G.F. Brandenburg on the SBAC Math

Diane Ravitch's blog

G.F. Brandenburg, a retired math teacher and outstanding blogger,here revisits Steven Rasmussen’s critique of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s math tests. Rasmussen was co-founder and publisher of Key Curriculum Press for many years and is a mathematics specialist. (I posted on Rasmussen’s critique here, but unlike Brandenburg, I am not a math educator.)

Here is a sample from Brandenburg:

““…the Smarter Balanced tests are lemons. They fail to meet acceptable standards of quality and performance, especially with respect to their technology-enhanced items. They should be withdrawn from the market before they precipitate a national catastrophe.”

[Brandenburg:] Here is some of the rest of his critique:

“Flaws in the Smarter Balanced Test Items

“What happened? Despite elaborate evidence-centered design frameworks touted by Smarter Balanced as our assurance that their tests would measure up, the implementation of the tests is egregiously flawed. I wish I could say the flaws in the…

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Brandywine’s Dr. Holodick Bullying Parents “I’m the only one who can say who does not have to take the test.”

I’m getting multiple reports from parents that Superintendent Dr. Mark Holodick of Brandywine School District is handling all opt out requests.  Once a letter is received, he contacts the parent, asks to meet with them, and tells them he has sole authority on how a student is or is not opted out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  He tells them unless they have a medical condition that would allow them to be exempt, they must take the test.

Dr. Holodick, I spoke to you a few weeks ago in response to my article about Brandywine’s website and your letter to parents about opt out.  I can see my words did nothing to change your feelings on this, which is fine.  We are all entitled to our opinion.  However, you are misreading the facts.  Delaware state code states a school can only exempt a child under certain medical conditions.  There is nothing in state code at all about what conditions a parent can or can’t opt their child out.  These parents aren’t opting their children out asking for permission.  They are opting their kids out…period!  You have no jurisdiction telling parents they have to obtain medical documentation to opt their child out.

You need to stop this bullying atmosphere in your school district.  While we can all agree these matters should be handled in a civil manner, you are crossing the line with your intimidating behavior.  Brandywine parents who want to opt their child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, please go ahead and send in the letter.  If Dr. Holodick calls you, tell him “thank you for your opinion, but my child is not taking this test.”  If he continues to pressure you, tell him you REFUSE to have your child take this test and the discussion is over.  If he continues, tell him you will contact an attorney.

This is exactly why I have tried to give guidance to all superintendents and heads of school in Delaware, but obviously some feel they can interpret the state code however they want.  Fair warning to all of you.  If I hear about it, I publish it.

Updated with that little thing called THE LAW:  http://delcode.delaware.gov/title14/c001/sc04/index.shtml

Governor Jack Markell Blasts Teachers With Judgemental Comments

“We know that some people don’t agree with higher standards and accountability.”

Avi Wolfman-Arent updated his DSEA article late yesterday with the above quote from Governor Jack Markell.  The Education Governor is absolutely right, and it starts with him.  The people of Delaware need higher standards and accountability with their Governor.  We are tired of the comments meant to bring down teachers, parents and students who object to any of his authoritarian methods.  We want someone that understands education is more than test scores.  Our definition of higher standards is not the same as yours.  Higher standards would be making sure the funding cuts were restored.  Accountability would mean recognizing your own failures with education.  You are not a teacher and you have never been a teacher.  You are a savvy businessman, and that’s how you have chosen to run the government of Delaware.

You issue all your proclamations after everything has been put in place, and then get snippy with people when they object to it.  That’s not a democracy, that’s a dictatorship.  Education isn’t some elite country club, it’s a place where children of all different colors, minds and circumstances come to learn.  But you don’t seem to understand that.  You need to come off your hill and get down with the people Jack.  It’s not about us bowing down to your agenda.  It’s about you serving the people.  If we are all screaming “hey, this isn’t good” you need to start listening.  This your way or the highway isn’t working.  Can’t you see that?

At the end of the day, before you crawl into bed, you are a human being, just like the rest of us.  You aren’t perfect.  You’re decisions aren’t perfect.  I challenge you to do something tonight Governor Markell.  Look in the mirror.  Take a good long look.  See what’s in your eyes, in your soul.  Ask yourself this one simple question: Do you truly believe in your own high standards and accountability?  Because unless you are privy to some top-secret information the rest of us don’t know about and you are doing this for the good of the citizens of your state, then you are mistaken.

Exceptional Delaware Photo Of The Day, 3/18/15

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What If Delaware Education Became A Comic Book Series?

In a world gone mad, what if education in Delaware became a series of comic books?  What would we see?  Read into this bizarre alternate universe!

B.A.T. Men #42, Written by Mike Matthews, Art by Jackie Kook

Last issue, our heroes faced down the T.L.E.U. in a fight to the finish.  But what price was paid by one of our stalwart heroes?  And which B.A.T. is scheduled to meet with the Governor?

Dr. H & The Agents of R.O.D.E.L. #23, Written by Paul Herdman, Art by Fred Sears III

When a new contract comes up at the DOE, Dr. H must get to Dover right away to make sure his agents are the ones at the start of the line.  But they must get threw an onslaught of other vendors.  Who will win “The Race”?

Mark Murphy: The Secretary #84 (Last Issue), Written and Drawn by Alison May

In this final issue, Mark Murphy must face his last days as The Secretary.  What is the final straw that makes him resign?  Guest starring the Governor, Dr. H, and the mysterious W.E.A.C.

The Board #100, written by John Young, art by Elizabeth Paige

Having successfully fended off the DOE from the Initiative, the Board must face their next villain, and it is a doozy!  Meanwhile, what has St. George done now?  The ramifications of this one will last for years to come.  In a side story, John Young and Captain Kendall from The Network come face to face at The Forum.

The Governor #0, written by Lindsey O’Mara, art by Ryan Fennerty

In this special issue, find out how Jack Markell became the Governor!  With special guest stars Dr. H, Kilroy, and Lillian.  This prelude leads into the upcoming Ed Wars, the summer block-buster that will decide the fate of education in Delaware once and for all!

The Union #64, written by F. Jenner, art by Mike Kempski

Now that the resolution has passed, our heroes are faced with the day after tomorrow.  The Secretary has thrown the resolution back in their face, and the Governor has told them they must stand down.  Introducing the new group, Standards That Matter.

The Network #58, written by K. Massett, art by Charles McDowell

Last issue, the President took a hiatus from the group.  Who will replace him?  As pressure mounts from all sides, who will be left to face The Auditor?

Opt Out Kids #1, written by Kevin Ohlandt, art by Terri Hodges

In this brand new series, spinning out of HB #50, this group of renegades must find something to do with their hours in school while all the other kids are testing.  Will this force of nature be for the betterment of mankind, or a sign of the apocalypse?  Meanwhile, Jaques has created his squad of Measure Uppers, and he is hunting the Opt Out Kids one by one.

General Assembly #148, written by John Kowalko, art by Kim Williams

The battle-lines are drawn, and one side must face their friends and enemies as the last day of The Session looms closer.  With parents screaming for change, and the DOE putting pressure on the chamber, what will the Heroes of Education do?  And will the Governor make a last-ditch effort to stop The Bills?  This crucial issue also ties in to Ed Wars #1.

The Human Capital Gambit #8, written by Chris Ruszkowski, art by M. Watson

As the sinister T.L.E.U. launches their next wave of humiliation on the unsuspecting teachers, Chris has a lunch date with an enigmatic figure.  What affect will this have on the leader of the T.L.E.U.  This story is one we could only call “The Haircut”.

Charterville #19, written by Penny Schwinn, art by Donna Johnson

The aftermath of The Audit continues to destroy the Individuals.  Will they be able to unite, or will they fall before KIPP?  And why is W.E.A.C. closing in on the endgame?  In a bonus story, see the reactions of the group when they realize they now have to legally record their board meetings.

The D.O.E. #225, written by David Blowman, art by Catherine Hickey

This one is so shocking we can’t give any details.  All we can say is it spins out of the last page of The Secretary #84 and leads into Ed Wars #1.  Find out the secret in “The Replacement”.