The Honesty Gap Between Governor Markell And Students, Parents, & Teachers Is Wider Than The Pacific Ocean

Governor Markell, Parental Opt-Out of Standardized Testing

“And we’re not being honest with kids about what they need to be proficient.”

In an article in the News Journal, Governor Markell said there is an “honesty gap” between state standardized tests and the National Assessment of Educational Progress.  First off, with all the news going on with education in Delaware, how is it that reporter Matthew Albright’s biggest education news of the day yesterday was a conference call with Markell, Achieve, and the Collaboration for Student Success?  I can think of at least three dozen other matters that are more newsworthy.

Governor Markell is scrambling.  So are the big education reform companies.  They will say and do anything to attempt to gain the trust back in their corporate education reform agenda.  Now they are tackling the biggest problem they will have in the next three months: when the scores come back on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  What Markell and Achieve don’t mention in this article is how Achieve is in a contract with the Delaware Department of  Education right now with the Assessment Inventory initiative.  This was Markell’s rocket science idea to get rid of other assessments to justify the Smarter Balanced.

When the issue of parent opt-out came up during this conference call, Achieve President Michael Cohen said:

“While we’re here talking about making sure parents get honest, accurate measures of performance, parents are actually opting to get no information about their performance,”

You are absolutely right Mr. Cohen.  The parents who are opting their children out do not trust the test or Governor Markell.  Teachers don’t trust it either.  Sure, maybe the chosen few who become Teachers of the Year or become part of the Rodel Round Table over at Camelot, aka 100 W. 10th St. in Wilmington.  These are the dying embers of a failed policy, but Markell is too stubborn or too invested to just throw water over them and just let it cool down.  This is his Achilles Heel.  Whenever his baby is threatened, he pulls these stunts.  And this widens the gap between himself and the rest of us.

Where is the honesty with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Governor Markell?  Teachers can’t see the test beforehand, and they don’t see the answers the students give or the actual graded tests.  Parents don’t see it either, but they are supposed to trust a score?  But this is okay to measure schools and teachers?  I don’t see a lot of honesty  in that Governor.  So keep peddling your proficiency measure like some guy selling Rolex watches in New York City, and us parents will continue to opt our kids out.  The debate is over, but you are too foolish to realize it.

Matt Albright, you are better than this.  Stop taking phone calls from the Governor and start covering real education stories.

Special Education in Delaware

Special Education In Delaware

I had a long conversation with someone the other and I realized something.  Delaware still needs massive help with special education.  It’s not every school, it’s not every teacher.  It’s not everything the DOE is doing either.  But a lot of it is those things.  Is it getting better?  From what I hear from so many parents, it’s not.  In fact, some say it’s never been worse.

On June 24th last year, the News Journal announced the US DOE put Delaware on a needs intervention for special education watch.  I started this blog a couple weeks before this announcement, so I jumped on this story right away.  I was in complete agreement.  What I hoped more than anything was that this warning would galvanize the DOE, schools, and legislators to do more for special education.  The IEP Task Force was created and legislators introduced bills to address special education in Delaware.  None have been passed yet.  With Smarter Balanced, more pressure is on the schools, and I fear special education students needs are not being met because of this.  They may be getting more RTI and MAP or DIBELS assessments, but are they getting all of the services they need?

I went and looked at the Facebook comments on the June 24th announcement.  Take a look at them.  If you were any of those parents, I ask you this: Have things gotten better?  Have they gotten worse?

For teachers in our schools, do you find it harder to get IEP goals met for these students with disabilities?  For parents, are you getting what you think your child deserves during IEP meetings?  I think it’s past time we all organized, separate from all the government and DOE groups.  What say you?  As we saw with parent opt-out, parents can make a huge difference.  Let’s do it with special education!