Librarian-Gate In Christina Heats Up: Sophie’s Choice or Misinformation? You Decide!

I wrote a post yesterday about the Christina School District choosing not to rehire librarians that were cut as a result of their 2nd failed referendum last year.  Many have gone on the attack against the district and many have jumped to their defense.  One clear and obvious thing is Delaware needs to change their antiquated unit-based funding system to some extent.  I don’t think anyone is arguing that point.  But a lot of accusations were thrown out as a result of my article and I wanted to point out some of them.

During Christina’s 3rd referendum attempt, the situation was dire.  As a result of the last two failed referenda, they had to make some major cuts.  Teachers, para-professionals, specialists, and yes, including librarians.  In several places, whether in writing or spoken word, the district mentioned they wanted to hire back the positions they cut and reduce classroom sizes.  This year, there were anywhere between 35-45 kids in some classrooms.  That isn’t good for any student, much less some of the high-need populations in the district.  One of the members of Christina’s Citizen Budget Oversight Committee, Brian Stephan, also writes for Delaware Liberal.

Let me point out this simple fact: I like Brian.  I think he is a good guy and a very involved parent.  I wish more parents were as involved as Brian and his wife in public education (and on a volunteer basis at that).  I have no doubt in the world he is very well-versed in school financing.  But just as I get my readers stuck in the weeds on issues such as special education or regulations for example, I think that may happen to Brian when he is explaining district financing.  Like any television show, there is frequently a “previously on…” before the show starts.  The brains of everyday citizens don’t remember everything, so they need a constant refresh.  I have to reiterate things on this blog constantly, not only to refresh existing readers, but also for my new readers.  I don’t always succeed with this.  But I would never complain to my readers that I have to explain it again.  That would be an insult to my readers.  I believe this happens in education a lot.  I see it all the time in parent complaints about educators and administrators.  They perceive them as being arrogant, but the reality is they may know more about situations and assume you do to.  When they realize you aren’t aware, the communication style is perceived as condescending or arrogant.  It may be, or it may not be.  There isn’t always an easy answer.  But when both parties are equally aware of a situation, and they dance around it with bad communication, that can be very dangerous.  But I digress…

I like to refer to education funding as a Rubik’s Cube with 64 sides.  It is a beast!  God bless any average parent who has a firm grasp on it, because I know I don’t.  Charters I’m pretty good at breaking down, but that is not the case with school districts.  But I do look at what people write and things they say.  That is the anecdotal evidence I look for in most situations.

Back in March, a week before the referendum, Brian wrote:

What’s the District asking for? An additional $0.30 per $100 of assessed property value that would generate an additional $16.2 million per year. What would that do? $4 million would go toward bringing back the teachers and staff we had to cut (yes, including librarians), and reduce our class sizes. $4 million would go toward the operating fund to keep the district functioning at pre-budget cut staffing levels for the next 2 years.

Note the word “and” when talking about restoring the positions cut AND reducing the classroom size in the above statement.  On Facebook yesterday, Brian was telling folks the current situation with librarians was spelled out succinctly and clearly, but I could not find anything in writing stating that it was an “or” situation.  Currently, defenders of the district are stating it is a building leader’s (principal) choice to either fund a librarian with an earned teaching unit or hire a regular classroom teacher.  In the event that a board doesn’t like that decision, they could force a principal to hire the librarian.  In effect, this comes down to a gut-wrenching choice of either keeping classroom sizes bigger or having a librarian.  Brian alleges this situation plays out in many of our school districts.  I have no doubt he is correct about this, but does the average taxpayer know this?  I doubt it.  This situation wouldn’t have become as intense as it has had this been spelled out during the weeks before the referendum.  Had something been put in writing to the effect of “It is our desire to hire back what we lost but we may not be able to get back every single position”, I would have no issue with any of this.

In response to the firestorm that went down on social media yesterday, Brian wrote a response on Delaware Liberal last night.  In the comments for this, he writes:

I can say that we described the referendum as restoring what was lost. And there’s a reason I didn’t say “Restoring ALL that was lost” because if I could have said *that*, I would have without a doubt.

This is the heart of the matter, in my opinion.  As I wrote in my response to his comment, there isn’t any transparent difference between “restoring what was lost” and “restoring ALL that was lost”.  I completely believe that Brian understands the current situation, but it was not clearly pointed out to taxpayers that their vote would mean one or the other.  That is why I was upset about what is happening with the district not restoring the librarians.  I backed this referendum 100% and fought for the district.  Now I feel like I’m eating crow.  It’s very easy to come back afterwards and explain this in writing.  I called that Monday morning quarterbacking yesterday.  I became very confused when things were written on social media and Delaware Liberal yesterday where defenders of the district wrote the funding is there to restore librarians.  Many commenters were.  But to write things to the effect of “let me explain this again” is not in the best interest of trying to win a point.  Most people feel like they are being talked down to.  But if that is the flavor of Brian’s writing style, that is his choice.

But here is the million dollar question.  If the assumption is that building principals in schools that had librarians cut are not restoring those positions in favor of keeping classroom sizes smaller, will the district take the classroom size waivers next fiscal year?  These are waivers the districts request that actually keep classrooms bigger.  They are usually granted.  Most districts do this, including Christina.  But in doing so, should Christina choose to go that route in December, they are actually breaking another referendum campaign promise, that of reducing classroom size.  Technically, one could say all districts do it and if they are out of compliance in one school they have to do it based on the populations in the school.  But it has also kept classroom sizes at increased levels in many districts and has not made the problem any better.  I could not tell you, based on my limited knowledge of this aspect, how to fix that or who exactly controls that aspect.

But back to Christina.  To make matters even worse, several sources have informed me that Acting Superintendent Robert Andrzejewski told many students the librarian positions would be restored.  These were children who were upset their librarians were no longer there.  Perhaps he spoke out of turn in saying this, but the students are probably the most important stakeholders in any education decision.  Imagine if a librarian was a student’s favorite teacher.  That librarian got cut.  The student was very upset.  They go home after the Acting Superintendent says the librarians will be back.  The student is happy, the parents are hopeful, and the district can count on a yes vote from those parents.  Those kind of events can seriously impact referendum results.  That is a huge issue and could easily be seen, and justifiably so, as a broken promise.

To truly understand what happened here, we do have to look at Delaware’s unit-based funding system.  This is based on the September 30th count for each school in a district or a charter school.  The number of students in the school determines how much state funding the district or charter school gets from the state.  Schools also get funds from federal dollars and local dollars.  What a school can’t pay for from state or federal money, comes out of local dollars which is where taxpayers come in.  A district receives x amount of units based on the population of the district.  With this, there are all sorts of conditions, especially with special education.  Based on a student’s disabilities, the formula changes.

Looking at Christina’s 2015-2016 unit allotment based on their September 30th count, they received the following: based on 15,553 students, they received 1,236.40 units.  This does not mean every unit goes towards one teaching position.  For example, a CTE teacher counts as half a unit, or .5.  Based on the amount of units a district receives, the district determines how many units each building gets based on their student count.  Certain units, such as special education, have to go towards those services (or they are supposed to).  But a building leader, or principal, does have some discretion for how the funds generated from that unit-count are allocated.  They can’t make wild decisions.  If a school’s Smarter Balanced scores are low, they can’t hire 50 math teachers and only 3 English/Language Arts teachers.  But out of that pool of funds is how decisions are made.  The district’s Chief Financial Officer guides the schools with those decisions.  If enrollment is down, based on school choice or students moving from the district, a principal may face some difficult decisions.  I don’t envy a principal making decisions like this, but I also believe they should look at things like what was told to taxpayers in the latest referendum campaign.  Such as the case with Christina now.  Unfortunately, Christina loses a lot of students to charters and this has been going on for the past ten plus years.

So then a district is faced with difficult decisions.  They could either stay on the road they are on, or make changes.  In Christina’s case, they are wisely looking at school climate and discipline as one of the key issues which results in students leaving the district.  I have no issue with this as it is the number one complaint I see for Christina.  Part of their referendum promises was to take a “deep dive” at the situation, come up with a plan, and make changes.  That is completely acceptable in my opinion.  But what Christina also didn’t point out was the fact they would hire an outside vendor to help form this “strategic plan” who also happened to also work for the district in the past.  To the tune of almost $50,000 without a formal bid process.  These are the types of things that need to be spelled out to taxpayers during a referendum attempt.

One of the questions posed on the CSD Paving the Way referendum website concerned school resource officers and if the $1 million the district would use out of the funds generated out of the referendum would go towards bringing those positions back which were cut.  It was clearly spelled out that this decision was not going to be immediately made and that an action committee would form to determine how to handle this issue.  While it doesn’t look like anyone directly asked if all cut positions, such as librarians, would be restored, that would have been the place it would have most likely appeared.  In the absence of that question, many assumed all cut positions would come back.  Not to put the entire blame for this on a referendum website or a well-read blog in Delaware, but it is part of the issues.  As well, Andrzejewski’s comments to students played a factor.  As well, I had grave issues with the district spending $181,200 on what I initially viewed as more assessments for students when a state focus has been to reduce the amount of assessments.  I have since been informed this contract would replace two assessments at less of the cost of the other two assessments, which seems to be a prudent move on the district’s part.  Furthermore, you can’t just rob Peter to pay Paul.  Just because that $181,200 was available for assessments does not necessarily mean you can pay $181,200 in librarians in lieu of those funds.  There are different buckets for different aspects of education, as Brian has explained many times to people.

I received this information from an anonymous commenter named “John Doe”, seen below, but I felt the need to put it in the heart of the article:

Sir, I would please ask that you correct some misinformation included in this blog. It was made clear at the Christina SD Board of Ed. meeting that the district was consolidating, not simply adding, assessments. Yes, a new assessment will be purchased, but it is replacing two existing assessments which together cost the district more money than will be spent on the new assessment next school year. The district is indeed cutting assessments back in a number of sensible ways, and the district will benefit from cost savings as well as savings in instructional time because of these decisions. Teachers and administrators, like carpenters, need good tools to help them do high quality work. For a district the size of Christina SD, the assessment costs the author quoted are very reasonable.

In the past, districts and charters lave gotten themselves in trouble with misappropriated funds in the wrong bucket.  For example, last year Capital School District was warned by the State Auditor’s office they can’t use a Superintendent’s discretionary fund to help pay for band field trips.  That is just one of countless examples where districts did the wrong thing.  Intent plays a big part in that.  Was it an honest mistake or done on purpose?  In the case of some charter schools in Delaware in the past few years, taking school funds and using them for personal use is a big no-no.  But this hasn’t just happened in charters, but also public school districts as well.  But charters are held under more scrutiny than traditional school districts so it could be easier to find.  But by the same token, some of the charter employees who did abuse these funds had not been involved in public education to the extent others in traditional school districts have and were not as well-versed with the law.  This does not excuse their actions.  In fact, it makes the problem more acute and laws should reflect this troubling aspect.

As I learn more about district and charter funding, I am also looking towards the future in regards to corporate interference in education.  Out of the funds schools do receive, what funds are being wasted on assessment and useless programs?  How much is going towards outside vendors who have limited experience in an actual classroom but come out with reports that are utilized by those who support these agendas?  Are districts and charters riding the latest wave that has no factual research to back up the effectiveness of these programs, such as personalized learning in a digital environment?  Are funds being allocated based on the Smarter Balanced Assessment and how to increase scores while keeping bloated classroom sizes and not addressing the true needs of students?  These are the things that matter to me.  So when I see librarian positions not being restored (as of now), I have a major beef with that.  That is happening right now, in Christina.  If I am made aware of similar situations playing out in other districts, I will call them out on it.  Which is something, based on this current situation, I am going to be looking for.

Christina has a pocket of folks who do not enjoy any controversy based on decisions made coming out of that pocket, in my opinion.  And when they are called out on it, the fingers point to those casting the blame and not addressing the real issue.  This has landed me in a tough spot with the district in the past and in the present.  If information is not readily transparent, I go by what I do know.  And yes, I am opinionated and I am quick to reach judgment based on what I know, or believe I know.  I’m not denying this.  There are also other factors that play into how I write articles, such as sidebar conversations or issues I am unable to write about to protect others.  But those aspects definitely influence my opinion.  Do I get everything right?  Nope.  I’ll be the first to admit that, and when I don’t, I’ll fix it or write a follow-article.  But if you come on here and comment that I am wrong without explaining how I’m wrong, that I can’t do anything about.  I was accused of starting fires and then saying “I didn’t know” and trying to back out of my original post under that excuse.  Sure, that happens.  I write based on what information I do know and go from there.  Do I always seek clarification from other parties?  I don’t.  Here’s why: I am not a mainstream journalist.  I am a blogger.  The journalistic etiquette for mainstream journalism does not apply to bloggers.  Do I go for the “shock and awe” at times?  Absolutely.  And sometimes I just don’t feel like reaching out will serve a purpose.  All too often, I get no response, I’m attacked, or I get bad information.  That happens more often than not.  As well, the person who accused me of this, I have reached out to in the past over certain things but lately I had not been getting much response.  Until I posted about this latest librarian thing.

This is one of the reasons I admire and respect Christina board member John Young so much.  He is constantly attacked for attacking, or the perception of attacking.  John and I are very much alike in that aspect.  But it gets people talking and I would say it brings more transparency to issues facing public education.  The more people talk about education, the better.  We live in a state where a certain group of people tend to make ALL the decisions and that isn’t good for kids.  Period.  End of story.  If I can shock people out of an education awareness slumber, I certainly will.  This is how John operates, it is how Kilroy operates, and it is how Kavips operates.  It is the heart of Delaware education bloggers mindset, especially those who fight against the insane practices of the Delaware DOE and Governor Markell.  Most of the information we post (or used to in John’s case) is not information that is picked up on by the News Journal or other media outlets.  I don’t believe John’s goal, or my goal, is to intentionally divide, but to bring light to situations people may not be aware of.  But we are attacked for attacking.  If we don’t do these things, how the hell are people going to know these things?  Could we be more temperate in how we do this?  Sure, but would folks listen?  I can say I have defended Christina much more than I have “attacked” them, as some have said.

My intention is not to make things up in order to start a fire.  Unless it is one of my “fan fiction” posts, which are easily recognizable (such as Markell, Herdman, Godowsky, Jaques and Sokola going on a midnight horse ride in Dover), I am basing my information on something real.  If there is more information along the way, it’s going to come out.  If not from me, than in the comments or somewhere else.  Without going into a lot of details, there are some VERY strange things that go on behind the scenes with blogging.  Eventually, all truths are known or they are buried forever.

Updated, 9:32pm: This article has been updated to reflect the discussion about the assessments the district purchased.  I previously wrote these were more assessments, when the reality is they were to replace two other assessments to save instructional time and the district money.  While this is certainly a good thing, it does not change my issues with the librarian issue.

 

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12 thoughts on “Librarian-Gate In Christina Heats Up: Sophie’s Choice or Misinformation? You Decide!

  1. oh yes, attack the person pointing at the lying…ignore the lying. That’s the disease that infects us right now…and it’s all about protecting people, buddies, relationships, and pet programs. Not kids, for damn sure. Which is why I will not be cowed by the attack crowd. I am immune to their opinion when I am discussing what the voters and taxpayers and students need. The decorum police, let’s sing along together crowd are the ones protecting the shenanigans…sometimes unwittingly and worst of all in some cases unknowingly.

    The truth will come out. It always does.

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    1. Sir, I would please ask that you correct some misinformation included in this blog. It was made clear at the Christina SD Board of Ed. meeting that the district was consolidating, not simply adding, assessments. Yes, a new assessments will be purchased, but it is replacing two existing assessments which together cost the district more money than will be spent on the new assessment next school year. The district is indeed cutting assessments back in a number of sensible ways, and the district will benefit from cost savings as well as savings in instructional time because of these decisions. Teachers and administrators, like carpenters, need good tools to help them do high quality work. For a district the size of Christina SD, the assessment costs the author quoted are very reasonable.

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  2. Well, I had a very long comment written and then I realized the only thing that would come from it would likely be someone to pick through it for semantic errors that could be twisted or manipulated to make it seems as though I am a liar. So, I deleted it. People read this blog, people look to it for information and what would Spiderman’s Uncle Ben tell him to do? This blog could be used in a healthier, more productive way if it were less on the defense and less “attacky.”

    I’m proud of the work Brian and I did along with an amazing referendum committee of volunteers. I’m proud of the referendum website I built to share information with the public. If it is to blame, in part, for what quickly became a “library scandal,” then I am confident people will trust I did the best I could. If they don’t feel that way they are more than welcome to try and disseminate information to the public in their own ways. Much of life is open to interpretation and almost anything people say can be taken out of context or manipulated to be whatever someone else wants it to be. Funding was brought back and can be used to rehire librarians. If anyone has questions they should contact school principals as they make those decisions in the end.

    Furthermore, I am so sick and tired of being part of a district/community that would rather fight, would rather argue, would rather throw stones than actually work to pave a way to a better Christina for the kids. Because that is what is happening and has been happening for a very long time. It is not just administrator issues either because there is or should be THE BOARD who has the power to write resolutions, vote for change and make improvements, to govern what is happening top-down.

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    1. Christy, I very much appreciate your response. I have never called Brian or yourself a liar. I questioned how things were worded, but that is a far cry from saying “you’re lying”. I get criticism ALL the time, some of it warranted, some of it not. But it is just that, criticism. I’ve grown to have pretty thick skin, but I will always challenge something I feel isn’t right. While we may disagree on what is right or not, I always respect an opinion.

      The way I look at things and the vast amount of funds going out with a mantra of “student improvement” definitely gets me going. I’ve been fighting in education, in one way or another, for over four years now. A lot of that has been for my own child. Those kind of fights leave scars. While I feel my son is at a point now where his education is top-notch, there was a very heavy price to get him to that point. I’ve been told many things by folks involved with education at a personal and statewide level that were either a downright lie or misdirection. It makes it very hard to trust. But what I do know is when someone acts from a position of concern and one from looking out for themselves. I’ve always believed you and Brian to be in the former, not the latter. I think others, and yes, I will say it, some of the people involved in Christina, do what they do for themselves. And some of these people are the ones making decisions. Or they are in a position to strongly influence decisions. You and Brian tend to look at things at a district level, which is awesome. But I’m looking at things from a state and national level. I’ve seen the gazillion research papers coming out of Education Inc. saying schools should do this or do that, and then I see districts swallowing the medicine. But that kind of medicine doesn’t make the situation better. It is cough medicine for a lethal disease, namely the destruction of public education.

      The people involved in these things are corporate. They have a bottom line, and they really don’t care about kids. At least not the top dogs. They are making TONS of money while our kids do without. I know this, and I know John does as well. When I see John saying the same things I write about so often, I get it. I understand it instantly. But others don’t. It is the price of doing vast amounts of research into this stuff. I truly wish there were more Johns involved in education than those who profit off kids. The ONLY way we can shake these people up is by getting loud and saying loudly and emphatically: NO! Are we winning? I have no idea. I walk around in a daze at times thinking nothing I do makes a damn bit of difference. But what I wish more is that people listened to people like John more, but even more, acted on it. And to myself as well. I know they read, and I know they understand what I’m saying, but do they act on it? Nothing is ever going to change if we keep allowing the same decisions to be made. I get that you guys want to help Christina, and I admire you for it. But when I see x assessment replacing z and y assessment, or positions being cut from schools that I feel are very needed and uncertainty if those positions will be coming back, I see one more knick in the stick of public education.

      This may be hard to believe, but I felt really bad for the folks from Delaware STEM Academy yesterday. While I’m not wholly supportive of charter schools, this one could have been good had they opened. I think they had some really good ideas. I felt horrible when Christina lost their referenda last year. When I get all sorts of emails or calls from parents saying “Help me”, and I tell them exactly what to do, and they don’t and their situation never changes, it breaks my heart. When I see awesome legislation come that will fix the wrongs done and it gets vetoed or cast aside, that makes me angry. Very angry. It isn’t for show, I am genuinely pissed off. And I know it shows.

      We aren’t always going to agree. We may not even get along. But I will always listen. And if I have to, I will act. But what you and Brian do is very important. Don’t stop. Even if you want to. It is far too important. What’s funny is there are people who some would think I would never talk to in a million years, but I have normal everyday conversations with these people. I’ve been able to help them out here and there. Just because I have an issue in some areas doesn’t mean my door is forever shut from helping someone out.

      This blog is meant to be “attacky”. It is meant to feel like a splash of cold water in the face. I won’t defend that. It’s what I feel I have to do right now. I’ve seen all the constructive talk going on at a school, district, state, and even national level, and nothing has truly changed. Not really. For what I am doing, that method doesn’t work. If it works for what you and Brian are doing, I completely understand how you may not agree with that style. I’ve been called a “conspiracy theorist” recently by someone I respect a lot. Which tells me they get what I’m saying in some aspects, but others they think I’m really out there. Believe me when I say they are wrong. There are a million things I would love to write about. But I can’t at this point in time. Plus I do need to have a bit of a life outside of working and blogging! There is far too much going on right now at a state and federal level and I feel I have to stay on it as best I can. I honestly don’t have time to be worried about journalistic etiquette and all that (and I’m a journalism major, I should know better). Just trying to give you some clarity on where I am coming from. Please don’t take anything I say personally. I know I’m rough around the edges, and maybe someday I’ll be “smoother” so to speak. But that isn’t going to happen for a while, or at least until some major things change in education.

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  3. The assessment replacement analysis requires belief that the first two were priced well or right. Example I’ll replace your $20 bill with 2-$5 dollar bills. But if the $20 bill was only worth $8 of real value, you are still getting hosed.

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  4. Christy,

    I know this is difficult, but the attacky stuff you refer to is coming from those making the decisions. If we sold the referendum, even if in part, to rehire librarians then how could we not rehire them and then start deflecting the reasoning into building level control issues and other similar deflections.

    I know,I know, I’m the jerk for pointing it out. I’m the enemy. I’m the problem. The decorum police have deemed it so, the same police wielding knives and handing contracts out to friends (actually asked and answered at a board meeting) We owe it to the taxpayers to honor our promises. I will continue to call it out when we don’t.

    That’s not being “attacky”, that’s doing the job I was elected to do: actively steward the district’s money,not watch it go out to pet causes and contracts that do not yield a return for our kids.

    If that earns me some disdain, i’ll frame it and pin it on as a badge.

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  5. I would like to point out – being a downstate district parent – that your district is not alone in this. All of the kids in DE are suffering at the hands of the few. Those of us that are advocates are trying to get everyone to a better place with better policies and systems. Sometimes you have to beat things down before they can rise back up. We all want positive change that will better educate our kids. But a lot of us need to put the gloves on every once in a while. Just know that we are trying to do good not trying to cause pain.

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  6. As someone who works in public education, I appreciate the constructive criticism when it is constructive. However, much of what I see in the blogoshpere around Christpossibl auld consider to be destructive criticism — destructive to staff morale, destructive to the public trust trust and support, destructive to our abiliy to honestly and openly converse about very real and challenging issues en route to finding effective, long-lasting solutions. There are plenty of us in public education who are committed, competent, and hard-working. We should make it our number one goal to do our best to support the work of these folks and hold onto them. So let’s try to do a little more constructive and a whole lot less destructive going forward. What do you say?

    And regarding Mr. Young’s comments about $20s and $5s, I’m not sure what to make of that. There’s a market out there for assessments just like anything else. Yes, we need to be frugal, but we also need to be realistic. That means comparative research, which was done. That means extended dialogue with representative stakeholders, which was done. That means pushing the limits to get what the district needs for as little money as possible, which was done. The district purchased the Honda Civic of assessments. Frugal, yet high quality. Sometimes you just can’t win. Tomorrow, I plan to go down to my local Honda dealer and tell the salesman to sell me the lowest-end new car on the lot for two $5 bills. Let’s see how that works out.

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    1. Actually, “John Doe”, I loved John Young’s analogy with the money. Let me ask you how you KNOW the district bought a Honda Civic in assessments? How do you know it isn’t just a Vega with fancy window dressing calling itself a Honda Civic? I’ve looked into the i-Ready program offered by Curriculum Associates. When I see it is all designed to make kids better at Common Core, and then by default, the high-stakes tests associated with all that is bad in public education, sorry, I can’t support the folks who are peddling this on kids. I know they are getting sales pitches on this stuff constantly. To me, it is the same song skipping over and over again. My goal is to get to the next song. I don’t know what it is because I haven’t heard it yet. I’m happy this was expressed to representative stakeholders. I saw the list of those stakeholders. What I didn’t see was any students or parents on that list. Did the district try some of those assessments with students, in real-time, and compare them with the prior results those same students had? That is comparative research. Companies thrive on the naivety of school districts believing their research, or comparing kids in vastly different circumstances than their own with a district that has many high-needs populations. So yeah, sorry, I’m not in the “let’s all sit around a campfire and sing kumbaya crowd”. At one point I could have been, but not now. Maybe one day I’ll get there, but not now.

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      1. Simply put, formative assessment should be seen as a positive and shouldn’t be confused with state testing, which has quite a different purpose. All assessment makers are selling their products’ correlations with Smarter, PARCC, DCAS before that… Unfortunately that is the world we live in. The purpose of these types of assessments should be to gain better information about students’ instructional needs. I am, as you seem to be, dissatisfied with the state of assessment in this state and across the nation. This is mainly because we are over-testing our kids to show how “accountable” we are compared to others. This sort of testing has poisoned public feelings about all testing unfortunately. But appropriate formative testing designed to allow teachers to better know how to serve students’ individual needs is not a bad thing. Every district in this state and most others uses assessment for this purpose, and every one of them also must comply with state testing requirements. Christina is trying its best to make good decisions for its teachers and students. I don’t believe we are talking about a Vega here, but time will tell. I do know that this car will be better than the last one by a lot and for less $$$$.

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