Arne Duncan’s Exit: Not Unexpected.

deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

It’s true: US Secretary Arne Duncan has resigned. He will be out of the White House in December. His story is that he is headed back to Chicago to be with his family.

What is noteworthy is that Obama has another year in the White House. The Duncans could have stayed in Virginia where they were residing (and where Duncan’s kids were attending Common-Core-free public school) for another entire school year. Instead, Duncan’s wife, Karen, and their children headed back to Chicago in July– more than a full school year before Obama would finish his time as a two-term president.

So, for Duncan to say that he is resigning to be with the fam seems more like he knew he would be resigning at the end of 2015– right in the middle of a school year. So, it became realistic for the Duncans to move back to Chicago…

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Badass Teachers Association: Rejoiced Over Arne Duncan & Horrified Over John King

The Badass Teachers Association, a group of over 70,000 teachers nationwide released a press statement on Arne Duncan’s resignation as the United States Secretary of Education and President Obama’s selection of former New York Commissioner John King as his replacement.  The BATs are NOT happy about this, and I don’t think anyone who cares about public education should be either…

BATs Respond to Duncan Leaving USDOE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 2, 2015
More information contact:
Marla Kilfoyle, General Manager BATs or Melissa Tomlinson, Asst. General Manager BATs
Contact.batmanager@gmail.com
The Badass Teachers Association at badassteacher.org
Today the White House confirmed that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan would be stepping down. The Badass Teachers Association, an education activist organization with over 70,000 supporters nationwide, celebrate this decision. Sadly, at the same time we rejoice the resignation of a man who has done more destruction to public education than any other sitting Secretary, we are horrified that President Obama has chosen to replace him with John King. John King is the former Commissioner of Education in New York.
John King’s tenure in New York was one of controversy and with an established agenda of dismantling public education by using corporate education reform tactics. King was run out of New York in 2014 because of a staggering test opt out rate, because he ignored and dismissed parents at education forums, and because he refused to fix an education system that he himself destroyed. The state teachers union, NYSUT, had a unanimous vote of no confidence in him prior to his departure.
“While we are glad to see Arne Duncan leave his post as one of the most destructive people to hold the title of Secretary of Education, we remain concerned that he will be replaced with yet another non-educator that will continue the Corporate Education Agenda. What we need now more than ever, is a compassionate, knowledgable, and experienced educator at the helm of this country’s highest education post.” – Gus Morales, Massachusetts BAT and Public Education Teacher 9 years
“John King did more destruction to the New York State education system than any sitting commissioner I have known in my tenure as an educator in New York State. He dismissed the parents, teachers, and students of New York State by calling us “special interest groups.” The fact that he has been elevated to the U.S. Secretary of Education is beyond appalling.” Marla Kilfoyle, New York BAT and Public Education Teacher in New York for 29 years.
John King taught for three years in a “no-excuses” charter chain that had a high suspension rate. His agenda in New York State was to attempt to destroy the public’s confidence in public education. He grossly miscalculated the parents, educators and students of New York State. We anticipate he will continue his failed New York agenda while head of the United States Department of Education.

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Governor Markell on Arne Duncan’s Exit: The Red Pen Edition

US Secretary of Education submitted his resignation letter earlier today.  I have to admit, when I first saw the headline, I was deathly afraid to read the article.  Why?  Because a couple years ago there was a rumor Duncan was going to resign then.  And one of the names put forth as a possible replacement?  None other than Delaware Governor Jack Markell.  Markell has been one of the chief proponents of Duncan and Obama’s education reform agenda.  He embraced the Common Core like a nail to a magnet.  So it was with great relief when I read the article and didn’t see his name.  That relief was soon replaced with horror as I read the name of the replacement: former NY Commissioner John King.  Make no mistake, King is probably worse than Duncan.

Today, Markell put forth a statement on Duncan’s resignation.  I feel obligated to give it the Transparent Christina Red Pen edition.

Governor’s Statement on Secretary Duncan Stepping Down

Wilmington, DE – Governor Markell issued the following statement in reaction to today’s news that U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will leave his position in December:

He really wished he could put forth a statement indicating he would have been appointed, but failure is well-known in the halls of D.C.

“Secretary Duncan stepped into his role at a challenging time, when our changing economy means that the level of education and training our young people receive, from pre-school through postsecondary programs, is more important than ever,” said Governor Markell. “He recognized that we must improve the resources available for our schools to do their jobs, while doing more to hold our system accountable for serving all students.

So what he did, and Markell helped him out on this and don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise, was engineer programs and policies to come up with Common Core and very high-stakes standardized assessments based on that curriculum.  Duncan and Markell definitely improved “resources for our schools” by allowing companies to come in and try to “fix” our “failing” education system.  All for the grand goal of destroying traditional public education in an attempt to get more charters out there.  We see how that is working out in the First State.

“As a country we can be grateful that he never shied away from this hard but necessary work. As a Governor, I particularly appreciate his focus on challenging states to find new ways to increase opportunities for students, while providing unprecedented opportunities for us to implement innovative solutions through initiatives like Race to the Top and the Early Learning Challenge. His determination to get more of our youngest kids the opportunities they deserve raised awareness about the importance of high quality early childhood programs and raised expectations for what should be available to kids from communities that have long been underserved.

Which country are you living in Jack?  We know you appreciate it!  When can we see your stock portfolio?  You and Race To The Top.  You will never let us forget Delaware’s absolute complicity in that, will you?  And those communities that have “long been underserved”?  You helped perpetuate that by cutting key funding before Race To The Top, never replacing it, and then holding a sword to the throats of every school district in the state with Race To The Top.  Embrace or die!  You are a hypocrite of the highest measure Governor Markell.  You let Rodel and corporate education reformers destroy Delaware education.  And they are still here.  Meanwhile, after the results came back from the “best test Delaware ever created”, we see students with disabilities, low-income students, and minorities are even further behind than their peers.  But let’s be innovative and emulate what is “working” in our schools: the ones with selective and preferential enrollment practices that marginalize and segregate the most vulnerable students in the state.  You crapped on teachers so much that they hate you with such a passion you can’t see straight.  All in the name of the students, right Jack?  You are such a horrible Governor and I can’t wait until you leave.  You are just as corrupt as Arne and one day you will be held accountable.

“During numerous visits to Delaware, Secretary Duncan showed a commitment to seeking out what’s working and what needs to be improved in our schools, and Delaware students are better off for his efforts. I thank him for his service and wish him and his family well in whatever comes next.”

Two of his “numerous” visits to Delaware were to the same school Jack.  If Duncan truly gave a crap about our schools he would have gone to different ones.  He would have actually engaged with students instead of watching you suck up to him.  On his last visit, it was the day after YOUR Department got grilled by the House Education Committee and the Joint Finance Committee over all the wasted money that was Race To The Top.  I do not thank Duncan for his service.  I lament every second of his service that has given us an immeasurable amount of Federal control over education, horrible and crappy tests, a curriculum that makes no sense, and countless taxpayer dollars going to countless companies that didn’t even exist twenty-five years ago.  I can’t wait until you do the same thing and hand in a resignation letter before your time.  Please make it happen.  I opted out of your belief system years ago, and more Delawareans are doing the same every day.  Veto that Jack!

Governor’s Statement on Secretary Duncan Stepping Down

DelawareFirstState

Governor’s Statement on Secretary Duncan Stepping Down

Wilmington, DE – Governor Markell issued the following statement in reaction to today’s news that U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will leave his position in December:

“Secretary Duncan stepped into his role at a challenging time, when our changing economy means that the level of education and training our young people receive, from pre-school through postsecondary programs, is more important than ever,” said Governor Markell. “He recognized that we must improve the resources available for our schools to do their jobs, while doing more to hold our system accountable for serving all students.

“As a country we can be grateful that he never shied away from this hard but necessary work. As a Governor, I particularly appreciate his focus on challenging states to find new ways to increase opportunities for students, while providing unprecedented opportunities for us to implement innovative solutions through initiatives…

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Breaking News: Arne Duncan Resigning As US Secretary of Education

U.S. News and World Report just broke the news: Arne Duncan is stepping down as US Secretary of Education at the end of this year!  More details to come.

Duncan says in a letter to staff that he’s returning to Chicago to live with his family.

The letter was obtained by The Associated Press and confirmed by a White House official. The official wasn’t authorized to comment by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

President Barack Obama is tapping Education Department official John King Jr. as acting secretary through the end of his term. But Obama is not nominating King to be secretary.

This is huge news for education in America!  But it may not be great news because it looks like his replacement isn’t much better.  John King resigned as Commissioner of Schools in New York last year and went over to the US DOE.  As Diane Ravitch wrote last December:

King encountered strong opposition from parents and educators for his strong advocacy of Common Core, high-stakes testing, and test-based evaluations of teachers and principals.

Take New York State Commissioner John King. His teaching experience is limited to three years in a no-excuses charter school where poor kids were expelled for minor infractions. Having been chosen to lead the Empire State, where only 3% of children are in charters, he has decided that the Common Core standards are his heroic mission. He has compared himself to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And just a few days ago, he said that the advocates for the Common Core were like the all-black World War II unit called the Tuskegee Airmen.

When King resigned, the New York State Allies for Public Education, and BATS Spokeswoman Marla Kilfoyle commented in a press release from the NYSAPE:

Marla Kilfoyle, General Manager of the BATS stated, “John King has disregarded the voice of the practitioners in the classroom which soundly told him that the policies he promoted were hurting children and destroying their education.” – See more at: http://www.nysape.org/john-king-resigns-parents–educators-call-for-a-new-direction-from-the-regents-and-demand-no-interference-from-governor-cuomo.html#sthash.WIOZ2xp8.dpuf

Students in Delaware May Bring Something Home This Week That Is Very Puzzling **UPDATED**

Earlier this year, the Delaware 148th General Assembly passed Senate Bill 94 and this was signed by Governor Jack Markell on 8/4/15.  This bill is to help keep track of students who may have military in their family.

This Act requires the Department to develop a regulation for the identification of a “military-connected youth”. The Act further provides that this identification is not a public record, is protected by the federal Family Educational and Privacy Act and shall not be used for purposes of determining school achievement, growth or performance. The purpose of this identification is to ensure the necessary individuals at the school level are aware of any military connected youth for services and supports.

The exact area that was added to Delaware code is as follows:

Amend § 122(b), Title 14 of the Delaware Code

(27)  Developing a process for districts and charter schools to annually identify enrolled students who is a “military connected youth”. For purposes of this section, a “military-connected youth” means having an immediate family member, including a parent, step-parent, sibling or any other person residing in the same household, who is on active duty in; serving in the reserve component; or recently retired from of a “branch of the United States armed forces.” For purposes of this section, “branch of the United States armed forces” means:

(1) United States Army;

(2) United States Air Force;

(3) United States Marine Corps;

(4) United States Navy;

(5) National Guard;

(6) United States Coast Guard;

(7) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; or

(8) United States Public Health Service.

The identification of a “military-connected youth” shall not be used for purposes of determining school achievement, growth, or performance. Provided further, the identification of a “military-connected youth” is not a public record under Delaware’s Freedom of Information Act [Chapter 100 of Title 29] or any other law and shall not be made public by any person, except as permitted under the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g. et seq. Rules and regulations on this subject shall be proposed by the Secretary subject to approval by the State Board of Education.

Parents may see a form in their child’s book-bag with the following information:

“Impact Aid” or “Federal Impact Survey Card”: It asks for “Pupil Data” and “Employment Data (Uniformed Services Only)”.

This is not a bad thing and it is designed to help students who have connections to the Military.  This way if someone is deployed all of a sudden, or something happens, the school will know and be able to help the student out. 

Updated, 9:54pm: I reached out to the Delaware DOE on this and they said this is NOT connected w/Senate Bill 94.  I did find out WHAT “Impact Aid” is and I will post something tomorrow about it…

MUST READ! Fascinating Look At Special Education At A Delaware Charter School

As part of a Delaware charter school’s charter renewal, schools provide a vast amount of information in regards to efforts they have made to improve their school.  Campus Community School, located in Dover, is up for their charter renewal this year.  A year and a half ago, the school realized they were having special education issues and sought the services of a consultant to see what was and wasn’t working.  The below document is a very interesting read.  It really goes into issues between general education teachers, special education teachers, administration, and special education coordinators.  These are not issues that are foreign to traditional district schools either.  Delaware public schools, as a whole, have a lot of work to do with special education.  My fear, and I have always said this, is that as long as success is based on once a year high-stakes assessments, students with disabilities will always be marginalized and not given the attention they truly deserve.  With the release of Smarter Balanced the stakes have risen even higher and these children will be forever lost unless there is a change now.

I would strongly recommend the Delaware Department of Education thoroughly read this document if they haven’t already.  What is detailed in this document is going on in a lot of Delaware schools.  These students do not have the true supports they need.  Far too many incidents with “behavior” are manifestations of children’s disabilities and if they don’t have the proper support and services, this cycle will continue.  Perhaps with his massive amount of special education background, Interim Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky will be able to change this.

Part 2 – Sussex Tech agreed to additional funds in exchange for conditions on their enrollment process

DelawareFirstState

Sussex Tech revenues went up when House Bill 100 was passed and signed into law in May. Sussex Tech agreed to certain conditions in order to receive the additional revenue.

On Sussex Tech’s Admissions Application page, it states the following:

For upper class applicants (10-12), please submit the Sussex Technical High School application only with transcripts showing any and all credits earned in addition to current report card. Upper class applications can be submitted any time.

Choice law requires schools to accept choice applications on or after the first Monday in November and on or before the second Wednesday in January.  Sussex Tech is accepting 10th through 12th grade applications at any time and not during the time period stated in Delaware code. Sussex Tech is not following the law.

Sussex Tech agreed to a random lottery, no mention of the lottery for 10th through 12th grade students. Sussex…

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Series of Posts: How the State Bailed Out Sussex Tech High School – Part 1

DelawareFirstState

Rumors were flying around Legislative Hall this January about Sussex Tech, they were supposedly strapped for cash. In April, House Bill 100 was filed, giving Sussex Tech High School a new tax rate ceiling for the next two years and then the tax rate is suppose to sunset to its original level in three years. House Bill 100 was amended, to view the bill click here. Here is the amendment that was added. I voted “NO” on this bill.

  • 23.50 original tax rate
  • 29.00 tax rate for 2016
  • 30.00 tax rate for 2017

School districts have to go to referendum in order to get approval for additional funding. School districts have to work for months to educate and convince their residents why the districts need a tax increase. The taxpayers then decide whether or not to support the tax increase, Votechs do not. Votechs, they just come to the General…

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