House Bill 50 Back In The Saddle For Senate Education Committee Meeting 6/10/15, 3pm

As committee meetings were posted on the legis.delaware.gov website today, I kept waiting to see the Senate Education Committee meeting posting.  It is finally up, and it is just House Bill 50 and Senate Joint Resolution #2.  I expect, to borrow some words from the Delaware DOE, a lot of robust and rigorous conversation around these two educational matters.  I did hear Senator David Sokola tell State Rep. John Kowalko House Bill 50 would be heard first the other day, so I fully expect Sokola to keep his word.

I have not received a response to my request for House Bill 50 to be petitioned out of committee by any member of the Senate leadership, but given that the past couple days have been about Beau Biden’s viewing, I didn’t expect to.  Here is the official agenda:

Chamber: Senate

Chairman: Sokola

Location/Room: Senate Hearing Room

Date/Time: 06/10/2015 03:00:00 PM

Revision Num:

Agenda

SJR 2 DIRECTING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO STUDY STUDENT ASSESSMENT TESTING.
Sponsor : Sokola


HB 50 w/HA 1 AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO EDUCATION ASSESSMENT.
Sponsor : Kowalko


Comment: Introduction, Approval of Meeting Minutes, Agenda, Other items that appear before the Committee, Adjournment *Agenda Subject to change

Meeting Minutes:

I have to wonder if the same folks will show up.  I imagine there will be a lot more parents there since the agenda is lighter.  From what I understand, there were several parents outside of the meeting room the other day but were unable to come in because the room was at capacity.  I know Dr. Paul Herdman from the Rodel Foundation of Delaware was going to give public comment on House Bill 50 the other day, so it will be interesting to see if he returns and what he has to say about all this…

Official: Probation Recommendations for Academy of Dover, Freire, Prestige Academy and DE Design Lab

The Charter School Accountability Committee recommended probation for all four of the Delaware charter schools currently under formal review.  The State Board of Education and Secretary Mark Murphy will make their final decision at the State Board of Education meeting on June 18th.

For Academy of Dover, their probation will be for a year, whereas the other three schools have until the end of this year to get out of probation.  Read the following documents for all four schools.  And I also want to thank the DOE’s Exceptional Children Resources Group for grilling these schools on special education issues!

I will be writing more as I digest all of these documents. The DOE certainly gives us bloggers lots to read!

Academy of Dover: Probation Recommendation By Charter School Accountability Committee

According to sources, Academy of Dover had a recommendation of probation by the Charter School Accountability Committee.  Their final report should be issued later today.  Apparently the school, under formal review, has reached a settlement with Mosaica, their former financial management company.  An unknown (will be talked about in the final report) down payment was or will be made, with payments over the next three years.  The other aspects were their academics and issues surrounding the former head of school and the state auditor’s report.  As well, the special education issue that surfaced with parent Sabine Neal became part of the formal review discussion.  Nothing new on that front.  Even though the CSAC recommends probation, the final decision is by Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and the State Board of Education in their meeting on June 18th, starting at 1pm.

Once the final reports come up for all four of the charters under formal review, I will put them up!

Mike Matthews Lambastes DOE For Their One-Sided Smarter Balanced Administration Survey

In a letter sent to the Red Clay Educator Association members, President Mike Matthews slammed the DOE for their Smarter Balanced Administration survey, shown in the previous article for all to see.  I completely agree with Matthews on this.  Like so many other DOE surveys, the choices only make the Smarter Balanced Assessment look good.

RCEA Members: 

This year was an incredibly rough start for the Smarter Balanced Assessment. I heard from dozens of you about the loss of valuable instructional time to administer this test, as well as the multitude of system capacity issues when you finally sat your students down to take the test. Needless to say, I’m guessing this test has not been popular with a majority of you who have administered it. 

I received this email from one of my RCEA Executive Board members. I’m guessing this would have gotten to me at some point. I’m going to try and make this short, but I feel the need to address this survey.  I applaud the Department for wanting to get feedback from teachers on the administration of SBAC. However, I have grave concerns with the lack of balance in the survey the Department of Education has presented here. Please click below and note the questions and answer choices on the survey. Does anything stick out at you? 

I’m concerned that the only answer choices provided reflect an overall positive experience with the administration of the SBAC. Why are there no answer choices critical of the administration of this test? Sure, there’s plenty of space to provide a narrative comment by clicking “Other” and I’m hopeful that many of you will use that option to share your thoughts with DoE on this assessment. I believe this survey reflects the overall attitude and ideology from within the Department that criticism of this assessment should be absolutely blunted at best or, at worst, just completely ignored.  

I wouldn’t generally email the membership regarding a survey like this, but I feel it’s critical that you respond to the survey with absolute honesty by providing your comments in the “Other” box. I know this could take time, but I’ve heard from so many of you this year, that I feel it’s really necessary for the State to hear our unfiltered opinions on this test. 

All the best and enjoy the last few minutes with your students!

 Mike

 

DDOE asks for SBAC feedback, and only gives choices that are positive towards the test. Folks, these people are in charge of teaching and learning and allegedly providing direction to schools on how to best yield critical thinkers for our society. #facepalm

Why The Timetable For SJR #2 Guarentees Another Year (or more) Of Smarter Balanced

Senate Joint Resolution #2 in Delaware calls for recognition of the assessment inventory currently going on in all our public schools.  As well, with the amendment added on 6/3, it gives the General Assembly more ability to make recommendations on it.  According to Lindsey O’Mara, Markell’s education policy advisor, Smarter Balanced will be a part of the discussion.  But what this will not do is get rid of Smarter Balanced, if it even could, until the 2016-2017 school year.

I don’t think Smarter Balanced can be removed from the assessment equation in this assessment inventory.  State law is very clear there has to be a state assessment, and the law is for Smarter Balanced.  This is required by Federal law currently.  O’Mara said this, very fast mind you, at the Senate Education Committee meeting.  Furthermore, any legislation coming out of this discussion group, would still have to be signed by Markell if it passes the General Assembly.  He is a lame duck.  There is no way in hell he will sign legislation getting rid of Smarter Balanced.  Even if it passed unanimously through the House and Senate.

If a veto process carried past June 30th 2015, this would guarantee Smarter Balanced for the 2016-2017 school year.  Yes, there would be a new Governor and a new General Assembly starting in January 2017, and they would have to start from scratch all over again.  Which then brings us to the 2017-2018 school year.  Over two years from now…

If the only reasons DSEA is supporting SJR #2 is because Smarter Balanced was included in the discussion and the fact that it gives the General Assembly more abilities in the process, this is a weak argument.  I am still sticking with my original articles on this the past couple days.  I do not think the actions of DSEA and the RCEA President are intentional in deriding HB 50.  But I firmly believe they have been duped, and as a commenter wrote yesterday, DSEA is still trying to differentiate between a “seat at the table” and “being on the table”.  They are very eager for change, as we all are.  But if they fall over the cliff on this one and something happens with House Bill 50 as a result, the relationship between parents and the DSEA may never be repaired.