The Delaware DOE Wanted Parent Engagement, Be Careful What You Wish For….

The Delaware DOE has been saying they want community input and parent engagement to determine accountability.  Recently they have received exactly what they were looking for.  And the majority of parents who are engaged are telling them the same thing: the path you are on is bad for our children.  As the Smarter Balanced Assessment started rolling out last month, parent opt-out started rolling its engines and left its mark on the First State.  Now the DOE and Governor Markell are scrambling to stop legislation which would codify this God-given, fundamental right.

I’m hearing crazy stories from Legislative Hall.  I’ve seen some crazy things at Legislative Hall.  Watching a Governor’s Education Policy Advisor trying to get to a legislator who everyone knew was a swing vote right before a vote would have been comical if it wasn’t so offensive.  How desperate has the Governor of Delaware become?  And yet he won’t show his face during these debates.  If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Every single thing Markell has done as a result of parent opt-out has met with firm resistance from the opt-out crowd, teachers, and even legislators.  And the sad, sad DOE…  Where do I even begin?  What happens when a State Representative with a third grader opts out?  Will they give remedial recess time?  Either they just don’t get it or they think their little “treats” will sway us.

The usual lobbyists have been in full swing down at Legislative Hall.  Rounding up Earl Jaques and giving him pointers and advice.  More like tying him up and giving him the Kool-Aid IV drip.

In the meantime, I am meeting some great and awesome people.  Folks who have never spoken out against anything before in their life are taking to the podium and talking from the heart.  It is truly an awesome thing to see.  Delaware parents are finding their voice, and they are speaking loud and saying this isn’t the best thing for my child.  They are exercising the very rights this country was built on.  Freedom from tyranny and oppression.

A year ago, the DOE were so sure of themselves and very cocky and arrogant about it.  I have to wonder what the atmosphere is like in those two buildings these days.  Is all that zeal and zest replaced by fear and more clicks to their resumes?  If I were working there, I would be updating my resume fast!  I can picture them going to meetings and saying “let’s try this, maybe this will stop it.”  They just don’t understand, and at this point I’m beginning to doubt they will.  Even as the bricks and mortar of their corporate education reform movement fall around them, they will still be talking about rigor, assess and data.

And the legislators, God bless them.  They are starting to realize “these parents are making a lot of noise, we better listen.”  Some of them were already, and they have been fighting the good fight for all of us.  And we have the Delaware PTA and the DSEA on our side as well.  When all is said and done, the Race will be over, and hopefully our children will emerge out of this era wanting to learn.  I can’t wait for that day, and it can’t come soon enough.  Because they are holding the DOE accountable.

Part I: In favor of standardized testing? Let me show you something….

The Moral Currency of the Opt out Movement

fixdeldoe

The Moral Currency of the Opt Out Movement

 

Decades ago, whites and blacks were forced to live separate and unequal lives of opportunity, and a few brave civil rights activists took the first steps toward equality.  America made progress and though not at all perfect, our public schools reflected America’s commitment to equality of opportunity, and through the ensuing years, most people in America, teachers, parents businessmen and politicians all contributed to the collective success of our young people.

Somewhere along the way, America lost its educational commitment and edge in the international community, and suddenly tumbled to mediocrity, as measured by an internationally accepted measuring stick.  There are many reasons for this decline, most of which have their origins in how we, as Americans live our lives.  Because in homes where educational and behavioral goals are mutually shared between home and school, children progress through school and, for…

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Another New Delaware Blogger: Welcome To This Crazy World “fixdeldoe”

We have a new blogger in Delaware.  With the very aptly timed name of fixdeldoe, I look forward to seeing more posts!  I like what I’ve seen so far.  Please go to https://fixdeldoe.wordpress.com/ and if you’re a blogger, please add them to your blogroll.

And check out some of the awesome posts Who’s Minding the Children has put up lately as well at https://hopeforourstudents.wordpress.com/  This blogger doesn’t cut corners and puts it all out there!

Both these blogs seem to be written by teachers, for teachers and parents.  Since Mike Matthews doesn’t blog anymore, let’s give these newbies a shot!  Fresh perspectives are always good, especially these days.  We need all the voices we can get!  The only thing I don’t like, and this is absolutely no fault of these bloggers, is that they are anonymous.  Teachers have been forced to be silent on many issues.  I can’t wait until the day the chains break and they can speak freely without fear of repercussion.  Until that day, and even after, I will support them as much as I can on here.

Freire Charter School of Wilmington Formal Review Notification & Timeline

Good old Freire.  Not even open yet, and just look at the issues.  I love how this formal review notification doesn’t even mention the fact they just had a major modification approval for lowing their enrollment from 336 to 224 the month before…

Prestige Academy Formal Review Notification & Timeline

Prestige Academy needs to get their enrollment up very fast!  No excuses.  This school has been open for a while now.  Whatever issues they are having, they need to fix them if they want to stay open!

 

Delaware Design Lab Formal Review Notification & Timeline

Delaware Design Lab is under formal review.  For this school, there are no more chances for another one-year extension.  I met the Head of School, Christina Alaverez, at the Imagine Delaware Expo and had a very nice chat with her.  She explained the school’s philosophy and academics, and I thought it was pretty cool.  I asked how students with disabilities could adapt to that curriculum, and she gave me a very straightforward and honest answer.  I saw her again after the Formal Review announcements and I told her I was sorry about the designation and I hoped it worked out.  I’m actually rooting for this school!

Academy of Dover’s Formal Review Documents & Timeline

There are two things that are officially confirmed with this letter.  Someone at the school was using purchase cards unethically since July of 2012.  The second thing is the lawsuit between Academy of Dover and Mosaica is finally talked about by the Delaware DOE.

Delaware House Bill #107 smacks the hands of overreaching DE DOE & USDOE

Delaware House Bill #108 questions DE DOE’s go-it-along NCLB Wavier agenda

An Important Message About Comments & Articles On Exceptional Delaware

As a parent, the topic of opt-out is VERY personal to me.  It reaches right into our home.  But we have to realize there are those who have differing views.  It’s what makes us America.  As proponents of opt-out, we may disagree with those views, but we have to allow others to express their opinion, otherwise we are taking away their ability to make their own choices.  But what should not be tolerated are attacks that cross the line, that delve into matters that should not be a matter of public record and have no bearing on the issues at hand.

Delaware is a weird little state.  So many citizens either work for the state, are married to someone who works for the state, or have relationships or are friends with someone in that capacity.  I know they say opposites attract, but the reality in most situations is we tend to associate with like-minded persons.  With that being said, comments in this blog reflecting these situations beyond the topic at hand will either be moderated or deleted.  If someone speaks out publicly and they themselves introduce it into the matter of public opinion, that’s one thing.  Or if an extreme conflict of interest washes over into something that affects the public interest, than I believe that should be addressed.  But comments that either have no bearing or have the ability to deeply offend someone really shouldn’t happen.

We are all adults, but if you are writing a comment and that little voice goes off inside your head saying “Should I be doing this?”, please listen to that voice.  I get attacked all the time over on Kilroy’s.  But I also comment freely over there and I know I will get attacked.  I see Kilroy’s as the wild west of the blogs in Delaware.  Some examples of things I have written about on here are Family Foundations Academy.  I wrote about personal relationships within the school.  They were already a part of the official public comment period on the school, and it clearly created a severe conflict of interest for the school.  So that, in my opinion is fair game.  I have also written about a married couple who hold high positions in a state Department and one of their contractors.  Do I believe that is a conflict of interest?  Yes.

I posted an article yesterday about two educators in our state and their connections with outside companies.  They both publicly commented against opt out in a public forum.  Do I think they hate children? No.  I don’t think anyone goes into teaching because they don’t like kids.  Do I disagree with their ideology?  Yes, in regards to opt out and standardized testing.  They may be the greatest teachers in the world, but I firmly believe they are doing a disservice to children in opposing opt-out.

It has been a rare occasion where I have had to delete a comment.  It’s not something I enjoy doing, but I will if I have to.  None of this changes my viewpoints on any of the issues I speak about.  But we have to remember we are all people, with real feelings and emotions.  Respect goes both ways.  Thank you, and let’s fight the good fight, no matter which side we are on.