Redlining The DOE Press Release On Acting Secretary John King’s Visit To Delaware

John King

In God we trust, all others show data.


Putting a new spin on the words appearing on US Currency, State Rep. Debra Heffernan’s words above shot the smoke and mirrors involving testing, as quoted by Newsworks/WHYY.  My response to Rep. Heffernan: What in God’s name are you even talking about?

On the cusp of the biggest blizzard to hit Delaware in Governor Markell’s 2nd term as Governor, Acting US Secretary of Education John King came to Wilmington yesterday and the biggest topic was tests.  More specifically, standardized tests.  What came out of this visit highlights this insanity inflicted on our children.  Below is the press release with my comments on this in red.   After that, a quote from a State Representative showcases the growing frustration parents, teachers, and legislators are having with this environment.


Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John King praised Delaware as an “inspiring” leader in education during a visit to Wilmington today as part of his Opportunity Across America Tour.

“Inspiring”!  Now that’s a funny word.  I would say complete surrender to everything former Secretary Arne Duncan wanted.  Governor Markell bowed at his feet and left Delaware wide open for corporate invasion in every single one of our schools. 

Following a visit to Kuumba Academy Charter School, King joined Gov. Jack Markell and Delaware Secretary of Education Steven Godowsky for a round table discussion with other education and state leaders about improving assessments and ensuring access to high quality education for all students.

And who were all of these education and state leaders?  In various pictures I see a lot of the usual suspects: Indian River Superintendent Susan Bunting, State Rep. Debra Heffernan, State Rep. Earl Jaques, State Board Member Pat Heffernan, US Senator Tom Carper, US Representative John Carney, State Board Executive Director Donna Johnson, Markell’s Education Policy Advisor Lindsay O’Mara, State Senator Greg Lavelle, State Senator David Sokola, State Senator Margaret Rose-Henry and rookie State Representative David Bentz.  With the exception of Bentz, who I haven’t seen enough of to accurately judge him, many of these folks are Markell cheerleaders when it comes to education.  Where was DSEA and Delaware PTA?  We can’t have the people who actually know more about what goes on with these tests than most of these people.  We can’t have them asking King the really important questions.  Instead, we get this “roundtable” hand-picked by Governor Markell.

District and state leaders talked to King about the ongoing work related to a statewide assessment inventory undertaken by the Delaware Department of Education and individual districts. A report from a state task force on the topic is due later this month.

I thought it wasn’t due until June 30th.  Are they now rushing the report before the Smarter Balanced Assessment window opens in March?  And they are having a meeting on February 22nd.  Little confused here DOE!

The leaders discussed how teachers, families, and policymakers need objective measures to determine whether children are learning – before it’s too late to help them.

And I thought I was Dr. Doom… “before it’s too late to help them”…  I think if we get rid of the assessments that will help them and keep more of the garbage like Smarter Balanced than we are throwing them to the wolves.

“Every child matters and we need assessments to measure student academic growth so that none of our kids fall through the cracks,” said Markell, who called for the assessment inventory last year. “But we also know that what determines whether our children get the education they deserve is how much high-quality instructional time they get – access to great teachers, curriculum, and the courses that will prepare them for college and careers.

Far too many of our kids are falling through the cracks because of this testing obsession of yours Governor Markell.  One more year.  That’s what I keep telling myself.  One…more…year… 

“So we need to be smart about our approach, ensuring that we are not giving redundant, ineffective, or unnecessary tests so we can maximize time for our teachers to teach and our students to learn,” Markell said.

In other words, time for more teaching to the Smarter Balanced Assessment!  Play it up for the press Jack, play it up…

King, who noted his department soon will announce federal dollars to support assessment reviews and improvements, praised Delaware for its work. He emphasized the value assessments provide to educators and policymakers in understanding student learning. But he said leaders have a responsibility to ensure assessments are high quality, transparent, take up the right amount of time, and are one of multiple measures used to assess performance.

Of course they will.  It isn’t corporate education reform without federal money pouring into it.  People didn’t buy his beliefs in New York, but the gullible of Delaware are probably hailing him as a hero…

The district leaders discussed how beneficial the inventory process was for them at the local level. With the support of state grants, they reviewed their local and state assessments.

Things are always beneficial when you get free money!  Where did that money go?  Were employees paid more for this review? 

“We don’t want to be conducting assessments that are telling us the same things as other assessments,” Indian River Superintendent Susan Bunting said. “We want to make sure we are getting the most information out of the time we are investing.”

The key word in Bunting’s statement is “investing”.  It always comes back to the money.  She can talk about time, but time is money.  And Bunting is all about the Smarter Balanced Assesssment… and Rodel… and Vision Coalition… and Student Success 2025… 

Colonial School District Superintendent Dusty Blakey said his district found through the review that it could reduce testing time for all students ranging from a one hour reduction for kindergartners to more than 13 hours saved for eighth graders.

This is truly frightening in many aspects, but I’ll let a State Rep’s quote take care of this one…see below… 

“We can put that time back into informed instruction because those assessments remaining are really aligned to instruction,” he said.

Shouldn’t all assessments be aligned to instruction Dusty?  Are you saying the Smarter Balanced Assessment has no benefit for instruction?  What an absolute shock!  Assessments should be based on the instruction already given and should measure what the students retain.  Common Core and Smarter Balanced are a whole different animal.  Common Core forces teachers to teach outside of their comfort zone, all for the glory of the state assessment.  That’s not school, that’s brainwashing and manipulation.

State Rep. John Kowalko issued a statement based on this press release:

Colonial School District Superintendent Dusty Blakey said his district found through the review that it could reduce testing time for all students ranging from a one hour reduction for Kindergartners to more than 13 hours saved for eighth graders”. Please note a one hour “REDUCTION” in testing time for Kindergartners. For God’s sake how many hours of testing have they been torturing these children with and how many will they continue to torture them with for absolutely no purpose?  Additionally a REDUCTION of 13 hours for eighth graders leaving ???? hours of useless testing. All parties from the federal DOE down through Governor Markell and Delaware’s DOE and others should be ashamed of themselves, stop this insanity and apologize to all of the children and parents in Delaware.

Representative John Kowalko

I can’t picture that apology coming anytime soon Rep. Kowalko!

Nichole Dhobo with The Hechinger Report also wrote about King’s visit to Delaware in an excellent article.  My only beef with it was the continued fallacy that House Bill 50 “allowed” parents to opt their child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  But it showcased King’s absolute lie about district tests compared to federal.

Local tests required by individual states, districts and teachers are more time-consuming, King said, than federally mandated tests that some parents around the country have rallied to “opt out” of taking.

When you put them all together, they are still less time than Smarter Balanced.  Because so much instruction is geared towards Smarter Balanced, as well as the interim assessments, and then the test itself.  We all know why King wants them gone… because they are more important than “Smarter” as the hipsters at the DOE call it.  And if we actually have tests that do help students, we can’t have that.  Look through the mirage Delaware.  See the reality.  As the education reformers gasp their last rigorous breaths, far too many fall for the lies.  Don’t do it…

Did John King Leave Delaware Yesterday? Were He And Jack Planning Common Core 2.0 Instead Of A Level 2 State Of Emergency?

Governor Markell


Acting US Secretary of Education John King visited Delaware yesterday.  Governor Jack Markell called a State of Emergency at 5pm yesterday.  My question: Did King leave Delaware?  Is he hanging out with Jack planning the next wave or corporate education reform?  Common Core 2.0?

Meanwhile, employees all over the state are screaming cause Markell didn’t even issue a Level 2 for the Blizzard of 2016 until just now.  In Sussex County, fears of flooding when the high tide came in at 7am this morning caused a lot of anxiety.  Freezing rain has turned the roadways into a slushy mess down there.  Central Kent County, where I live, got pounded last night.  The snow is like a thick paste here.  Police are checking drivers for work IDs up in New Castle County.  And Jack?  Where is Jack?  He said there would be an update in an hour over on his Facebook page and that just now came in, after several people already attempted to go to work but couldn’t get out of their driveways or developments and came back home if they didn’t get stuck.

This is yet another example of Governor Markell looking out for business interests over the concerns of the everyday citizens in the state he governs.  These are the types of storms where everyone else is staying “STAY OFF THE ROADS”.  People die in storms like this.  Does anyone really think they are going to get a haircut today?  Or go grocery shopping?  There’s probably nothing left on the shelves!  Meanwhile, all the surrounding states called their states of emergency before the storm actually hit.  Why does it take people blasting him all over the place before he actually does something?  During a hurricane some years back, he pulled the same thing.

I think Jack is looking at this wrong.  If kids are home, with their parents who shouldn’t be working today, that’s more time to work on closing those gaps.  Parents can help their kids to become college and career ready all weekend long!  With the right amount of rigor and grit, we will get those kids acing the best test Delaware ever made in no time!

*The above picture is not from Delaware…gotcha!