Why You Can Opt Out of Standardized Tests Without Fear of Penalties to Your School

Seattle Education

students-are-not-standardized

From Fair Test:

Why You Can Boycott Standardized Tests Without Fear of Federal Penalties to Your School

States, districts and schools sometimes claim they will lose federal Title I funds if parents, students or teachers boycott standardized tests required under No Child Left Behind (NCLB). However, in summer 2015 the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) acknowledged it has no plans to penalize districts or schools by withholding funds. That was DOE’s response after few districts in New York State reached NCLB’s 95% minimum participation requirement. While DOE said it could withhold funds if states do not do enough to persuade parents to participate, the chances of that happening are effectively zero.

As far as we know, no school or district anywhere in the country has ever been penalized for failing to test enough of its students. Further, seven states (Utah, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and California) have laws…

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What Foolishness Can We Expect At The State Board of Education Meeting This Week?

This Thursday at 1pm, the monthly State Board of Education meeting is happening.  This will be a BIG meeting!  They are voting on the Delaware School Success Framework and the whole opt-out penalty thing.  We already know Secretary Dr. Steven Godowsky is all about the harsh punishments, despite telling reporters a few weeks ago he didn’t think that was going to happen.  Of course, he had an incentive to say that since he was going to have his Senate Confirmation a week later…but I digress…

This is all the agenda has for this portion of the meeting:

Presentation of the Delaware School Success Framework and other any revisions to the ESEA Flexibility request per the prior conditional approval from USED.

The State Board will hear and act upon the request from DOE for approval of the ESEA Flexibility Application revisions.

Aside from that, what else is on the agenda?  We have the obligatory WEIC portion which has been going on the past couple months.  But this is not a formal presentation, so we should not hear Dan Rich explain the whole thing for two hours again.  But the State Board is going to discuss what they will need to make their decision:

The WEIC should create a record that the SBE can review, which includes:

  1. Minutes from the WEIC meetings and subcommittee meetings, which may be accessible through the WEIC website.
  2. Correspondence with WEIC from the public, including written and electronic comments from the public during the notice period. (November 17 – January 14) These should be posted publicly on the WEIC website and submitted as electronic pdf files to the Board for posting on the Board website.
  3. A record of the public hearings from which a verbatim transcript is prepared for presentation to the Board and posting on the Board website. 
  4. Exhibits, documents and testimony presented at the public hearing. These should be submitted to the Board in pdf format in conjunction with the Hearing transcript.
  5. Any findings and summaries of the hearings prepared by the WEIC.
  6. Any proposals or reports developed by WEIC that address the actions established in SB 122 of the Board.

Public Comment in written or electronic form on the proposed plan received between 11/17/15 and 1/14/16 will be compiled and included in the official record for review and consideration by the SBE.

The public hearings where oral comment will be received will be held as described below. Each will be an hour and a half each and a verbatim transcript will be prepared of each hearing and included in the official record for review by the SBE. 

  • Monday, November 30, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. Brandywine Public Hearing at P.S. duPont Middle School, 701 W. 34th Street, Wilmington, DE 19802.
  • Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. Colonial Public Hearing at William Penn High School, 713 E. Basin Rd, New Castle, DE 19720.
  • Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at  6:30 p.m. Christina Public Hearing at Bayard Middle School, 200 S. duPont Street, Wilmington, DE 19805.
  • Tuesday, December 8, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. Red Clay Public Hearing at Warner Elementary School, 801 W. 18th Street, Wilmington, DE 19802.

Which now gives us a January vote by the State Board of Education for the whole Christina/Red Clay Wilmington redistricting.

What else is on the agenda?  The usual regulations (but not Regulation 103).  I guess they have to get US DOE approval first or something like that.  I can’t keep track of this stuff (I do, but it is not healthy for the mind).  There will be an “Educators as Catalysts” presentation regarding STEM and Computer Science.  DOE is doing a College Access Initiatives presentation.  The Charter School Office will do their monthly update, where they will talk about Campus Community, MOT, and Providence Creek Academy coming to them in December for charter renewal.  Maybe some talk about Delaware Met, but not too much.  It may come out that Mapleton withdrew their major modification and they have to start over in the application process.  I can’t picture any new disciplinary action against any other charters.  We get to find out the winners of the School Bus Safety Contest, brought to you by the Charter School Transportation Slush Fund.  Not really.  It looks like DOE hired a few people but one person is leaving.  No major announcements (I’m sure they are to the people who got hired).  Some appeal with Brandywine.  The State Board will go over the September 30th count numbers and the private school numbers and the other placements Delaware students might be in (prison, residential treatment centers, and so on).

If you plan on attending, just remember, due to the State Board’s lame regulations, you can’t give public comment about an action item on their agenda, which the Delaware School Success Framework is.  I highly recommend going and telling the State Board about why you are opting your child out this year and what kind of reaction the school is giving parents.  Let them hear it from you personally.  I’m sure they are sick and tired of hearing from me.   You can’t give public comment about Delaware Met or the charter renewals since they are under a “public comment period”.  Which makes about as much sense as New Coke, right?  We can’t taint the State Board of Education’s thoughts with actual thoughts and feelings on these kinds of matters!  It’s not like they don’t already have their mind made up on most things cause Governor Markell holds the marionette strings, right?

The DOE Makes It So Easy…Why Do They Do This?

Last week, I wrote about the Race To The Top report the US DOE came out with.  I saw Delaware’s ridiculously high graduation rates compared to all the other original Race To The Top states and I just laughed.  Turns out the Delaware Department of Education was all set to boast of this and did it in record time!  I have to redline this joke of a press release.  It is begging me to do it.  They do this all the time, and I have to wonder if anyone really cares or listens anymore about what they say.  It’s so full of their flawed methodology it’s sickening…

Delaware leads RTTT states in college enrollment gains

Delaware’s work to increase its college enrollment rates was highlighted in a U.S. Department of Education report released today looking at the progress made by states under the federal Race to the Top grant.

Say, didn’t Avi over at Newsworks dispute your drop-out claims which you openly admitted?  It stands to reason your graduation rates would be affected by that as well!  And didn’t you use to not let kids graduate if they did bad on the DSTP?  The pre-Smarter Balanced test that everyone hated?

Delaware was cited as having made the greatest gains (10.7 percent) in college enrollment. Tennessee was second at 3.3 percent.

Well la de da!  And what does that mean exactly?  Does it mean more students are taking all those remedial classes in college you like to talk about so much?  But hey, let’s have our colleges and universities make major decisions based on Smarter Balanced!  Cause that’s going to work out so well!

Race to the Top also provided Delaware students with more opportunities for Advanced Placement and pre-AP courses. The report highlights how Delaware has supported educators through more direct AP training and given districts/charters increased access to virtual courses. This has resulted in student enrollment in AP courses increasing by 9.2 percent in Delaware since 2011. In the same period, the number of AP exam scores of 3 or higher (on a 5-point scale) has increased 22.2 percent.

Too bad a score of 3 isn’t accepted by Delaware’s colleges.  Too bad the bulk of students score a three.  That is $90 per course out the window.  Be proud DOE, be proud…

In other areas of the report, First State educators were called out for their collaboration during professional learning communities as well as their school team approach to professional learning as part of the state’s Common Ground for the Common Core.

Is there still a teacher’s lounge in every school where teachers sit during lunch, relax, and talk to each other?  That is true collaboration!  Teachers complain about all the time they don’t have in school.  And you actually said the words Common Core instead of the “standards”.  You haven’t been watching other states.  Those words have become toxic…

“Delaware teachers in every school met weekly for 90 minutes in professional learning communities to analyze student work and reflect on ways to modify instruction to bridge gaps identified in student learning,” the report said.

I’ll bet that was so much fun for all these teachers.  You make it sound like it was a party.  You forced teachers to do this and most of them can’t stand you for it.

The report also praised the state for listening to educators and adjusting supports to meet their needs: “Delaware and Tennessee had initially planned to conduct large-scale training sessions to help teachers transition to new standards. However, after soliciting feedback from teachers, they changed their plans and brought school teams together for action planning and used the talents of their own excellent teachers, rather than outside consultants, to provide training.”

So why did the Vision Coalition get paid so much Race To The Top money?  What essential need did they provide teachers that teachers could have done themselves?  Rodel IS an outside consultant DOE, get it through your thick head!

Delaware also was commended for relying on groups of teachers and leaders to provide ongoing input on new approaches or strategies to improve evaluation practices. For example, the state engaged 600 teachers to develop more than 200 assessment “tool kits” that provided rigorous and comparable measures of growth in student learning for non-tested grades and subjects.

More of the teacher cabal over at Rodel/Vision.  And don’t our Delaware teachers just love DPAS-II?  Please…you disgrace every teacher in this state with this nonsense…

And the U.S. Department of Education lauded Delaware for using RTTT to provide educators with an improved and more comprehensive data system as well as for using this customized data system to help support and manage program implementation at the district level. The digital systems that Delaware developed also made it easier to report and summarize student outcomes.

I’ll bet it did!  And where is all that data going DOE?  I know, I know, “we can’t send out personal data”.  Unless it is for the furthering of education and the fix-its we all know companies love to tell us we need but they never actually fix anything.  As State Rep. Sean Matthews brilliantly said, it is “cash in the trash”.

So Which School Did Newark Charter Want To Join Their “Coalition”?

On Friday night, I put up a post about the Newark Charter School Coalition and how they met with an Assistant at a charter South of the Canal resulting in the firing of said employee.  As I wrote the other night, the principal was not privy to this conversation and was none too pleased when she found out about it.  Oh wait, I didn’t say she, did I?  So which charter was it?  There aren’t too many in Kent and Sussex. Continue reading So Which School Did Newark Charter Want To Join Their “Coalition”?