I reached out to Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky and Assistant Deputy Secretary David Blowman about the Freire Charter School Opt Out/Smarter Balanced Assessment/Final Exam scandal. Apparently, the Delaware Department of Education thinks it is perfectly acceptable for students to earn an A for tests they never took.
While I won’t release the full email chain since I would betray a source, I can say it is one of the most disrespectful and insulting emails I have ever received from the Delaware DOE. What offended me the most was how Blowman wrote his response, as if this is a common occurrence and it is A-Ok.
I must have been sniffing glue to think the Delaware DOE would take this matter seriously and actually, for once, do the right thing. But no, they turn it around with Blowman’s cocky and arrogant “historically common” and “educationally appropriate”. So every single parent in Delaware knows, the Delaware DOE does NOT give a crap about what actual grades a student gets in classes, JUST the Smarter Balanced Assessment. They don’t care if a student could be failing a course, but an unearned A on a final exam could cause them to pass a class. Because the Smarter Balanced Assessment is the true measurement, right assholes? Social promotion is okay as long as we get that participation rate, right Blowman?
I am DONE with this Department. DONE. As if their fraudulent Teacher Leader Pilot program I wrote about yesterday wasn’t bad enough, I get this unbelievable spit-in-parents face email. Because it is okay if a school changes grades. It’s okay if they offer sweetheart deals to parents to manipulate them out of opting their child out of a test that doesn’t give any true instructional feedback, parents don’t know the scores until after the school year ends, and it violates a parent’s constitutional, God-given, and fundamental right to decide what is best for their own child.
Is the DOE calling final exams unnecessary? The tests that actually show what a student may or may not have learned the entire year in a class, unlike the Not-So Smarter Balanced? Really Blowman? Are you out of your Kool-Aid drinking mind? We know this isn’t in statute or regulation because our corrupt Governor cares more about companies than students. If the situation were in reverse, like a parent wanted to opt their child out of a final exam, but the school said “How about we do this: let your child take the final exam and one of our teacher leaders will take the Smarter Balanced Assessment for your kid,” the DOE would be at that school pretty damn fast. It’s the same thing Blowman! By giving a student a false grade, you are teaching that student it is okay to manipulate the system. By allowing schools to do it you are showing all you care about is a high-stakes test. If that is the DOE’s definition of college and career ready, I weep for the future.
I truly don’t care if the DOE never gives me information again because of this article. I truly don’t. Not with the complete idiots in charge over there. From now on, everything will be a FOIA or a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education. So teachers, who I do respect immensely (except for those who do the suck-up dance to the DOE), please let me know of any “sweetheart” deals your administrators are pulling on students. Parents as well. Because this is sick. This is what our education governance has come down to: immoral and unethical practices coming all the way from the top and THEY ENDORSE IT. Just because something isn’t written in Title 14 doesn’t make it right Blowman. Don’t you dare try to pull that crap on me. Did you really think my response to this would be “Okay, dead issue.” This email could have easily said “We at the Department do not agree with the inappropriate actions taken by Freire with parents.” Instead, I’ll bet they got a high-five for their most excellent anti-opt out tactics.
I used to treat some DOE employees with kid gloves in the past. I’m done with that. You have spit on parents and their rights, manipulated teachers and their best interests, and lied to the public for the last time Delaware DOE. You have invited the opt out wrath that is coming your way in the 2016-2017 school year.
For my readers, I apologize for my harsh language in this article. But I feel it is necessary because there are no other accurate words that best sum up my thoughts on our Department of Education. We sit here in Delaware and pretend this is okay. Why aren’t parents and teachers standing up in mutiny at every single State Board meeting and picketing the Delaware DOE office? We allow this by doing nothing. If you think anything I write in this blog makes ANY difference, it is marginal at best. They won’t do a damn thing until they see parents rising up in massive numbers. And if some of our schools or the Department that is supposed to oversee our schools think lying, fraud, cheating, manipulating, brainwashing, stealing and disrespecting our children and those charged with teaching them, you need to do something about it.
I’m sure the DOE will do something that will piss me off more than this. I have no doubt. This is why we pay them the big bucks with no oversight. So they can screw over every possible person who doesn’t conform to their Rodel/Markell ass-kissing agendas. And for those who think you are at the table, you aren’t. And it isn’t a nutritious meal. You are ON THE TABLE and they are eating you alive and you are letting them do it. I don’t want to hear one more word about the cannibalistic Delaware Way (except the very excellent Delaware Way blog- shameless plug).