Delaware’s Pee Problem

Teachers hear it all the time, “Can I go to the bathroom”?  Now if you had to pee, you would just do it, right?  Unless you could hold it for a little bit until a more convenient time.  But nature always wins this battle.  Peeing is not a voluntary event.  So why am I hearing about more and more schools restricting when kids can go to the bathroom?

ForrestIGottaPee

To be fair, students can and will abuse the bathroom visit rights.  I did it in school.  For whatever reason, there are some kids who just have to pee.  I’ve heard some horror stories about teenagers peeing their pants.  Or they could be stuck in testing and can’t get out.  Some kids will get up to no good in a school bathroom.  It happens.  But what about those kids who absolutely have to go?  Should they be held back from peeing because of some bad apples?  I would think most teachers would know who those students are.  And I’m not saying this is every school.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, it is normal to have to pee six to eight times a day.  Pee is your body’s way of detoxing your system.  It gets rid of the bad stuff.  Most people, especially students, tend to pee for about seven seconds on average.  So by the time a student gets to the bathroom, does the pee thing, washes their hands (they better), and gets back to class, it shouldn’t be a journey of more than three minutes tops.  Is it worth having a student feel uncomfortable?  Sending all kids to go to the bathroom all at once could make it worse.  Some students have “performance anxiety” around other kids or get caught up in fooling around in the bathroom.  The anxiety is caused by a condition called parauresis.  So if the average school day is seven hours, and that is roughly 30% of a student’s day (and that’s a full 24 hour day), it would stand to reason a student may have to go to the bathroom three times a day.  I’ve heard of one Delaware school where students can only pee once a day.  Not sure what qualifies that school to be the urine police, but I smell a lawsuit eventually if they keep that up!

How long can someone hold off peeing before nature takes its course?  It depends on the person.  Once you feel the urge, you should probably go.  But it won’t kill you to wait too long.  But if you wait too long, there could be an accident or in rarer cases a person could develop a urinary tract infection.  Some kids may have health issues that prompt them to pee more than their peers.  Your bladder doesn’t literally explode, but it could cause issues if you make this a habit.

Bottom line, schools need to be extra careful when it comes to pee.  It is natural, it is real, and it should not be used so a teacher can control a classroom or get all their instruction out.  Peeing is the most natural thing human beings do.  We can’t get around it.  Let the children pee!

I would love school teachers and administrators to comment on this, as well as students and parents.  Does your school have a pee problem?

Updated, 7:04pm: Judging by the comments on here and on Facebook, this issue is MUCH bigger than I realized.  What prompted this impromptu article?  This one.  It caught me by surprise.  But apparently restricted bathroom breaks are happening in many schools.  Another issue has surfaced and that is the teacher pee problem.  Some are reporting UTI issues because they can’t just leave a classroom and leave kids unattended.  Some students had legitimate health issues that caused them to have to pee more than their peers but had issues with that even with a doctor’s note.  I know it seems absurd, but maybe we need some type of pee legislation in Delaware and America.

E Mail Chain between Treasurer and Rufo

We have a new blogger in Delaware! Welcome Danny Rufo! Danny is a great guy and his first post is a whopper! Check it out!

rufoblog

PLEASE START FROM BOTTOM AND WORK YOUR WAY UP FOR FULL EFFECT.

Thank you for your response.
I would be very grateful to have an opportunity to meet with you Treasurer Simpler!
If I could just make a few points before we flesh out our meeting plans
I thank you for your candor when explaining the communication deficiencies of your office. I can appreciate your busy schedule, and the responsibilities of your staff. I understand why the role out of your plans have been slow. I see your web page has been updated. That will be useful to our state employees. I hope your office will be able to maintain the flow of information.
As far as the plan itself, I and all of the people I represent still have many, many issues. These are things that I look forward to discussing in person with you soon, but I must…

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Adult Education On The Upswing In Delaware… Detailed Report

I greatly respect adults who complete or further their education.  It shows drive and ambition.  But how are they doing?  Do they finish what they started?  Are the adults who never received a high school diploma getting their GED?  Is adult education helping them to gain meaningful employment?  And how many who are in our prison system are actually taking classes?  The answers are all in here courtesy of Maureen Whelan with the Delaware Department of Education.  This isn’t an area I usually write about, but it is very important!

US DOE Guidance Letter About Response To Intervention & Child Find Shows Disturbing Trend

The United States Department of Education sent a “guidance letter” to state local education agencies (school districts) regarding Response to Intervention (RTI) and Child Find.  The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) sent the letter on April 29th.  It reminds pre-schools that they are responsible for child find.  This means the local school district is responsible for paying for a special education evaluation.  A pre-school can’t use RTI if a special education evaluation is needed prior to the RTI process.  This is all great except for that one tiny, itty-bitty, little thing: Who pays for it?

The US DOE had their toddler Race to the Top come out a year after the regular one and it gave states tons of money to make great pre-schools.  The funding for this runs out on June 30th of this year.  Which is why Delaware, Governor Jack Markell requested over 11 million bucks to keep these programs going.  But the big problem with this is school districts aren’t allocated more money to pay for all these special education evaluations.  So guess where that money comes from?  The local funds a school district gets from school taxes.  From YOUR property taxes.  Guess how much the charters pay for those pre-school evaluations?  Not one cent.  In fact, Delaware is a state where there is no basic special education funding from the state share of funds for students in Kindergarten to 3rd grade at any public school.  But that’s okay, they can afford it?  Right?  Yeah, let’s not go down that road.

If so many Delaware schools lack the ability to give special education services to kids in Kindergarten to 3rd grade because they just so happen to not get any extra funds for that, how is that going to work with pre-schools?  This letter, on the surface, looks great.  Big government is looking out for the kids with disabilities.  But who holds them accountable when they have NEVER given the full amount of funding to states under IDEA?  They give what, 10-13%, and they want to be the enforcer of all things special education?  What a crock!

Response to Intervention is the biggest joke of them all.  It is a crutch for Delaware schools to NOT give special education in Kindergarten to 3rd grade.  What they are doing is messing up kids big time.  Whether it is a school district or a charter, and unless they are listed in the “intensive” or “complex” category, you are better off letting your basic special education child sit in a pile of needles cause that’s what it’s like for them.  Imagine having a bad infection and someone says “let’s try this technique that will take a while to fight it”.  Will the infection get better?  Nope.  It’s going to rot and fester.  That’s what happens to the minds of children with neurological disabilities who don’t get the right special education.  But it’s alright, because Mary Ann Mieczkowski, the Director of the Exceptional Children Resources Group at the Delaware DOE says Delaware’s due process system is more than fair.  Yeah, I can see how that scares the hell out of Delaware schools into doing the right thing…

The US DOE are a bunch of hypocrites.  They endorse things like social impact bonds which is when a company “invests” in an education setting (like a pre-school) for a certain goal.  In Utah, that went swimmingly when Goldman Sachs had a long-running program they “invested” in.  The goal: only 1% of 200 kids would need long-term special education services in regular school after they put in the “necessary” programs at the pre-school to “help” these kids.  I guess they didn’t get the memo that disabilities are NEUROLOGICAL which is why programs like this are complete and utter crap.  In Delaware, the average for students with disabilities in public schools hovers around 13.5 to 15%.  But with genius banks getting their hooks in, only 1% would!  Goldman Sachs got a return on their “investment” because of the “success” to the tune of $277,000.  I don’t see OSEP sending financial institutions these letters…

To read the latest “guidance” (which essentially means do as we say or we are going to make you sorry) letter from US DOE/OSEP, read below.

Hymn To The Fallen

I never understood why we say the word “Happy” with Memorial Day.  It is a day of honor to celebrate those who gave their lives so we could enjoy the freedom so many of us take for granted.  So many markers, so many graves.  Don’t waste it, not for a single moment…

Dona Nobis Pacem

Dona nobis pacem means “Give us peace” in Latin.  Today is a day of reflection.  But it also holds a double meaning for me this year.  Three years ago I lost the woman who brought me into this world.  She taught me that art is the truest reflection of life, in all its myriad forms.  The creativity inside all of us is something we should not take for granted.  Three years… has it been that long?  I miss you…

 

The Delaware Illuminati, Prologue

There have always been those who meet behind the scenes to shape the future.  It is how governments were created.  Over time, it became harder for these groups to plot and scheme, but they did so just the same.  It happens everywhere.  It could be for something good or something bad.  Some may feel what they are doing is right and just while others don’t care as long as they are still in power.  But when children become part of those plans, someone has to watch what they are doing.  That is what I’ve done for two years now.  Watching, looking, hearing, waiting, and writing.

This series will look at the dark side of Delaware education.  Where the power players do their thing.  They manipulate, they use and they throw away.  You will see some of the names you expect in this series.  You will also see names who you could never believe would be a part of this.  But they did, and they still are.  You will see how ideas blossom from what seems like the best intention but their dark roots exist elsewhere.  You will see what I term as the Delaware Illuminati in the light, for all to see.  They will sacrifice children and their futures at any cost.  They have no fear and are willing to do what it takes to get the job done.  They are the masters of manipulation and fraud.  Some of you will say this is absolutely ridiculous and that these people may have faults but they certainly aren’t evil.  For that, we have to definite what is evil.  If you know it is wrong and you do it anyway, is that not evil?

This series will have mystery, horror, and true crime.  It will also have a lot of magic.  Magic is nothing but illusion, a carefully laid out trap of smoke and mirrors.  You will learn how those in power seek to illuminate the people into a certain way of thinking.  They paint the picture so you can only see it a certain way and the population falls for it.  This is what we have wrought in Delaware and future generations will pay the price.

Chevaliers de Sangreal 2016

The one thing I can be certain of is this: I have faith.  As it says in the beginning of the video,

FAITH

Acceptance of which we can imagine to be true, that which we cannot prove

I have faith that the good guys will win.  That those who seek to mold children into their playthings will pay for their sins.  That the Rodels and adults in Delaware who use children for power and greed will one day face a mighty reckoning of public shame.  That they will be cast out of power and will not be able to harm children again.  That those who have broken the law will face a jury.  I cannot prove any of this.  But I have faith.

The most powerful music is that which lifts you above yourself to something higher.  That takes you away from yourself and makes you see the world as it could be.  Something wonderful and glorious.  We are here such a short time.  Why do we waste it?  Why do some plot and scheme when they know one day they will not be here?  Does it help them to sleep better, during the long night, when no one can hide from their true face?

Tonight, before you go to sleep, go outside and look at the stars. Try to find your place among them. Think of those you have lost who carried the light for you so you could be here.  See who you carry the light for now. Are you doing it? Are you living up to the gifts that life gave you? Are you speaking for what is right even if you are afraid?  Even if it means others may shun you?  When you see the universe before you, feel blessed for what you have no matter what you think you may not have. You are alive. You are breathing. You have responsibility. You only get one lifetime to do what is right.

Poll: Which Education Budget Item Will Be Cut Or Reduced From The Delaware Budget?

The Delaware Charter School Leak: To Good To Be True?

Sometimes I see or hear about stuff that is going on in Delaware schools that is just to good to be true.  When I ran across this one, I thought it must be a joke.  According to what these students had to say about this charter school in Dover it looks like this secret pipe has been unclogged!  According to the complaint against the Head of School at this charter, it isn’t just bathroom issues either!  If their complaints are true, there are some very serious issues going on there.  I’m sure any teacher can tell you students abuse going to the bathroom, but to limit that to once a day?  That seems a little abusive if this complaint has merit.  But the school, according to the complaint, will give special consideration if you have a doctor’s note.

The part about meals and what the head of school allegedly said to kids is more worrisome if it is true.  I would really hope it is not!  I don’t think we will see a Delaware DOE Formal Review coming out of this, but I hope someone looks at this very troublesome but maybe it is not issue!

All School Boards Must Record: Governor Markell Signs HB61

On May 25th, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed House Bill 61 into law. All public school boards in Delaware must record their board meetings when they are in public session and make them available on their website within seven business days of the meeting. The law goes into effect 90 days after signature, so by August 25th this is the law of the land!

This is a true victory for Kilroy’s Delaware, the godfather of education blogs in Delaware. For the very few who might not know, this has been Kilroy’s mission for the past fifty billion years or something like that. Many helped along the way, but he carried the flame. And with only a pocket full of college credits!

Kilroy promised his readers that after this mission was done he would release his long-awaited story about how “Johnny can’t read”.  I can’t wait to read it!  Congrats to the main man, the man who has inspired so many of us, who has been doing this much longer than I have, and keeps on going, the one, the only,

KILROY

HB61Signed

Delaware DOE Hits All-Time Low With A Very Scummy Move Against Teachers…

Those no-good, rotten bastards at the Delaware Department of Education have done it again.  This time the after-effects will cause much more than a ripple.  This is going to really damage relations between the Delaware DOE and the Delaware State Education Association.  Things were supposed to be better with Secretary of Education Godowsky, but they really aren’t.  Instead, we have more humiliation for the educators of our state. This post does have an update at the bottom. Continue reading Delaware DOE Hits All-Time Low With A Very Scummy Move Against Teachers…

Indian River CFO Patrick Miller Retires Amidst State Audit Of District Finances

The Chief Financial Officer of the Indian River School District, Patrick Miller, will be able to retire according to  Jon Budler with Delaware 105.9.  Miller was put on paid administrative leave last month after allegations surface of financial malfeasance.  The Delaware State Auditor’s office is conducting an audit of the district’s finances.

As per the article, Miller will be able to keep his pension but his retirement will save the district the burden of paying his $162,258 yearly salary during what could be a lengthy state audit process.  Miller was also the subject of an audit with Brandywine School District when he had the same title there in the 1990s.  He began his stint with Indian River in 1998 but the state audit report did not come out until 2000.

As per Indian River Board President Dr. Don Hattier:

This is what we’re stuck with. If Mr. Miller is allowed to retire, at least he’s off our payroll which safes the district a ton of money. I believe that’s what the public wants us to do.

Cape Henlopen Board To Vote On Very Controversial District Enrollment Reorganization

The Cape Henlopen School District Board of Education will hold a board meeting tonight to vote on proposals that will change the enrollment patterns of their elementary and middle schools in the fall of 2017.  A new elementary school called Love Creek will be built by then and the board recognized this will change the boundaries for which students go to which schools.

At issue with many parents is what happens with Richard Shields Elementary School if they go with one of the proposals.  After six proposals have been presented, the Superintendent is leaning towards Proposal F, but the board prefers the newer Proposals G, shown in the below document.  The Board feels the greatest priority should be having a balance of low-income children in each of their schools.  Currently, Shields has a population of 27% low-income students, but with the proposed changes that could increase that level to 42%.  Love Creek, the new school, would have a 26% low-income population.  Many parents felt the priorities should be students attending schools closest to their homes and how the changes would affect families in the district.  Parents are concerned about changes in school climate, similar to what happened at Skyline Middle School in the Red Clay Consolidated School District this year.  They also feel that forced busing is not the way to go.  Other parents I spoke with were okay with the changes and feel there should be more equity between the schools in the district.  While not official, the students who have been choiced to a school already will be allowed to stay, but if a student is moved through the reorganization they will not be allowed to move back to their original school through choice.

As per the Delaware Dept. of Education website, Cape Henlopen as a whole had 5,170 students as of their September 30th count.

The board meeting tonight will be held at Beacon Middle School at 6pm which could decide the schools 2,600 students go to in the Cape Henlopen School District.  185 students have been choiced by their parents within the district while 273 students from other districts were choiced into Cape Henlopen.  For their race and ethnicity profiles, 66.7% of Cape students are white, 14.3% are Hispanic/Latino, 13.7% are African-American, and the other almost 6% are either a multi-racial, Asian or American Indian.  For the 2014-2015 school year, the average district expenditure per pupil was $15,254.

For their elementary schools, the DOE profiles (which are based on the September 30th counts) look like this currently:

Brittingham: 41.1% white, 31.7% Hispanic/Latino, 21.1% African-American, 57.4% low-income, 15.4% English Language learners, and 12.5% special education

Milton: 72.6% white, 11.4% Hispanic/Latino, 11.7% African-American, 30.2% low-income, 5.1% English Language learners, and 14.7% special education

Rehoboth: 75.5% white, 10.3% Hispanic/Latino, 9.3% African-American, 34.7% low-income, 5.3% English Language learners, and 9.5% special education

Shields: 71% white, 10.2% Hispanic/Latino, 8.5% African-American, 23.7% low-income, 3% English Language learners, and 8.7% special education

 

Mike Matthews & Frederika Jenner Get The Spotlight In Vision Coalition Video

Mike Matthews, the President of the Red Clay Education Association, and Frederika Jenner, the President of the Delaware State Education Association, were both featured prominently in a video of the Vision Coalition’s recent coffee meeting. Watch the video below!

As US DOE Releases Proposed Rules For ESSA, Kline & Alexander Threaten To Pull The Plug

The first set of proposed rules for the Every Student Succeeds Act, unofficially released on May 20th, are already drawing the ire of many in Washington D.C. are not too happy with them.  Senator Lamar Alexander (TN) and US Rep. John Kline (MN) issued a press release today advising the United States Dept. of Education and Secretary of Education John King that if the proposed rules for regulation do not match the sprit and intent of the law they will take measures to overturn the proposed rules.

Both Kline and Alexander feel the federal overreach, which ESSA was supposed to get rid of, is still there.  This is not the first time in recent months they have blasted John King over the US DOE’s interpretation of the ESSA.  But as the proposed rules come out, expect a vicious fight in D.C.

Below are the proposed rules sent out for public comment.  They will be published in the Federal Register on May 31st, next Tuesday.  Also below are a summary of the proposed rules, a chart, the press release issued today by the US DOE on the proposed regulations, the Title I approved consensus for regulatory language on assessments, and the press release issued today by Kline and Alexander.

NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING FOR REGULATIONS UNDER ESSA FOR ACCOUNTABILITY, STATE PLANS, AND DATA REPORTING TO APPEAR IN FEDERAL REGISTER ON 5/31/16

US DOE SUMMARY OF PROPOSED REGULATIONS ON ACCOUNTABILITY, STATE PLANS, AND DATA REPORTING UNDER ESSA

US DOE CHART ON PROPOSED ESSA REGULATIONS

PRESS RELEASE FROM US DOE ON PROPOSED REGULATIONS, 5/20/16

TITLE Ia: APPROVED CONSENSUS REGULATORY LANGUAGE FOR ASSESSMENT IN ESSA, 4/19/16

PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY HOUSE AND SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN, 5/26/16

House and Senate Education Committee Chairmen: ESSA Accountability Regulations Need Close Review
Chairmen say if regulation doesn’t follow law, they will seek to overturn it through Congressional Review Act

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released the following statements after the Department of Education released its proposed regulation implementing “accountability” provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act. This proposed regulation is the first step of the regulatory process. The public will have 60 days to comment on the proposal.

Congressman Kline said: “Congress worked on a bipartisan basis to move the country away from the prescriptive federal mandates and requirements of No Child Left Behind. We replaced that failed law with a fundamentally different approach that empowers state and local leaders to determine what’s best for their schools and students. I am deeply concerned the department is trying to take us back to the days when Washington dictated national education policy. I will fully review this proposed rule and intend to hold a hearing on it in the coming weeks. If this proposal results in a rule that does not reflect the letter and intent of the law, then we will use every available tool to ensure this bipartisan law is implemented as Congress intended.”

Senator Alexander said: “I will review this proposed regulation to make sure that it reflects the decision of Congress last year to reverse the trend toward a national school board and restore responsibility to states, school districts, and teachers to design their own accountability systems. The law fixing No Child Left Behind was passed with large bipartisan majorities in both the House and the Senate. I am disappointed that the draft regulation seems to include provisions that the Congress considered—and expressly rejected. If the final regulation does not implement the law the way Congress wrote it, I will introduce a resolution under the Congressional Review Act to overturn it.”

The Judases On The Rodel Teacher Council & How They Changed Public Education Forever In Delaware **UPDATED**

Establish a “critical mass” of support for CBL in DE and leverage supportive voices to raise awareness about CBL

CBLRodelGroup

A group of Delaware teachers, in conjunction with a few Superintendents, principals, a high-ranking member of the Delaware PTA, the executive director of the State Board of Education and members of the Delaware Department of Education found a way to sneak in a future-changing regulation eight months ago with a group no one knew about and never had any notices of public meetings.  But all is not as it appears.  In doing so, they opened the gates to one of the most dangerous corporate education reformers out there.

Have you ever heard of the Delaware Department of Education Competency-Based Learning Guiding Coalition?  Me neither.  Until last night.  In doing a massive amount of research on the Leader In Me program in many of our Delaware schools (and there will be MUCH more on that coming), I found a very odd write-up on the Rodel Foundation of Delaware website.

In investigating a school in the Capital School District that is heavily promoting the snake-oil Leader In Me program, I came across the Rodel Teacher Council section of their website on a Google search.  And there it was, under Michele Johnson of Towne Point Elementary School in Capital School District.  I knew she was involved in the Leader In Me program, but what I didn’t know and had never heard of was the Delaware Department of Education’s Competency-Based Learning Guiding Coalition.  I’ve looked at every single section of the DOE website and never found anything about it.  So I went back to Google.  I found a link to a pdf from a State Board of Education work session on July 16th, 2015.

To give some more background, this was an important day in Delaware education.  It was the same day Delaware Governor Jack Markell vetoed House Bill 50.  The State Board holds their work sessions during the morning before their board meetings.  The State Board did have it on their agenda for this work session but try looking for anything else on this group and you will be hopelessly lost.  With most groups at the Delaware DOE, there is something listed somewhere.  But not with this one.  There was no notice of public meetings and no transparency whatsoever.    Why would there be?  This was a Rodel group from their hand-picked teacher council.  If you never believed Rodel was running education in Delaware, you will after reading the below document.  Every single thing I’ve been writing about on this blog for the past nine months: about competency-based education, personalized learning, pathways to prosperity, the “Dear Hillary” letter, it is all in this 10 page pdf in some form.

So this group recommended finding a way past these barriers to competency-based education in Delaware.  The pictures of the post-it notes show words like “urgency” and “barriers”.  They mention collective bargaining as a “system barrier”.  This Rodel Teacher Council sold their souls to Rodel when they joined this cabal.  In the above document there is an entity called Reinventing Schools.  I’ve heard of this company but this is the first time I ever saw them mentioned in Delaware.  But obviously Rodel has been working with them behind the scenes for many years.  To find out why, I highly suggest reading this article on the funded by the Gates Foundation organization led by Dr. Marzano.

I put a picture at the beginning of this article with the members of this Rodel created group.  While I’m not surprised by most of the names, one of them stood out: Yvonne Johnson.  As the face behind the Delaware PTA for many years, Johnson has been involved in many groups in one form or another.  I originally wrote, and have now changed in this article, is how Johnson was involved with this group.  I just spoke to Yvonne Johnson who was very upset about her supposed involvement with the Competency-Based Learning Guiding Coalition.  As Johnson told me, she was invited to a webinar on this and there was a meeting at Howard High School of Technology about it.  She said she does not support competency-based education and the other Delaware PTA member, Ashley Gray, told this group this was not for the Delaware PTA.  Obviously the Rodel machine presented this information to the State Board of Education, close to a year later, suggesting the full involvement of Delaware PTA.  But that is not the case.  It is just another example of our State Board of Education being duped by Rodel into passing regulations they really don’t have a clue about.

The biggest barrier to implementing competency-based education in Delaware was the graduation requirements.  They had to change existing state code to do that.  Lo and behold, they did exactly that.  But not without some old fashioned trickery.  At the August 20th State Board meeting, Regulation 505 was put up for discussion by the State Board.

SBOEReg505

In listening to the State Board audio recording for this meeting, notice how it is introduced as having nothing to do with competency-based education.  For a long time, they talk around it.  It isn’t until the President of the State Board, Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, seeks clarification on this regulation that anyone in that room would know what they were talking about.  As well, Tina Shockley with the DOE sped through describing the regulation very fast.  But when the conversation gets going, Michael Watson from the DOE responds to a question from Gray about struggling students.  He responds by saying  some students can reach mastery in 180 days but for other students it may take longer and that’s okay.  So is he suggesting some students will have to go to school longer?

At the September State Board meeting, when everyone was going nuts about opt out penalties in the Delaware School Success Framework/Regulation 103 fiasco, the State Board passed this regulation.  But I find it hysterical how all the language surrounding the DSCFY wasn’t even needed to begin with which I’m sure the DOE was well aware of.  In my opinion, they put it in the regulation to put the focus around that knowing it would be removed to get what they want.

So what does all this mean?

Here is the easiest way to break it down.  This isn’t a Delaware thing.  It is happening all over the country.  To put it in a nutshell, corporations took over public education.  This is a plan that has been in place for decades.  First they had to make it look like public schools were failing students.  This began in 1983 when the report called A Nation At Risk was released by the federal government.  This damning report on public education changed the perception of schools in America.  It also began the thirty-three year coordinated attack against teacher unions.  Ten years later, the country’s first charter schools came into being.  At the same time, Bill Clinton became the U.S. President.  His wife Hillary received a letter from Marc Tucker, who went on to be one of the chief architects of Achieve Inc. and the Common Core.

By the late 1990s, standardized testing with high-stakes was the law of the land in Delaware.  When Delaware launched the DSTP test, students did horrible on it.  Many students dropped out of school as testing mania took over the state.  Graduation rates dropped due to the requirement of proficiency on the horrible test.  In 2002, No Child Left Behind demanded all students in America become proficient on these high-stakes tests by 2014.  It was completely absurd and everyone knew it, but it was a stall tactic.  As Common Core came out in President Obama’s second year, Delaware switched to another test called DCAS.  While not as bad as DSTP, it was offered two to three times a year.  Race To The Top was in full swing along with all the ESEA Flexibility Waivers.  Charter schools were rising in popularity for the past decade and the teacher unions were under attack.  To get all of this going, the teacher unions had to be destroyed.  But they couldn’t bust the unions, just give them a slow and painful death.

Many teacher unions across the country caved in to the new corporate education reform suggestions.  They could have fought it, but it would have given an already rising bad perception of them an even worse one.  So with the help of school boards, the unions signed on to Race To The Top.  Even the state PTAs got sucked into the Common Core/Race To The Top vortex.  Common Core was the boss, teachers were the servants, and students were the true victims.  Then came the even newer high-stakes assessments tied to the Common Core.  Meanwhile, new education think tanks and non-profits emerged from nowhere to give more and more bad news about education and how to fix it.  In Delaware,  we call them the Rodel Foundation and the Vision Coalition.  They have been around for a long time, but they are one and the same and they are as venomous to public education as any of these other education fixit organizations.

So here we are now, in 2016.  Governor Markell finishes up next January and in comes John Carney.  Like the rushed implementation of Common Core, in the next few years we will see the “urgency” to incorporate full-time competency-based learning in our schools.  Our students will be on the computer all the time in this era of “personalized learning” while our teachers become glorified guides and facilitators.  As veteran teachers leave the profession in droves, we will see more duds like Teach For America and Relay Graduate School coming into our schools.  They won’t be union, and they will take over.  With their corporate driven brainwashing, we will see more “teacher-leaders” come into play via programs like “Leader In Me”.  But education is, and always has been, about the students.  What happens to them?  This is the kicker.

All of this, everything since the day A Nation At Risk was introduced 33 years ago, has been with this plan in mind.  It is all an elaborate tracking measure meant to keep down minority students, students with disabilities, and low-income students.  They will not do well in this.  We see this with the Smarter Balanced Assessment and the PARCC tests.  The resources and funding are there.  They have always been there.  But our states and government didn’t want to fix education.  They had to tear it down first and build it up again to one of their own design.  They don’t want anyone questioning their authority.  They want their worker bees to fall in line with their career pathways and shut up.  They had to beat down the teachers and numb the minds of children.  They do not care and have no remorse if anyone gets in their way.  Even the charter schools they so methodically built up were fodder for sacrifice if need be.  We saw this in Delaware as many charters closed and more sprung from the ashes.

What the corporate education reformers do is use the art of distraction to an astonishing degree.  They know those who oppose them can’t fight everything all at once so they get us to focus on certain things.  Take opt out for example.  While they know opt out kills everything they are planning, they also know it is the key to their future.  The once a year test will go away.  It will be broken down into little tiny chunks, embedded into the end-of-unit personalized learning chapter.  But a student must score proficient to be able to move on.  They must “master” the material.  But who writes the material?  Who grades the mini-assessments?  How long will a student be “held back” until they get it?  What happens when a student just gives up because they are so mentally frustrated?  How does IDEA and existing law fit in with any of this?  Does anyone care about these kind of things anymore?

Governor Markell and Dr. Paul Herdman, along with their key player at the Townsend Building in Dover, Donna Johnson, have been the masterminds behind all of this in Delaware.  Does anyone think it is a coincidence there have been very few task forces, working groups and committees with an actual State Board of Education member on it?  It is always Executive Director Donna Johnson.  Calling the shots.  Bossing people around as if she is the ultimate authority in education.  Manipulating the playing field to the agendas she controls.  She did it with WEIC, the priority schools, the Delaware School Success Framework, Common Core, opt out, and all the other destructive policies and regulations under her control.  We don’t have a State Board of Education.  We have Jack and Donna’s puppets.  Behind them is the face of Rodel: Dr. Paul Herdman.  The single-most, number one with a bullet, vessel of discrimination and evil I have ever met in my life.  The man behind the Delaware curtain.  The man who helped Jack into the Governor role.  The man who took over the Delaware Department of Education.  The man who directs it all in Delaware.  Who answers to his masters in bigger organizations like the Aspen Institute, Achieve Inc., the Lumina Foundation, and Reinventing Schools.  Behind them are the true power players in the guise of the US Department of Education, the US Department of Labor, Mark Zuckerberg, and the Gates Foundation.  And then there are the investors and hedge fund managers and corporations making billions of dollars off all of this.  For those living in other states who may not be familiar with many of these names, I’m sure if you look hard enough, you have your own puppet masters pulling the strings.

At this point, I don’t know if those who oppose this could stop any of this.  It is so embedded into policy and law.  All the states were required to have some type of career workforce plan based on the below federal document.  The future is now.  It is here.  This Leader In Me garbage that is sweeping our schools is the biggest example of this.  It goes beyond the classroom and invades the home.  It has children making the parents compliant to this nonsense.  Their “data walls” are one of the most disgusting and abhorrent acts of labeling, shaming, and discrimination I have ever seen in my life.  But far too many of our Delaware teachers think it is okay.  This is what happens when you are brainwashed to points beyond common sense.  When you are fed the same false garbage time and time again.  You begin to believe it.  You become the enemy before you even realize it.  When you once questioned all of this and you become a slave to the compliance machine.  I am not saying these teachers are bad or even evil.  They are misguided.  They have been fooled and once the Rodelian mindset becomes a part of your thinking, they have their hooks in you.  They mold and shape you into another one of their puppets or put your name out there to make it look like they have diverse “stakeholder input”.  It seems like people with the last name of Johnson are their favorites.  Charter schools, by their very nature, are ripe for takeover or creation by the Rodelian puppet masters.  And don’t think it ends with Jack Markell.

But too many of us were blinded by opt out, teacher evaluations, and charter schools to even notice.  All we hear about anymore on social media is Trump and Hillary.  It doesn’t matter who wins because all the pieces were put into play years ago.  They snuck it all in when those who should have seen it were distracted.  As our pre-schools and schools become community centers and human teaching becomes a thing of the past, what happens to the children of tomorrow?  Will we even need the school building in the future?  What happens when they become indoctrinated into the cults of compliance?  When they lose their spark?  As the more affluent families stay in power while the vast majority of the population perform all the low-paying jobs?  Who will rise from the ashes like a phoenix to turn it all around again twenty years from now?  Or fifty?  Many have predicted the machines would take over.  But what they failed to realize was the machines were children.  I saw this coming.  I knew it.  But I was looking in the wrong place.  And for that I apologize.  At some point, like everything in history, there will be a revolution.  Only we can decide when that is.

 

In Today’s Game: Can You Spot The FOIA Violation?

Gateway Lab School, a Delaware charter school that serves a very high population of students with disabilities, held a special board meeting on April 4th, 2016.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a due process mediation.  Can you spot the Delaware FOIA violation?  It’s easy if you try!

Oops! That’s a big one! I’ve already filed the FOIA complaint to the Attorney General’s office. As a gentle reminder to all school boards in Delaware: you can discuss student related matters in executive session if it pertains to an issue, but you can’t vote on it in executive session. You need to come out of executive session and vote on it then. Now you can’t, and shouldn’t, say this is for x student’s due process mediation situation. But I would suggest giving a number for all action items at a board meeting. Many boards do this already. You can just say, as an example, “In the matter of 16-322, may I have a motion to vote on this action item?”, or something along those lines. It wasn’t that long ago that Brandywine School District’s board had the same issue which is causing issues for the district now as part of a lawsuit.

As well, I have also requested an opinion from the same office about public comment at public meetings. I have noticed some Delaware charter schools ask public comment to be submitted up to two weeks in advance before a board meeting. I don’t think that is in the spirit of the law. Any member of the public should have unfettered access to a public meeting and have the ability to give public comment without having to give advance notice.

Sorry Gateway! Don’t mean to call you out but if all of your board members have not received the full training on these matters I would definitely get on that!

The Data Wall Debate Gets Real

The article I did on data walls yesterday is stimulating a great deal of conversation.  I think that is awesome.  Something like this should be talked about.  There seems to be two general sides: those who feel data walls shame struggling students and those who think this will scar children by taking away these components of education.  One person on a Facebook group said we are turning kids into wussies and our country will go down the toilet.  Others feel it is a waste of a teacher’s time and energy.  Both sides have some valid arguments, but I want to make a few things clear.

The pictures in the article were not taken by me.  They were also intentionally blurry because student pictures are on the wall.  I can’t really argue for data privacy while putting up hundreds  of kids pictures up so anyone can see them.  This was an academic data wall with three colors ranging from a bottom red to a top green.

I haven’t heard back from any of the Delaware superintendents or charter leaders.  But I have heard from tens of thousands of teachers, in Delaware, the USA and even countries like New Zealand, Germany, and Japan.  I found out states like Oregon have laws specifically banning data walls.  The vast majority of teachers, well over 95%, are against these data walls.  Most of them are required to do it and the mandates are serious.  I will be exploring this topic much more in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, I stand ready to start filing FERPA violations on Thursday night if I am not taken seriously.  Let’s keep this conversation going.  It is important.

There were no data walls when I was a kid.  My child never experienced data walls like this.  So this is very new to me.

“What Kind Of A Sick School Is This?”