Exceptional Delaware Is Part Of A Haiku Learning Assignment Today! **UPDATED**

On WordPress blogs, you can see what other websites refer you to your own blog. For the past few days, I’ve seen a website called Haiku Learning refer quite a few folks to Exceptional Delaware. I decided tonight to see what the fuss was all about.  This is an online learning school.  The class that had the assignment was Social Action and Leadership.  This was today’s assignment:

Assignment for 9/18

For class on Friday, please read the article attached below.  After reading the article, skim these two sites.

Site 1: http://www.solutionsfordelawareschools.com/

Site 2: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/

Please answer these questions:

1. Summarize the Delaware Today article.

2. What was one thing in the Delaware Today article that surprised you?

3. What impression do you get from the two sites?  Do you believe they are for the same audience?  If you were a parent of a public school student, how would they help you?

Page_white_acrobat Fixing Wilmington’s Schools August 2015 Delaware Today.pdf

I guess you’ve hit the big leagues when your blog is part of a class assignment! I would love to see some of the actual completed assignments on this. Have I now corrupted the assignment by writing about it? Will Solutions For Wilmington Schools generate some out-of-state discussion concerning the Wilmington redistricting plan? I am fascinated by this! Especially the part about “If you were a parent of a public school student, how would they help you?”

You can follow the yellow brick road here.

Updated, 9/19/15, 10:15am: WEIC Co-Chair Tizzy Lockman told me Padua is an all girls Catholic school in Wilmington.  This is an assignment for that school.  Mystery solved.  This is what happens when a Dover guy doesn’t know all the schools up there!

Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens STILL Bashing Parent Opt-Out

This may provide schools with an incentive to encourage student participation in the assessment system.

I would think, after seeing the abysmal Smarter Balanced Assessment results for Delaware, especially for students with disabilities, the Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens would change it’s tune on parent opt-out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  But in their public comment for Regulation 103, which the State Board shot down for action yesterday, they felt the participation rate penalty could be a good way for schools to convince parents the kids need to take the test.

What is it with this council?  I appreciate a lot of the work they do.  Don’t get me wrong on that.  But this is HUGE.  Yes, it is a group with the word Governor in it, but that doesn’t mean they have to stick with his opinions.  I would love it if they could give any factual basis for their claims aside from the News Journal.  This isn’t the first time they have based their opinions on articles in the News Journal.  Don’t read a newspaper, or even my own blog.  Just look at the statistics for students with disabilities on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  10% in Math, 15% in ELA.  That’s ALL you need to know.  These are kids.  And I’m sure a lot of them wanted to do good on this test.  Imagine the pain and confusion they will feel when they get their results.  Imagine the struggles they had taking this test.  It’s not right, and it isn’t fair that a group of adults speaking for these children should go against the public consensus on this.  This test is horrible, and everyone knows it.

I’ve met Robert Overmiller and Wendy Strauss, and they are good people.  I know quite a few members on this council.  I just don’t get why they would do this.  Luckily, this Regulation is going to be reviewed and hopefully reworked.  But I would love a compelling reason why they are so adamantly against parent opt-out.

NBC Philadelphia Coverage of Delaware Parent Strike!

It’s not often NBC Channel 10 from Philadelphia comes to a Delaware State Board of Education meeting, but this happened yesterday after the Parent Strike press conference outside Legislative Hall in Dover.  You can watch the video here and see reporter Tim Furlong cover the events.

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/video/#!/news/politics/Achievement-Gap-Remains-in-Delaware’s-New-Standardized-Test/328104041

Delaware Educator Brings Down The Roof On The State Board and the DOE!

I got the inside scoop on the biggest mystery of the Delaware State Board of Education meeting from yesterday.  At the end of a video the State Board aired on the Smarter Balanced Assessment for parents, a teacher who is also the President of the New Castle County Vo-Tech Educators Association let out a strange noise.  It was funny, but no one knew exactly what the noise was or where it came from.  Last night, Danny Rufo emailed several people in Delaware to share the origin of the noise.

Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2015 9:47 PM
Subject: Parent questions about SBAC scores

Hello everyone,
I was able to attend the Delaware State Board of Education meeting today in Dover.  They presented a video prepared by the State, used to explain student test scores to parents.  At the end of the video parents are directed to “contact your students teacher if you have any questions regarding test scores”.  This is not cool!  When I saw and heard the message I made a deep, “soul in pain” sound.  It was truly an alarming message.
Why should a Delaware teacher avail themselves to questions concerning students they no longer teach, and a test that they did not make, or grade, centered on the “common core standards”, of which they were never properly trained, and test scores that are being used improperly?
Delaware teachers should not have to answer questions that parents have about the Smarter Balanced test, but the Board of Ed. The Dept. Of Ed. And the Sec. Of Ed. Should! 

-Danny

Donato C. Rufo
NCCVTEA President



I complete agree with Danny’s assessment of the assessment!  I sent out a reply to the more than 60 folks included in the email that said:
Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2015 9:56 PM
Subject: Re: Parent questions about SBAC scores

 
And if I could add, Delaware teachers don’t see the answers either, so how in the world would a child’s current teacher be able to help with parent questions based on a test from last year with a different teacher who can’t see the answers either?  Furthermore, parents should consider these results recyclable material or save it for the winter and the firepit, in my humble opinion.
Kevin Ohlandt

I’ve met Danny a few times. He is a good guy who cares about education. He is very critical of the current administration and the DOE. He is like most of us! When I first saw this insane video I had the same thoughts. It’s like the DOE lives on a different plain of reality than everyone else. Come back to our world DOE!

Friday’s Education Corner

Just one more reason why Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams rocks! I highly encourage parents to take her up on this. She is in a position where she can find the answers many parents are looking for.

DelawareFirstState

edcorner.

Submit your thoughts on educational issues or concerns. You can email your thoughts to me at KimWilliams19@comcast.net. Please note if you wish to remain anonymous. People in the trenches are our best information as to what is taking place in Delaware. Every Friday I will post something new written by all of you.

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The Public Comment @DEStateBoardEd Would Not Allow

Yesterday, many individuals wanted to give public comment at the Delaware State Board of Education meeting.  A large crowd showed up to speak out against Regulation 103 and the very punitive measures it could place on our schools.  As the meeting was about to begin, State Board President Dr. Teri Quinn Gray did say “If anyone else wants to give public comment this is your last chance to sign in.”  The problem was that the room was beyond capacity and parents were forced to stand in the hallway.  One parent did not hear Dr. Gray above the crowd.  Public comment was given by many parents, but for Appoquinimink mother Lisa Radke, she missed her chance.  I did ask Dr. Gray if the parent could give her comment given the circumstances, but Dr. Gray said no.  The parent, very upset, told Dr. Gray that was messed up.  I asked Lisa to send me her public comment and promised her I would post it on this blog.  Here it is:

Hello, My name is Lisa Marie Radke and I’m from Middletown. I have 2 children, one with special needs, in Delaware Schools. One 7th grader at A.G. Waters and one 10th grader at First State Military Academy.

Under Section C. of Regulation 103, “Impact Criteria” #4 says, “Will the amended regulation help to ensure that all students’ legal rights are respected? The amended regulation will help ensure that all students’ legal rights are respected.”

I see that in this section you asked and then answered your own questions. I interpreted it to say…here is the concern but we ALREADY have all the answers. But you missed one important group’s rights. PARENTS’ RIGHTS. We are our children’s advocates. It is our job, before it is your job, to make sure that our children have the best education we can provide and it is our job to protect them in this process. In Regulation 103, it seems to me, a parent, that you are going to label entire schools based on an unproven, controversial test and punish them accordingly. A test that is not even graded by educators. That’s what I’m seeing here. And that’s crazy.

I opted my 6th grader out last year.  I was so glad that I did and he was too.  Because he was able to witness the pressure the rest of his class and even his teachers were under.  His class had to cram to finish their work at the end of the year because testing took up too much classroom time. The Library remained closed, classrooms were disrupted, Ipads had to be turned in before projects were completed and all because of the Tests.

According to a NY Times article dated August 13th of this year by Kate Taylor, New York State’s Education Department said that 20 percent of third- through eighth-grade students did not take this year’s exams, quadruple the number from the year before. And it’s going to get worse. And this is coming to Delaware. And if you think that parents are not happy with you now, just think what their reaction will be when you start punishing schools because of this test.

I was in a meeting last week with a school district superintendent when he stated that a movement was coming from the transgender community. That this issue with transgenders using opposite sex restrooms and locker rooms was coming to Delaware and will be addressed and we will have to show “respect.” I was floored. But I have to tell you that another movement is coming and it’s much bigger than the “Transgender movement.” MUCH. BIGGER.

If you only hear one statement that I say today, please hear this. THE STATE DOES NOT OWN MY CHILDREN. The state does not have rights to my children. There is a clear lack of validity, reliability and fairness in these new assessments. I’ve read article after article from educators all over the country stating the same opinion. I don’t have to read or cite every article because anyone can “Google” it and it’s all there. And that is why I have made this decision for my children. The state cannot impose these stressful, high stakes tests on my children if I say NO. And today, I am here to say NO.

Schools are here to teach. TEACH. Not to test. Get back to basics. Assessments can and have been made in other ways in the classroom and within the district. Once again… The State does not own my child or have rights to my child. I am the Parent. You are the parents (looking at audience). NOT THE STATE. It is my right to say that regarding “Smarter Balanced”… we… OPT OUT. Thank you.