. While the new Smarter Balanced test is more thorough, it will still cut total testing time by up to seven hours and take well under one percent of school hours per year.

Who determined the test is more thorough, the DOE? The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium?  The test vendor in Delaware, American Institutes for Research, who was also the vendor for DCAS?  When you look at all the prep time, interim SBA assessments, and keyboarding skills, you are talking a marking period.  1% my opting out @$$!

For the first time, the state will test critical thinking and writing ability – two of the most important skills students will need to succeed in their futures – instead of asking only multiple-choice bubble questions.Testing Inventory

“Is there too much testing? Absolutely,” said Rep. Earl Jaques, who chairs the House Education Committee. “This effort to look at the 70 percent of the tests that we control as a state is a great start to address this issue. We know there are good tests that are necessary but also need to identify which ones are redundant and can possibly be weeded out. I look forward to hearing back from the group on their findings.”

Start with the biggest one Mr. I’m on Jack’s Good List So I’m Going To Do Whatever He Wants And I Really Hope He Brings Me With Him When He Is Done As Governor.  Get rid of the Smarter Balanced Assessment (that you voted for).

Emphasizing the value of continuing to support high quality assessments during the statewide review, Markell referenced his support for Professional Learning Communities during which teachers meet in small groups to review student data, identify struggling students, and review which lessons are most successful. He also addressed the small, but vocal group of advocates in the state pushing to opt students out of required tests.

You want to talk about a loss of instructional time?  Teachers get no breaks anymore, even though they need it and it is required by state law.  How can they review which lessons are the most successful when they have to adhere to the state standards?  You can only reposition a lump of crap so many ways.  It’s still crap.  The opt out advocates are NOT a small group.  We are getting bigger by the day, and we are legion. 

“Opting out would deny our schools a full picture of their students’ progress, and those who don’t take the tests would be denied the opportunity to receive additional support.  Students will fall through the cracks and be left behind.  That’s why the teachers, principals, and administrators I speak with, along with civil rights groups in Delaware and across America, are strongly opposed to this movement, and support universal, statewide, annual testing to make sure our students are learning and getting the help they need to succeed.”

Opting out stops you and your Rodel, Longwood, and Delaware Business Roundtable buddies from using our students as guinea pigs and lumping them into groups of effectiveness instead of the individual and creative minds they are.  Aside from the teachers that are a part of the corporate education reform movement that teach in schools on a short-term basis and work for fast-track certification programs like Teach For America and Relay Graduate School, can you name these teachers?  They are all one step away from the guillotine if they speak out publicly on these matters: teachers, principals, and superintendents.  Many civil rights groups are opposed to this test Jack.  Parents are strongly opposed to you even suggesting they don’t have rights.  We are sick of the incessant testing and want a return to true education, not this corporate agenda designed to make companies tons of money.

Deborah Wilson, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, attended the announcement to deliver a message reflecting a recent statement on assessments from the National Urban League.

“The National Urban League stands behind federal requirement and use of standardized assessments because this data is essential to hold states, districts and schools accountable for student learning and to address disparities and inequities where they exist,” read the statement. “However, we also acknowledge the outsized time local and district assessments take in today’s classrooms…States and districts should utilize only the most valid and useful assessments to ensure that the maximum amount of classroom time is spent on learning and reducing the time required to take and prepare for assessments.”

In other words, we are drinking the Kool-Aid, and we love being a part of the national corporate education reform movement.  Can’t wait to see how they benefit from this!  They are using the children you are supposed to represent to further their own sick agendas.  Shame on you!