Mike Matthews just posted this on Facebook, and he is absolutely correct. It is NOT about the teachers Jack. But you already know that, don’t you. It’s just easy for your game plan if people think that!
Some individuals truly believe that the *best* teachers are at schools where students perform great on the state test. I have never and will never buy into this belief that so many #edreformers (and our governor and Department of Education) hold.
As full-time president, I get to visit lots of schools on a regular basis. I’ve visited a majority of Red Clay’s elementary schools. When I tell teachers I taught at Warner Elementary, the response from a few dozen of them has been “Really?? I started my career at Warner!” or “I started my career at Shortlidge!” or “I started my career in the city!”
I’ve asked some a follow-up: “Why did you leave?” And most have given similar answers: “I never felt we got the support that we required to address student needs” or “I couldn’t balance having my own family and continuing to work until 7 or 8 at night” or “Classroom management was a huge issue and support was limited.”
So, according to our Governor and DoE the problem with the inner-city schools and low test scores is poor administration and teachers. But many of the teachers — a good portion of whom started their careers at inner-city schools — who are now working at “successful” (based on standardized test scores) suburban schools are having their students perform magnificently on the test.
So what’s the problem here? Do the teachers at “low-performing” city schools suck? Should they all have to reapply for their jobs? Because it’s very likely that the same “low-performing” city teacher today will in two or three years be a “high-performing” suburban teacher after they’ve chosen to leave the city school because of any number of stressors.
How do we get these ALREADY GREAT teachers in our city schools to STAY so that communities and relationships can be BUILT and SUSTAINED?
I continue to believe that the answer is easier than we all make it out to be, but too few people are willing to confront those tough questions and have the courageous conversations needed to move forward.
Since Mark Murphy resigned as Delaware Secretary of Education, along with his counterpart in Maryland, Lillian Lowery, they are no longer eligible to sit on the Board of Directors at the Council of Chief State School Officers. Murphy’s last day is September 30th. Interim Secretary of Education, Dr. Steven Godowsky, will have to be confirmed by the Delaware Senate. I do not envy Dr. Godowsky in the weeks and months ahead. One of the biggest things he will have to deal with is me. I don’t envy him that at all. I requested a meeting with Dr. Godowsky and Governor Markell. We shall see if they respond. If not, oh well. I’ll just keep doing what I do.
The Council of Chief State School Officers is a non-profit company based out of Washington D.C. I will have much more to write about CCSSO in the coming days.
For the past couple days I have been emailing the Delaware Department of Education for simple answers to simple questions:
Why does Delaware Online Checkbook show no payments going out to the scoring vendor for the Smarter Balanced Assessment? Is it under a different name than Data Recognition Corporation? If you do not pay them, who does?
I received no responses until I included more names on the email of folks who do not work at the DOE.
I’m not sure who would be able to answer this question, so if none of you are able to could you please forward this to the appropriate party at Delaware DOE to answer this question.
I have looked on Delaware Online Checkbook for any payments sent to the scoring vendor for the Smarter Balanced Assessment, Data Recognition Corporation, and I have seen no payments sent to them which is very unusual. Are payments sent to them under a different vendor name or does American Institutes for Research send them their payments?
From: Kevin Ohlandt [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 10:12 AM To: Blowman David; Murphy Mark; email@example.com Cc: Haberstroh Susan Keene; Schwinn Penny; May Alison Subject: Re: Data Recognition Corporation
I am not sure why anybody is responding to this email. I have found, consistently, when the Delaware DOE does not respond to very specific questions like this, there is something to hide. I can find the answers other ways, but it will not make the Delaware DOE look good. Is there another organization paying for Data Recognition Corp’s services? If so, why?
I’m sure you do not see it this way, but I am actually trying to work with you folks, but when I get no response or vague comments without facts, it speaks volumes.
From: May Alison <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: Kevin Ohlandt <email@example.com>; Blowman David <david.blowman@DOE.K12.DE.US>; Murphy Mark <Mark.Murphy@DOE.K12.DE.US>; “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com> Cc: Haberstroh Susan Keene <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Schwinn Penny <Penny.Schwinn@doe.k12.de.us> Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 12:33 PM Subject: RE: Data Recognition Corporation
Thank you for your inquiry. To confirm, we received your public information request on Sept. 21. Under the FOIA statute (http://www.doe.k12.de.us/domain/196), the department’s response is due by Oct. 12.
In this case, we have no records in response to your request. The Delaware Department of Education does not have a contract with nor has it made any payments to Data Recognition Corporation.
So there we have it, the Delaware Department of Education has no contract with Data Recognition Corporation. So who does? While in the area I went to the DOE office in the Townsend Building and spoke with Alison May. I reiterated the information she conveyed to me in her email, and she advised me AIR has a sub-contract with Data Recognition Corporation. For those of you who may not be aware, AIR is American Institutes for Research, the actual testing vendor for the Smarter Balanced Assessment in Delaware, along with many other states. AIR pays Data Recognition Corporation to score the very same test they created. Nobody knows how much.
To add insult to injury, Data Recognition Corporation was part of my FOIA request to the Delaware DOE last March. The one where they overcharged nearly $7000.00 based on a legal opinion generated by the Delaware Attorney General’s office when I filed a complaint. At no time during the constant email exchanges between the DOE and myself, and to my knowledge, since it is mentioned nowhere in the response to my FOIA complaint, did they convey this to the Attorney General’s office as well. Six months later we are just now finding out this information.
Stay tuned, because I have a lot more to say about this and the many connections with Data Recognition Corporation and American Institutes for Research. In the meantime, just put American Institutes for Research in the search box on this blog, and tell if you think it is right that this company which has made $38,000,000.00, just in Delaware alone, hires the scorer for their own assessment. The plot thickens…
Interesting FYI: When I went to speak with Alison May, in the Cabinet Room next door there was a meeting. It was the Accountability Framework Working Group. To be a fly in the wall during that meeting…
The privatizers have been searching for the past decade for a “proof point” that privatization is the path to a great education that will lift all children out of poverty, thereby avoiding the necessity to raise taxes on the rich.
First, they focused on New Orleans, but despite their massive propaganda campaign, there are many doubts about the “success.” Even their own data report that at least 40% of charters are F-rated by a charter-friendly state department of education.
Then they tried Newark, buoyed by Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million gift (matched by others). That was a complete flop.
Then they started the “Achievement School District” in Tennessee, whose leader Chris Barbic promised to lift the schools in the bottom 5% to the top 25% in only five years. As of now, four years later, the first batch are still in the bottom 5%, except for two that reached the bottom…
One of my favorite talk-show radio hosts in Delaware is Rick Jensen on WDEL. While I may not always agree with him on every issue, we stand united in our hatred of Common Core and both actively advocate for parent opt-out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Or as Rick calls it, the “Not So Smarter Balanced Assessment”. He had this guy from the Thomas Fordham Institute on the show today.
I love how this guy refuses to call Common Core a curriculum. Really? Then why is it I put an article up with a copy of my son’s math homework a year ago, and it generated 15,000 hits in less than 24 hours? Because parents across America were Googling this homework that night, when kids all across the country had the SAME homework, with teachers teaching to that math that day. If that is just a standard, then I strongly suggest this man buys a dictionary and learns the difference between standards and curriculum.
And let’s not forget one thing that most folks don’t know. The NAEP test, that has been a “steady” barometer of our children’s success in America, is based on tests designed by American Institutes for Research. Who is also a vendor for numerous states and their standardized assessment, including all the Smarter Balanced Assessment states. Of course kids would do worse on a test they helped create against a test they helped create. A company like that doesn’t get $38,000,000.00 from a small state like Delaware, and who knows how much at a national level, if all children are succeeding. They need kids to fail this test, in great numbers, so they can continue their profit margins. That’s what it’s all about. So when these “think tank” guys talk about how much we need this data, they need that data so they can line their pockets with taxpayer money. It’s not about the kids. It’s never been about the kids. It’s about greed, pure and simple.
Why are these Fordham guys showing up in the News Journal and WDEL all of a sudden? Because folks like Dr. Paul Herdman of Rodel are asking them to. Because they know opt-out numbers are going to go through the roof next spring, and they want to get the spin control out now. Because these corporate intruders, and that’s what they are, are scared to death of the 148th General Assembly overriding Governor Markell’s veto of House Bill 50. But like the Smarter Balanced Assessment itself, they will fail. Because they are missing the crucial ingredient in all of this. A parent’s love for their child. There is nothing greater aside from the Almighty Himself! So Jack, Paul, Mark, all of you, listen up. We will not give up. We will not surrender. We will not stop. We aren’t idiots who believe whatever lines you throw our way. We are parents. We are our children’s voice. You all need to stop before you embarrass yourselves even further.