NEA Still Pimping ESSA Even Though It Increases TFA & Bogus Teacher Prep Perks

The National Education Association is sending emails to all their members tonight for a “last chance” effort to contact the US Senate and to vote yes for the Every Student Succeeds Act.  Meanwhile, the always excellent Valerie Strauss with the Washington Post wrote an article today about the unmitigated gall of this bill to compare teacher prep programs to masters degrees!

Yes, NEA wants YOU to support this bill that will slowly drown out members in their organization for more Teach For America, Relay, and whatever new programs come down the pike.  And the Feds will make this comparable to a masters degree!

And what are these reduced standardized tests you speak of NEA?  Does this bill get rid of the Smarter Balanced Assessment or the PARCC or any of the cheap knock-offs the same companies are having in other states without the “brand” name?  Oh yeah, it leaves it up to the states who already have multi-year commitments to these bills.  But it looks like teachers won’t be tied to the test as much, so who cares that the same tests are still here.  Thanks for your support for parents NEA!  Who bought you guys?

15 Who Made An Impact In 2015: Senator Bryan Townsend

Senator Bryan Townsend had a big year!  Not only did he introduce tons of legislation that actually passed, he also announced his run for Congress.  He has many running against him, but the slot John Carney filled as the US House Representative will have a new person come January 2017.  Will it be Townsend?  This is really a guess at this point.  His main opponent appears to be State Rep. Byron Short, also a Democrat.  This will be one hot primary!

On the education side, Townsend introduced legislation that would increase the requirements of the Delaware Secretary of Education.  This was done as a result of former Secretary Mark Murphy’s severe shortcomings in the Delaware Department of Education.  On the data side, Townsend sponsored a few bills that would protect student data.  He did vote yes for the controversial opt-out bill, House Bill 50, but not without a introducing a potential stumbling block along the way.

When House Bill 50 hit the Delaware Senate the first time, Townsend introduced a legislation to allow high school juniors to opt-out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  By the time it went back to the House of Representatives, many Republicans felt this could cause a slew of problems with parents who might want their teenager to take the test.  Eventually, the House voted the amendment down and House Bill 50 passed the House again, and then the Senate again.  As we all know, Governor Jack Markell vetoed the bill, but it may come up for an override when the legislators come back in January.  How will Townsend vote if that happens?

Recently, Townsend has been supporting Governor Markell’s decision to allow Syrian refugees into Delaware.  Following the Paris attacks and the recent shooting in San Bernardino, California, many folks in Delaware oppose this.  Will Townsend be able to overcome this on Election Day?  It will be interesting to watch.  What do you think?  Does the newer Senator have what it takes to beat the established State Rep?  Or will one of the Republicans running come from behind and do the unthinkable?

The Fellowship Ends…

Anyone reading this will surely know that I have changed the header image on this blog.  When I began this journey a year and a half ago, I saw the image as a good representative of the journey special needs children in Delaware have to take.  They are all different, but they are all travelling toward a common destination: adulthood.  Navigating them through education in Delaware is a nightmare of epic proportions.  That image is now gone, and I have put in a filler one for the meantime.  I would like to say this was well thought-out and planned, but it wasn’t.  For reasons beyond my control, I have been asked to take down the image of Frodo and Friends.  I am happy to comply, but I will miss seeing the journey every day.  But perhaps it is time to ramp things up on here, so be on the lookout for something more Delaware specific…

If You Want To Opt Your Child Out Of The Smarter Balanced Assessment, Just Do It! And Join A Support Group!

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I absolutely agree.  Please join any of the Delaware District Opt-Out groups on Facebook, or join Refuse The Test Delaware, the central hub for parents to meet and discuss opt-out.  All are welcome, unless you are a troll.  We don’t want you.  Go away.  We need to start gearing up for opt-out season, starting soon at a test and punish school near you.  The test is brought to Delaware by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and about 500 other companies that are making a KILLING in profits off our kids.  A KILLING!!!!

Just remember, opt-out is allowed and don’t let anyone tell you different.  If someone tells you that, let me know.  I will set them straight!  Worried about a confrontation?  Don’t worry.  They all know me. 🙂

Today is the day to opt your child out if you haven’t already.  Just email your child’s school principal, and let him/her know you don’t want your child to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment and you expect your child to receive instruction.  Also let the principal know this is your final decision.  If the school sends you a letter asking you to sign something about understanding Delaware law concerning opt-out, IGNORE IT.  But certainly email it to me at kevino3670@yahoo.com and I will gladly pop it up on here.  Other schools have been through this with me.  One district did the same stunt two years in a row!  You are not alone.  There are others who feel the same way you do.  I also understand many of you are just itching for the legislators to override Governor Markell’s veto of House Bill 50.  You don’t need that, but it will stop the bullying and intimidating by our school districts.  And it would also throw a big monkey wrench in the Delaware Department of Education, the State Board of Education, and Governor Markell’s harsh opt-out penalties they filed with the US Department of Education.  The US DOE still hasn’t approved them, and probably won’t until sometime next year, if they approve them at all!

If you are worried about someone watching you at this time of year, don’t worry because Santa Claus supports opt-out!!!

As well, just to be on the safe side, please email your state legislators in the House and Senate to let them know you want them to override Governor Markell’s veto of House Bill 50.  Or you can email them ALL!  They love to hear from Delaware citizens.  You can look up your State Representatives here and your State Senators here.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me!  Thank you!

Kevin Ohlandt

Harris.McDowell@state.de.us MargaretRose.Henry@state.de.us robert.marshall@state.de.us greg.lavelle@state.de.us catherine.cloutier@state.de.us Ernesto.Lopez@state.de.us Patricia.Blevins@state.de.us David.Sokola@state.de.us Karen.Peterson@state.de.us bethany.hall-long@state.de.us Bryan.Townsend@state.de.us Nicole.Poore@state.de.us David.McBride@state.de.us bruce.ennis@state.de.us Dave.Lawson@state.de.us senator-colin@prodigy.net brian.bushweller@state.de.us gsimpson@udel.edu Brian.Pettyjohn@state.de.us Gerald.Hocker@state.de.us Bryant.Richardson@state.de.us Charles.Potter@state.de.us StephanieT.Bolden@state.de.us helene.keeley@state.de.us gerald.brady@state.de.us melanie.g.smith@state.de.us debra.heffernan@state.de.us Bryon.Short@state.de.us Quinton.Johnson@state.de.us Kevin.Hensley@state.de.us sean.matthews@state.de.us jeff.spiegelman@state.de.us Deborah.Hudson@state.de.us john.l.mitchell@state.de.us Peter.Schwartzkopf@state.de.us Valerie.Longhurst@state.de.us jj.johnson@state.de.us Michael.Mulrooney@state.de.us kimberly.williams@state.de.us Steve.Smyk@state.de.us Michael.Ramone@state.de.us joseph.miro@state.de.us paul.baumbach@state.de.us Edward.Osienski@state.de.us john.kowalko@state.de.us John.Viola@state.de.us Earl.Jaques@state.de.us william.carson@state.de.us trey.paradee@state.de.us bobby.outten@state.de.us Sean.Lynn@state.de.us andria.bennett@state.de.us jack.peterman@state.de.us Lyndon.Yearick@state.de.us David.L.Wilson@state.de.us Harvey.Kenton@state.de.us Ruth.BriggsKing@state.de.us Ronald.Gray@state.de.us Daniel.Short@state.de.us Timothy.Dukes@state.de.us Richard.G.Collins@state.de.us David.Bentz@state.de.us

 

Why Won’t Matt Albright Call It “The Smarter Balanced Assessment”? Are These Toxic Words Now For Jack Markell?

I have to crack up when I read the News Journal these days.  In an article about school funding, Matthew Albright with the News Journal started talking about how city kids did on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  But he doesn’t call it by name.  This is what he says:

On the state’s tough new standardized test…

Call it by name Matthew Albright! It’s called the Smarter Balanced Assessment!  Did Markell call you guys and tell you to call it that cause he doesn’t want people Googling “Smarter Balanced Assessment”?  Too bad Jack!  They can come here to read the actual words.  Own it News Journal!  Own it Jack!  Especially since Jack said it was “the best test Delaware ever made” last summer at New America.  I also see the words Common Core starting to fade in favor of “the state standards”.  Stop pussy-footing around and take ownership of the monster you created Jack!

Hey Jack, why no comment on the Delaware Met?  You certainly had a lot to say about the priority schools, but we have a school where a student had their hair put on fire and you go strangely mum.  Would that be because you don’t want people to see this as YOUR failure?  Along with the Smarter Balanced Assessment?

Hey Jack, how is it going?  Seriously.  We never talk.  What are your plans after you leave your Governor job?  Inquiring minds want to know.  I know you’ve been busy.  You know, working the rounds so to speak.  Making calls.  I get it.  You have your plans, and you will do anything to get them completed.  I get that.  Don’t agree with whatever you are planning I’m sure, but I understand.

By the way Jack, opt-out season is fast approaching so I may jump ahead on it this year.  I look forward to the new crazy ideas you come up with in 2016 to try to stop opt-out.  They will fail, and I will laugh, but I admire your attempts.  It reminds me of a phrase from “It’s A Wonderful Life”.  “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets it wings”.  Or something like that.  You can equate that with the opt-out movement any way you like.  Are your opt-out guard dogs ready?  They have a big season ahead and they will need to be at the top of their game.

I emailed you the Santa Claus opt-out proclamation, but I didn’t see a response.  Maybe you sent one to Santa.  Good luck trying to turn that guy over to your side!  He sees greed 22,000 miles away!  I don’t think Santa is going to opt out of liking opt-out Jack.

I posted some old videos you put up from your 2008 campaign for Governor.  Love how you talked about the horrible Delaware student test and how bad it was and teachers need to teach and not to the test.  You have come a long way since then Jack.  I’m not sure how this went from the News Journal to you Jack, but what the heck!  It’s a Saturday night (at the time of this writing), I’m tired, and I like free-writing sometimes.  No research, just letting it flow.  Alright, if I’m talking about writing, it’s time to bid adieu.