Rodel’s Dr. Paul Herdman Is Getting Smart!

Dr. Paul Herdman with the Rodel Foundation of Delaware recently made a Top 50 list for a company called Getting Smart.  The list is like a who’s who of corporate education reformers.  Released on September 28th, the list also includes a “Chiefs Making A Difference” category.  None other than former Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy got a nod, along with nine other state chiefs of education.  I guess they didn’t get the memo that Murphy “resigned”.

The list Herdman was in was called “More Relevant Than Ever In K-12”.  He joins other “reformers” such as Andy Rotherham and Sir Michael Barber.  The website also featured a top 50 Advocacy Organizations list of which Rodel made the list.  Other “prominent” companies included Achieve, Aspen Institute (of which Herdman is a “fellow”), Council of Chief State School Officers, Education Trust, Fordham Institute, New America Foundation, and numerous other companies.  I wonder how many of the CEO’s of these companies get over $343,000 a year for destroying public education like our very own Doc Herdman?

Getting Smart is some type of education technology company that is obviously in bed with all the destroyers reformers of public education.  It would stand to reason Herdman would make this list the way he pimps “personalized learning” and “blended learning”.  Can anyone tell me the difference between the two?  I swear, every day these companies come crawling out of the woodwork…

Delaware DOE & The 5Essentials Survey: More Intrusive Questions For Students, Teachers & Parents

The Delaware Department of Education is preparing to launch a survey unlike any other in the coming months.  The survey is a product of UChicago Impact, a non-profit company owned by the University of Chicago.  The survey, which is part of the Delaware School Success Framework (school report card), will have questions for students, teachers and parents to answer.  To say some of the questions are intrusive would be an understatement.  The part that offends me the most is this:

*Questions from the parent survey do not affect a school’s performance on the 5Essentials

Not to let the cat out of the bag so fast, but last week the DOE had a section for this on their website, but you couldn’t access any of the links.  I contacted their public information officer, Alison May, and advised her of this.  She emailed back and said it was supposed to be on their intranet for teachers.  But today, all the links were available.  So you can read the questions ahead of time and let me know what you think.

5Essentials 2016 Survey Questions

5Essentials Communication Kit for Delaware

5Essentials Phase 1 Training/Orientation for Delaware

When I emailed Alison May at the DOE about this last week, this was her response:

“The Delaware School Success Framework (DSSF) will include information to highlight performance across multiple domains. Based upon significant stakeholder feedback, information about school climate and culture will be provided through student, teacher and parent surveys. The Department recently selected the UChicago Impact, a nonprofit organization focused on K-12 education at the University of Chicago, as the state’s vendor to administer the surveys. UChicago Impact’s “5Essentials” (5E) is an evidence-based system designed to drive improvement in schools nationwide. Currently school administrators are signing up for a related training. So likely that is the restricted access. They likely can see that page when they sign into the site. I’ll alert the web folks that the tab should be on the intranet as well if it is confusing.”

A year ago, the United States Department of Education really pushed 5Essentials for survey use.  It looks like Delaware took the bait.  Oddly enough, I can find no contract for this company anywhere on the State Contract website, nor could I find any payments going to 5Essentials, Urban Education Institute, UChicago Impact or the University of Chicago.  So who is paying for this and who holds the contract?  In doing an exhaustive search, the contract number for this was DOE_2015-15SuccessSurvey_RFP, but it shows no awarded bidder under the Awarded Vendors or Awarded Contracts.  But we do know what was in the Request for Proposal (RFP) and who put in bids for it:

Delaware DOE School Success Survey RFP

Solicited Bids for Delaware DOE School Success Survey

So once again DOE, why is there no contract with this company for the public to see?  We have seen this before with contracts with American Institutes for Research in regards to DCAS and the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  When information like this is missing, it always makes me suspicious.  Sounds like Dr. Godowsky may want to look into why the DOE cherry-picks which contracts the public should see.  Interesting that the State of Delaware links to the bid website page in a section called “transparency”…



Delaware DOE Praises Highest Graduation Rate Gains In The Country

The Delaware Department of Education just sent out a press release regarding the highest graduation rate gains in the United States of America.  But does this include the information revealed by Avi Wolfman-Arent with WHYY/Newsworks in July about the drop-out rate and changes in how these numbers are reported?  This wouldn’t be the first time the DOE has praised statistics based on faulty information.  Here is the press release:


Delaware made the greatest gains in high school graduation rates between 2013 and 2014, the U.S. Department of Education announced Monday.

The First State, which saw its rate increase from 80 percent in 2013 to 87 percent in 2014, led five states cited by the report as having made the greatest gains. Also cited were Alabama, Oregon, West Virginia and Illinois.

Delaware school and district leaders have credited the state’s improvements in recent years to initiatives such as credit recovery programs, ninth grade academies and targeted interventions. Many of these efforts were initially funded through federal Race to the Top grants that went to the state as well as districts and charter schools. As a result of these investments, students receive additional supports before and during their first year of high school. In addition, schools are more likely to be able to identify students quickly if they are falling off track so they get the support they need before getting too far behind. Schools have targeted ninth graders because research shows that performance during that year is a major indicator in whether a student will ultimately graduate.

Supports have been coupled with improved data systems, which help educators better identify when and how students are falling off-track so they can more effectively target intervention. Teachers also have more time to communicate with their peers to identify and target needed supports thanks to their Professional Learning Communities, designated time during the school day when educators meet to plan and learn from each other about the most effective ways to serve their students.

“This recognition is the result of tireless work by educators and school leaders throughout the state working to meet the needs of every Delaware student,” Governor Jack Markell said. “Rising graduation rates, increased college attendance, and more students taking and passing college-level courses in high school all show that we are making great progress at a time when education is more important than ever. But we can and must continue to do better; we must sustain and improve upon the efforts that are producing these results.”

Acting Secretary of Education Steve Godowsky said he is proud of Delaware’s educators and students, whose hard work has led to these gains.

“We must continue to invest in these and other initiatives that are working to better prepare our students for college and career,” he said. “If confirmed by the Senate, I will work to continue everything from the effective implementation of our rigorous Common Core academic standards to support for our struggling schools to the Pathways to Prosperity initiative, which gives students hands-on learning opportunities in growing career fields to make learning relevant and fun.

“All of these efforts are necessary to ensure we are meeting student needs and keeping every student on a path to graduation and success after school,” Godowsky said.

The preliminary data released Monday by the U.S. Department of Education shows the majority of states – 36 – saw increases in overall graduation rates from 2013 to 2014. Six states saw decreases and eight had no change since 2013. The National Center for Education Statistics is expected to release final graduation rate data – including the nation’s newest graduation rate – in the coming months.

NOTE ABOUT THE DATA: The 2014 Delaware rate reported by the U.S. Department of Education (87 percent) differs from the rate the state reported earlier (84.4 percent), because Delaware includes students in some special schools/programs that are excluded from the calculation used for the federal reporting. The state 2014 calculations also represented a significant increase from 2013, when the state reported a graduation rate of 79.9 percent.​