Ashley Sabo’s Must Read Public Comment To Red Clay’s Board About Kindergarten

Ashley Sabo addressed the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education tonight about a topic that is rising with grave concern to parents and educators all over the country.  Rigor and kindergarten are like oil and water.  They don’t belong together at all.  She should run for public office!

In the essay, “All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten” the author writes about how all the things we need to know for living life are learned in kindergarten, not in graduate level classes or adulthood, but in that primary year of our schooling. The things he says we learn are: share everything, play fair, don’t hit, put things back where you found them, clean up your mess, say sorry when you hurt someone, live a balanced life – learn some, think some, draw and paint, sing and dance, and play and work every day.  And wonder, never lose your sense of wonder.

As a parent of a kindergartner I have watched the joy of learning fade from her – a child who once happily grabbed her backpack and headed to the car for school now is reluctant to go and would prefer a nap on the couch despite it being 8:15 in the morning. The joy of learning is fading for the sake of rit and rigor and supposed success, when we’re really losing the success of learned social skills and dynamic imaginative play. 

Our students are no longer taught to live a balanced life with both play and work. Rather they are pushed to the limit each day with more testing and more worksheets and more rigorous academia.  Despite studies that show children who are allowed to play have higher language skills, both receptive and expressive, and better problem solving skills, school leadership continues to add on to the curriculum requirements. 

In addition to language and problem solving skills, learning through play helps children increase cognitive development, increase self-confidence, reduce anxiety, learn basic social development skills such as cooperation, sharing, and conflict resolution – all skills and traits that are necessary and critical to navigating adulthood.

I would wager a guess that a number of you, if not the majority of you, had the old-fashion type of kindergarten that allowed for naps, extra recess, more imaginative play and less seat work – and look at you all, I think you turned out pretty well, after all you are overseeing the education of thousands of children.

I implore you, the school board and district leaders, to reconsider the kindergarten curriculum and the proposed increase of scope and sequence being piloted this year. Our kids deserve to be kids and learn the best way kids do – through play!

Thank you

No, thank you Ashley Sabo for having the heart and the guts to stand before a school board and telling them basic truths.  I joked years ago that Governor Markell would set up a Smarter Balanced In Utero Assessment.  With all the Kindergarten and pre-school push lately, I may not be too far off!  But seriously, Ashley Sabo should run for office.  We need more common sense in Legislative Hall.  And any public comment that quotes Robert Fulghum is great!

Controversial House Bill 250 Released From House Education Committee

Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams introduced House Bill 250 on January 20th.  Today it appeared before the House Education Committee and it was released based on its merits.  The bill would make it so parents can’t choice their child out of a school for good cause unless a bullying incident is considered to be substantiated.  Normally I agree with 99% of the legislation Rep. Williams sponsors but this one I cannot give my full support to without major changes.  From the synopsis of HB250:

In 2014, the Legislature passed a bill adding instances of “reported and recorded” bullying to the list of reasons why a child could be withdrawn from a choice or charter school before the expiration of the statutory minimum enrollment period or why an application for admission or withdrawal could be accepted outside of the statutory timeframe for submission. This bill seeks to clarify and strengthen that law by adding a requirement that the instance of bullying must also be substantiated. This will ensure the integrity of the law by limiting its exploitation by persons who wish to change schools for unrelated reasons, but preserving the exception for children truly in need of special consideration due to school bullying.

My fear with HB250 is the schools and districts themselves.  I have heard many times from parents that they submitted a bullying report that was not substantiated by the school even though it was clearly a bullying incident.  While Rep. Williams states parents used the “good cause” related to bullying as an excuse to choice their child to another school, the flip side of this legislation is far more dangerous.  What happens if a student is bullied and the school never substantiates that bullying?  Even when it clearly is bullying?  Isn’t that putting a student at serious risk of harm or injury by not allowing the parent to choice their child out of that school?

I’m not saying every school or district does this.  But some facts can’t be ignored.  If a school has too many bullying and violent incidents, they can be labeled as an “unsafe school”.  Schools don’t want this which is why we don’t always see more substantiated bullying incidents.  Christina School District had the Office of Civil Rights come down on them because they had too many suspensions for minority students.  I’ve heard from many teachers in Christina that they have to be very careful with suspensions because of that.  As a result, things that are indeed bullying could be looked the other way due to the OCR ruling.  Many Delaware schools and districts took careful note of that.

I think with a bill like this there should be a clause that all bullying incidents be reviewed by a neutral third-party if a parent disagrees with the unsubstantiated ruling from a school administrator.  I don’t agree parents should use “good cause” as an excuse to choice their child out if no bullying is happening.  But at the same time, keeping any student at a school where there is a chance they could be bullied more is not safe to do.

The Future Of Education Is A Very Dark Place. The Future Is Now.

Thank you to my friend for putting this document together based on this map.  It is frightening how much of these events are happening right now.  The Every Student Succeeds Act is allowing a great deal of this to come to fruition.  In many states, legislation is happening right now to ensure this future comes to pass.  We are seeing this with personalized learning initiatives in many school districts.  Students with disabilities and those who don’t conform will be re-engineered through medicine and simulations.  Teaching as we know it will be gone.

Why was 2015-2016 so important for education?  If you haven’t been paying attention, there is a flurry of activity going on with more changes than any one person can keep track of.  These events were planned years ago.  Some say 2007, but I estimate much of this has been planned since 1992.  There are more political and corporate players involved in these agendas then we can imagine.  It is a cabal of billionaires and futurists carefully and methodically transforming society to their warped ideals.

People wonder why I get so upset about education and lose patience quickly.  This is why.  We don’t have time for the endless chatter about what we should be doing.  Especially when more than half the people at the table are already sold on these ideas.  They may not know the full scope and chances are I don’t either.  But the pieces are coming together fast and if we don’t get a handle on this and expose all of this we have no chance of stopping any of it.

If you wonder why I shudder at the possibility of President Hillary Clinton, this is why.  I’ve been slammed for only looking at education for her qualifications.  This goes way beyond education.  This is a complete remodeling of society as we know it.  If you don’t think Hillary is involved in this, think again!

Updated, 12:33pm, EST:  The Scribd document embedded in this article keeps disappearing.  I don’t know if I am being hacked or what is happening.  It is still on scribd, which you can see https://www.scribd.com/doc/304979065/GEFMap

Updated, 4:37pm, EST: I changed my WordPress password after the Scribd document disappeared a third time.  It has not disappeared since.  Which means someone knew my password.  Which I have never shared with anyone.  Which also means I ticked someone off big time.  I would hope logging into the State of Delaware or the Delaware Department of Education’s free wi-fi doesn’t mean they could possibly get into my accounts.  Or that one of the big boys thinks they can do what they please.  I will find out who got into my account and I will pursue it.

Here It Comes! Wait For It! “Common Core Is Working!”

The News Journal wrote about Delaware’s latest graduation rates.  It seems after years of increasing rates, the numbers are now flat!  Tomorrow, at the State Board of WEIC Education meeting, we will hear the State Board members justifying why this isn’t a bad thing.  Someone, probably Pat Heffernan, will say something to the effect of “it looks like Common Core is working”.  But they will remain oblivious to the facts before them.

In 2014’s graduating class, 8,202 out of 9,713 students graduated for a rate of 84.4%.  For 2015, 8,293 graduated out of 9,832 students at 84.3%.  Yes, 91 more students graduated, but 28 more dropped out.  In 2014, 1,511 students dropped out and in 2015, 1,539 dropped out.  That isn’t really something to be proud of.  On the downward trend are students with disabilities, English Language Learners, Hispanic students, multi-racial students, and low-income students.

In comparing the 2014 rates to 2015, the biggest drop in graduation rates was for English Language Learners, dropping over six percentage points from 75% to 68.7%.  Low-income students also took a pretty big drop.  But this is hard to figure out, when you look at the numbers, since the Delaware Department of Education changed the definition of “low-income” from those eligible for free and reduced lunch to those on public assistance.  But still, in 2014 only 77.8% of low-income students graduated compared to 73.7% in 2015.  Even though more graduated in 2015, the percentage of students with disabilities dropped .4% between 2014 and 2015.

These are the statements I predict we will hear tomorrow at the State Board meeting:

“This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  At least we didn’t take a sharp drop.”

“We have to stay on course.  We cannot relent.”

“I think personalized learning will be a driver for future growth.”

“After four years of Common Core implementation, we are seeing the fruits of a rigorous educational environment.”

“We will continue to have robust conversations on how to make all students college and career ready.”

“I don’t understand all these numbers.  What does all this mean?”