Former Delaware Governor Jack Markell was supposed to go biking into the sunset. That was an honorable move on his part. But in the past week, Markell has been on a tear in the education world. If he isn’t joining the board of Graham holdings with their very huge education ties, he is pimping for Campbell Brown’s ridiculous education outfit.
Graham Holdings is best known as the former owner of The Washington Post. But they also own the test prep company called Kaplan Testing. I found this to be a very unusual choice for the corporate education reformee Markell. But it actually makes a ton of sense if he was still going to be involved in bad education policy. As a board member, Markell gets to shoot his mouth off and not worry about getting paid to do it. Kaplan, for those who may not know, has been one busy company the past few years. Diane Ravitch wrote about their business at Purdue University earlier today.
Meanwhile, Markell is writing about standardized testing for Campbell Brown’s reformee outfit, the 74. In a piece from yesterday, Markell brags about “testing audits”. In Delaware, we called this an assessment inventory. After a year and what I’m sure was hundreds of thousands of dollars when all was said and done, Delaware’s Assessment Inventory accomplished absolutely nothing. Sure, the group met and many districts felt the Smarter Balanced Assessment should go away, but nothing changed as a result of that useless committee. But Markell thinks all states should conducting their own testing audits and he was shocked no states included it in their state ESSA plans. I guess if it was really that important Jack, they would have.
Markell also took the time to bash parents who opt their kids out of state assessments. Which was the whole reason he came up with the stupid assessment inventory thing in the first place. Opt out scared the living crap out of Markell and he was not happy parents would opt out of “the best test Delaware ever made”. Even when our General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a bill codifying a parent’s right to opt out and created a uniform policy for schools to follow, Markell vetoed the bill. When some legislators wanted to override Markell’s veto, threats and side deals started shooting out of Legislative Hall in Delaware like nobody’s business.
This is Markell’s education legacy in Delaware: Common Core, Smarter Balanced, a Delaware Dept. of Education run amok, teachers pissed off like never before, creating Pathways to Prosperity which is just the first step to a very dystopian future for kids, and a very steep budget deficit left for his predecessor to fill largely at the expense of students and taxpayers. But Markell was just following the script like all the other corporate education reform hacks who have nothing better to do than try to brainwash the masses with their incessant rantings about the glory of standardized testing. Markell served the Rodel Foundation of Delaware far more than any student in the state. They were his priority, not students or teachers.
Let’s all opt in to telling Jack Markell to shut the hell up about testing and opt out of standardized testing! We are tired of your petulant little rants about tests.