The People Speak On House Bill 50, And The Vast Majority Want Governor Jack Markell To Sign It

In Delaware, there is one place folks can visit to get a true barometer on the overall feeling about an issue, and that is the Delawareonline Facebook page.  This website for the News Journal draws a crowd, and some of the commenters aren’t so nice.  Now that House Bill 50 is sitting on Governor Markell’s desk, I have to wonder if he is bothering to see the state mood on this subject.  These are the comments I was seeing on Delawareonline’s Facebook page based on their June 26th article on the Senate vote, but without the actual poster names for obvious reasons of privacy:

Education needs to be brought back to the classrooms. My kids do not need to go to school everyday to be taught how to study for these state tests. To much focus is on them.

I agree with this measure mandatory standardized tests have taken the creativity out of the classroom. Teachers are now forced to teach to the test.

Teachers will still have to do this

Unfortunately I know. I think they need to reevaluate this system for all students

Exactly..totally agree..most teachers I know hate these tests now!

Those of you that don’t agree with opt out should be in my classroom with the kids who are crying, stressed out, and feel defeated when they have to take a test that is full of flaws. Seriously. I am not against testing. Many give great information. I am against kids who barely speak English being forced to take a test. I am against kids with special needs being denied accommodations they get everyday that they can’t have on testing day because it isn’t on an approved list. I’m also against a test that does not give me results until AFTER my class is gone. How does that help anyone? Before you judge, come talk to the children.

My experience of state standardized tests in school were stress inducing nightmares…

If you ask the frontline teachers what they think about this year’s standardized test, you’ll see why why we fought for the right to opt our children out. Doesn’t mean we will in every case, but my kids won’t be subjected to a test that was predetermined to have a 70% failure rate. Can you imagine the pressure the schools will be under to produce good numbers? There is just too much incentive for schools to exclude low-scoring students and fudge numbers. I trust the teachers who told me about SBA test and until the come out with a better version, my child won’t be taking it. Go ask the teachers…you trust them with your children; trust their opinion of this current testing.

Too much time spent teaching for tests vs teaching how to be productive in life.

The Common Core-associated standardized tests do nothing for the student or, in most cases, the teacher. It’s not really a question of dropping new standards – it’s a question of testing with purpose.

The Feds need to get out of education and return it where it belongs….and where it excelled…to local control

Standardized testing, in its present format, Smarter Balance is a nightmare. I speak as a mother of both a LD and non LD child. Weeks of times wasted on pre-tests, post tests then the actual test. And common core, don’t get me started…Nothing more stupid then taking simple math and trying to turn it into rocket science. Education in DE is a train wreck. My kids didn’t take the SBA this year, and I will exercise my right to opt them out again next year if the same test remains. 

it’s been a train wreck ever since the state seized power from the local school boards, and started dictating what’s best for us.

Standardized testing is horrible. It’s quite clear that it benefits nobody and stresses kids out because teachers pretty much have to drill the information in. There a very specific way things have to be taught to pass that test. I was in Indiana for majority of my school career. I took the standardized state testing in 1st, 3rd, 5th, 9th, and finally 10th which by the way the 10th grade IStep is the test that determines whether you graduate on time as if students at that grade level aren’t already stressed out enough. Curriculums are fine. Tells teachers what they need to teach now how they need to teach it. Not everyone learns OR tests the same. Standardized testing is only beneficial for the student with the brain that understands everything right away. They suck. Get rid of them. 

It started with NCLB, rolled into RFE, now SBA. They’re all just throwing something at the wall to see if it sticks. Guess what, it’s not sticking.

They want us to differentiate instruction but then turn around and give the same test to everyone. I don’t get it! Just let me teach!

I’m a conservative libertarian and a teacher, (non-union, thanks for asking!) The theory that using excessive, arbitrary testing improves education is ridiculous. All it does is poke at a symptom, it doesn’t solve the problems you think need solving (quite the opposite.) As in, teachers tenure and, ‘inability to be fired regardless of performance’ is another symptom. Schools that are not performing is a symptom of a much greater set of problems. Testing the bejeezus out of kids with different strengths, different learning styles, etc. to try to prove that a teacher is bad, is useless in the grand scheme, as it would be if a manager of a large company assumed that every worker under his care did everything exactly the same way. It only measures one VERY finite, tip of the iceberg skill: do these children take this particular test well? That’s it! Want to raise the standards? Let teachers TEACH! Which clearly the woman quoted in this article doesn’t think is possible, because apparently the only way one knows of a child is struggling is low standardized test scores…. otherwise, oh no, they’ll, “fall through the cracks!” Apparently, teachers are incapable of knowing when students are having a hard time otherwise. To clarify: this doesn’t mean allowing unions to dictate, (or the state to dictate, or the fed to dictate.) It means allowing TEACHERS in their classrooms to guage the abilities, strengths and weaknesses of the kids, and go from there. Otherwise, homeschool for goodness sake!

Follow the $$$ and see who sells the tests to the state and what politicians they support

I opted my children out. For four weeks my daughers were to either sit in the office or library and read. They do not give opted out children assignments or instruction time. When I found out after the first day, I put together things for them to do. My oldest needed help strengthening her math skills so I had her do that and my youngest her reading. Both significantly improved which would not have happened if they were testing. These test aren’t days, they are weeks now that expand half the day where nothing is being taught.

So then what’s the point of enforcing Common Core?

Common Core is terrible.

Make your voices heard! Tell Markell how you really feel about the standardized tests!!!

Standardized testing is a joke. Kids past first or second grade know it doesn’t count towards their grades so they don’t take them seriously.

Look at U.S. on a global scale people.. making excuses about why kids are failing isnt gonna help.. yes all kids are different but the knowledge should be the same.. more and more kids focus on social lives instead of education for the future.. maybe just maybe its not the tests fault they fail.. it rest on the teachers and parents to teach and the kids to learn if any of those aren’t doing their part of course they will have trouble where others don’t

stop making excuses for children that cant keep up with the standards,, you are only lowering the standards of our education system.keep dumbing down our children and we will have the next generation of Burger King fippers…

Why would anyone want their kids to opt out? That is so stupid. I took all the tests I could. They were fun!

There are a lot more test now than before, some taking weeks out of instruction time. If you have children be grateful that they aren’t disabled. I opted out my disabled daughter because she has struggled taking these tests. Her learning style is different than her peers. They do not cater to children that need certain accommodations.

And I understand that. Obviously they are catering to your disabled daughter due to her special needs. I have two step daughters who are also disabled. They are grown now, so I do know what you are talking about. I just think it is not right for “normal” kids to opt out. Where will that leave them when they are required to test for positions later in life?

This is for opting out of the yearly standardized testing. They still have to take all the regular classroom tests and exams. A standardized test prepares them for nothing and is a waste of classroom time

The results for the smarter balanced won’t even be out until mid-summer sometime. How is that helpful? And kids aren’t allowed to brag anymore. My son couldn’t be given his honor roll award in class because other kids might feel bad…

Here is all I can say. The school does not cater to children who have a learning disability by automatically opting them out. My daughter has taken them before and it took me to contact the superintendent to finally get her to stop. Even after several IEP meetings I still had to go above the school. Like **** states, regular classroom test are the best way for teachers to see how each individual student is doing. I opted out my other child who is not disabled. While her peers spent weeks taking a test she took the time to strengthen skills that she struggled with. She now excels and may not have if she had stopped to take a test that puts even more unneeded pressure on her. Kids are learning more advanced skills earlier than when I was in school. I understand we have different perceptions, as your children are now adults, but with children currently in elementary trust me, things have seriously changed. I think if you did a bit of research you will be surprised about how much it has.

My daughter is in the Autism Spectrum. High functioning. The state tests stressed her out unnecessarily. Her mainstream teacher said she felt it was an ‘insult to her dignity’. I opted her out.

the tests don’t lead to any success for the children. There is no relation between this type of testing and the required testing later in life. Those types of tests are more like you and I took in our school years. Just take a deeper look is all I ask. 

Veto the bill, Governor. Let’s stop letting the losers win.

Markell is for himself not DE (Delaware) be glad when he is gone.

We need to get back to teaching.

NBC 10 news just reported that Markell would veto the bill. (Editor’s Note: No they didn’t.  If fact I reached out to their Delaware reporter Tim Furlong who thanked me for letting him know the bill passed but he was on vacation.  There has been zero reporting of Markell even speaking out on House Bill 50 since it passed on Thursday.)

It’ll come back to haunt him if he does. I want to know who has him in their pocket and what is he getting for supporting a sub-par test. The truth will come out when some investigative reporting shows the money trail.

Our kids can’t be standardized so why should we use a standardized test to judge them, their teachers, and schools?

Isn’t that what their grades are for? Requiring an honor roll student to take a standardized test is a waste of time

Like law makers don’t have better things to do. Parents have known the test is crap and has controlled teaching for 30 years.

State tests were a waste of time in the 50’s & 60’s, let the teachers teach, the students study and get rid of at least 50% of the useless so called administrators!!!

This (is) dumb. It lets the teachers know where the kids stand!

Actually, most teachers I have talked to are against these new tests.. its all politics now..and the teachers have to teach to the test instead of having the creative freedom they used to have

As a teacher my classroom assessments tell me way more than any standardized test will. These standardized tests are written knowing that 70% of students will not be proficient. And kids don’t have any incentive- they are not tied to grades, grade promotion, or graduation. So they click through and randomly answer questions. This absolutely does not tell me what they know!!!

Let the people speak

Why bother, kids can fail every class and still get promoted to next grade. Why even go to school??

Oh thank you dear masters and overlords for allowing us to have the teensiest say in our childrens’ lives.

I took those dumb test and they did nothing for me. Except give me stress of if I was going to pass or not. It didn’t help for anything outside of school. Honestly who looks at these test scores? Any place I’ve tried to go to college at hasn’t asked me about these dumb tests. So why take them?

As it is plain to see, people don’t want this test, agree with opt-out, and a rising number of voices in Delaware don’t want Common Core either for their kids.  If you listen to the News Journal (who survives on advertising revenue from many of the same groups who opposed House Bill 50) and commenters over on Kilroy’s Delaware, it is a “handful” or “some” parents who support opt-out.  They have always wanted to lessen the impact of opt-out because of their own vested interests with these matters.

Markell has three choices: Veto the bill, sign it, or allow it to become law after ten days (legislative days which would bring it into January).  I say this:


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Kevin Ohlandt

I am a proud parent of a son with Tourette's Syndrome and several other co-morbidities. I write on this blog to educate other parents so they know a bit more about not only special education, but all the really bad things that are happening with public schools in Delaware and the USA. We are all in this together, and if our children aren't able to advocate for themselves it's up to us parents! We need to stop letting companies run our schools, and demand our children get a proper education. Our Departments of Education in our states have become weak with fear from the bullying US DOE, and we need to take back our schools!

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