In an article on Delaware Public Media concerning the status of the charter school audit bills, State Rep. Earl Jaques spun a web of lies about State Rep. Kim Williams, the sponsor of the bill. He gave a quote to reporter Sarah Mueller stating Rep. Williams never approached him about the bill. But Williams didn’t take it lying down. Nor should she. Continue reading
One vote last night signifies that it might be. The VERY controversial Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 5 passed the Delaware House last night and goes to Governor Carney for signature. The bill dealt with late-term abortion. Without getting into the whole pro-life/pro-choice argument, I was against this bill at first but did grow to support it. State Rep. Earl Jaques, along with Rep. Gerald Brady, were the sole Democrats in the House who voted no. Jaques claimed it was because the majority of his constituents were against the bill.
No matter what side of the political fence you are on, Roe v. Wade is one of the cornerstones of politics. Pro-choice is about as Democrat as you can get. Could Jaques’ vote indicate he will not run in 2018 for his House seat? I would say yes. In conversations with Earl over the past couple of years, I can sense a feeling of closure. I believe his swan song will be some type of school district consolidation bill which I anticipate will come out in the next three weeks. By voting no on this bill, even though he stated many of his constituents were against the bill, it is a very un-Democrat vote.
This would leave a vacancy for the Chair of the House Education Committee. Could Vice-Chair, State Rep. Kim Williams, fill the void in 2019? It is very early in the guessing games for this stuff. But I would say out of all the State Reps involved in education, she has certainly earned that position.
So much for sticking up for your own party Jack Markell! Delaware Governor Jack Markell not only found a way to kiss the rings of his Ponzi education reformer buddies, but also caused a rift between State Senator David Sokola and State Rep. Earl Jaques, made sure Meredith Chapman will become the next Senator of the 8th District, continued his favorite hobby of screwing over Delaware teachers, and proved he is the worst education Governor in Delaware history. Congrats Jack! You have cemented your legacy with this bonehead move!
So what did Jack do now? Continue reading
I’m going to write something good about Delaware State Rep. Earl Jaques…
Okay, I’m drawing a blank here…
Earl Jacques is a problem. Plain and simple. He just reeks of treachery and arrogance. He was feeling very high and mighty after the House Bill 50 suspension of rules vote the other day. So much so that he looked over at Yvonne Johnson and Dr. Teri Hodges with the Delaware PTA, had his big cheesy smile, and said “Told ya.”
I really can’t stand this guy. Can someone, anyone, please run against this guy? He told me last year he wasn’t going to run again, but I trust him as much as I’d trust the DOE. I don’t care if you are Republican, Democrat, or Independent. But please run against him. I think you would get A LOT of support!
I have to be honest here. Until 2014, I had never heard of Earl Jaques. That all changed in 2015, and everyone knew who he was then! Earl started the year as the Chair of the Delaware House Education Committee. He took over the slot from former State Rep. Darryl Scott who chose not to run again in 2014. Many assumed the position would be held by State Rep. Kim Williams since she was the Vice-Chair since 2012. Before the General Assembly even convened in 2015, State Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf booted Kowalko off the education committee. State Rep. Kim Williams remained as the Vice-Chair. Why Jaques was assigned the Chair position was baffling, but it soon became apparent.
Jaques role as Chair of the Education Committee defined his year in the 148th General Assembly. He went head-to-toe with the Department of Education over Race To The Top. An epic battle played out on the House floor between Kowalko and Jaques over House Bill 50, the opt-out legislation. Jaques allied himself with Governor Markell over opt-out, which led to Jaques very unfortunate comments about opt-out which appeared in Delaware media. Referring to those who opt-out as “failures”, many parents of children with disabilities jumped on Jaques’ comments and slammed him for it. He told a group of Christina teachers that House Bill 50 would never pass. He helped create very controversial legislation with Senator David Sokola in the form of Senate Joint Resolution #2, the assessment inventory bill that was meant to be a cure for opt-out. He fought a charter school audit bill created by Kim Williams which led to more angst in the House due to Jaques not releasing the bill from committee to give it a full House vote.
By the time House Bill 50 came up for its first House vote, Jaques and two other lone wolves were the only nay votes for the legislation and it passed 36-3. It still passed overwhelmingly by the time the Senate added amendments to the legislation causing it to bounce back to the House for a vote. Jaques still voted no.
Even after the General Assembly went into recess for the recess for the rest of the year, Jaques still caused some controversy. He was overheard talking negatively about parents at a State Board pizza party in early October. At the end of October, Kowalko sent out an email to tons of people about the falling NAEP scores. Jaques tried to hush Kowalko up by telling him not to use the state email system and his facts were biased. This caused many people to defend Kowalko, including radio-show host Rick Jensen with WDEL.
Jaques will continue as Chair of the House Education Committee in 2016, even though most folks don’t take him seriously at all. They understand he will do whatever Governor Markell instructs him to do. As well, the Delaware DOE seems to know exactly how to maneuver Jaques with controversial legislation. There is SO much more I could say about Earl Jaques, but for those who want to know more, just write Earl Jaques in my search bar and all can be found on here!
Rick Jensen of WDEL fame replied to the stunning attempt by Rep. Earl Jaques to silence Rep. John Kowalko from an email chain yesterday and put Jaques in his rightful place on the issue:
The viewpoints of any State Representative or State Senator on public policy are absolutely permitted (and encouraged) for public dissemination via official email.
What should outrage every journalist and supporter of the First Amendment is Earl Jacques trying to suppress the comments of a Rep who disagrees with him.
Kowalko does, indeed base his opinions on facts, Mr. Jacques.
As many people on this list you made public know, Mr. Jacques, I may not agree with many of them on many issues, but I have never tried to suppress their professional opinions as you are attempting with Mr. Kowalko. In fact, I invite the contrast and debate for our many thousands of listeners to decide for themselves which policies to support and which to work against.
Are you going to try to suppress everyone on this email list when they disagree with you about some policy, Mr. Jacques?
Talk Show Host / Syndicated Columnist
WDEL AM&FM / Cagle Syndicate
2727 Shipley Rd.
Wilmington, DE 19810
(302) 478-2700 x170
Updated, 12:16pm: And it gets even more heated! Because Earl responded to Rick Jensen!
From: Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall) [mailto:Earl.Jaques@state.de.us]
Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2015 11:32 AM
To: Jensen, Rick <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Reflections on NAEP score declines and who’s/what’s responsible
First Rick, my name is spelled JAQUES – no “c”. No I’m not in anyway trying to suppress his opinion. He has every right to his opinion as do you and I. But I just don’t think that the state email system is the best place for this type of comments. Maybe a better place would be a “Letter to the Editor” or a posting on a blog. Finally, you are making the assumption that I disagree with Rep Kowalko. But no where in my email do I state that as the reason for him not posting on the state email system. I just don’t believe that the state email system is the place for his bias opinion and rants!
And Jensen quickly shot a retort to Jaques!
From: “Jensen, Rick” <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2015 12:06 PM
Subject: RE: Reflections on NAEP score declines and who’s/what’s responsible
Earl “Jaques not Jacques,”
If you’re so concerned about lawmakers sharing their “bias opinion and rants” with fellow stakeholders on state.de.us email, then why are you ranting your “bias opinion” to me on state email?
Every opinion has bias. Bias per ideology, bias per research, bias per studies, etc. The problem is your declaring a State Rep has no business communicating his or her opinion on policy to fellow stakeholders via state email.
Would you please forward to this email address of all of your state.de.us emails to see if, perhaps, you have followed your own prescription?
Feel free to omit those emails that pertain to personal and sensitive information from and about constituents.
Earlier this evening, Delaware State Rep. John Kowalko sent an email to over a hundred people about his thoughts on the latest round of NAEP scores, which are showing a downward trend. Several folks responded, including State Rep. Earl Jaques. What Jaques did is symptomatic of what is wrong in Delaware politics. Follow the email chain, and let me know if you agree or disagree with Jaques.
From: Kowalko, John (LegHall)
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 6:06 PM
To: Bennett, Andria (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Bohm, Adriana L (K12); email@example.com; “firstname.lastname@example.org”; Alyssa Van Stan; email@example.com; Volturo, Andrew (LegHall); Bradley, Juanita V (K12); Short, Bryon (LegHall); Baumbach, Paul (LegHall); Townsend, Bryan (LegHall); Hall-Long, Bethany (LegHall); Mike Begatto; Bentz, David (LegHall); Torbert, Betty (K12); “Graves, Bianca”; Bolden, StephanieT (LegHall); Bush, William (LegHall); Potter, Jr, Charles (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; Thompson, Cathy (K12); Carson, William (LegHall); Collins, Richard G (LegHall); Yvonne; email@example.com; Rufo, Donato (K12); “firstname.lastname@example.org”; Sokola, David (LegHall); Lawson, Dave (LegHall); Wilson, David L (LegHall); “email@example.com”; Hudson, Deborah (LegHall); Nelia Dolan; firstname.lastname@example.org; Mitchell, John L (LegHall); Viola, John (LegHall); email@example.com; Keeley, Helene (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Osienski, Edward (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; Minnehan, Harrie E (K12); Paige, Elizabeth (K12); Henry, Margaret Rose (LegHall); email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Polaski, Fred (K12); Newton, Faith (K12); “email@example.com”; Frank Sims; Katie Gifford; Brady, Gerald (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Godowsky, Steven (K12); firstname.lastname@example.org; McDowell, Harris (LegHall); Kenton, Harvey (LegHall); Jackie Hilderbrand Kook; Hudson, Deborah (LegHall); email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall); Spiegelman, Jeff (LegHall); Bradley, Juanita V (K12); Williams, Kimberly (LegHall); Peterson, Karen (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Lynn, Sean M (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Lindell, Matt (K12); Lawson, Dave (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; Lindell, Matt (K12); Longhurst, Valerie (LegHall); Matthews, Sean (LegHall); Matthews, Michael J (K12); email@example.com; Nancyvwilling@yahoo.com; Tyler Nixon; Braddock, Nicole (K12); Marshall, Jayne O (K12); Piccio, Mike (K12); Sedacca, Paul A (K12); Paradee, Trey (LegHall); Puffer, Richard (LegHall); Johnson, Quinton (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; Marshall, Robert (LegHall); Ramone, Michael (LegHall); Zoe Read; Rivera, Brie E.; email@example.com; BriggsKing, Ruth (LegHall); Thompson, Seth (LegHall); Frank Sims; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; “firstname.lastname@example.org”; Williams, Freeman (K12); Walsh, Lynn (NBCUniversal); email@example.com; Yearick, Lyndon D (LegHall); Young, John (K12); Yvonne
Subject: Reflections on NAEP score declines and who’s/what’s responsible
Dear all please read and seriously consider the harmful effects foisted on our children by these “education reform” salesmen. The NAEP test is one of the most widely used, highly respected and proven (over decades) accurate assessments of education results. If this latest development doesn’t strike a warning chord in any of you that consider themselves as advocates for children and public education than I’m afraid it’s time for an introspective look we all should take.
Representative John Kowalko
Here is part of my response to a media interview regarding my feelings as to why NAEP scores went down and my conclusion why that occurred.
Very simply put Markell’s, Arnie’s, RODEL’s, Gates’, and all of the other (for personal profit) “education reformists” have foisted a failed system on our children with a horribly harmful result under the guise of a “common core” system that is ruining America’s and Delaware’s public education structure and willfully hurting children. Brief statement follows:
Scores down for NAEP
They’ve changed the curriculum. When they are now teaching algebra and geometry (under common core) in 3rd grade what are they not teaching or no longer teaching. If kids don’t truly understand and know multiplication, how are they going to perform the higher level skills required?
The NAEP is a generalized test given to kids all over the world. It is a consistent and reliable measure of comparison. You can’t “study” for it. So when we look at countries that do well (i.e. Finland/New Zealand) and see that their curriculums are nothing like what we have just adopted/imposed we should ask “what are we doing”?
Common Core is not a curriculum but it is so specific in its standards that it becomes a de-facto curriculum. Covering those prescribed “standards” forces teachers to teach only those skills. This presents two significant problems. There is no time for anything else and teachers are being handed a curriculum and much like the “Balanced Assessment Test”, it is being written (and profited from) by the same people who wrote common core who are (in most cases) not qualified teachers in these fields.
Editor’s note: to save space, I’m not going to keep copying the to: part of the email.
From: Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall) <Earl.Jaques@state.de.us>
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 6:39 PM
Your personal views shouldn’t be part of our email system. Your email isn’t based on any facts but filled with innuendoes and bias against people you dislike. Please take your postings to the blogs – not on the state email system!!
On Oct 28, 2015, at 6:58 PM, Rufo Donato wrote:
Hey earlI like john and what he is doing…. He cares… Seems like your email is the snippy one….When your in politics you have to learn how to deal with things….
Perhaps you should start to blog…. Maybe then people will know who’s side your on….
Donato C. Rufo
Social Studies TeacherNCCVTEA President
From: Matthews Michael <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: YOUNG JOHN
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 7:45 PM
Your email epitomizes the problem. The state system is the peoples’ system. Why are you so concerned with stifling it? Why do you deign to denigrate John’s email as if it not informed by taxpaying constituents? Who are you to silence opinion and debate? Who elected you Governor? Our tax dollars pay for this, so you should probably consider it an EXPEDITED FOIA request.
I echo Mike Matthews sentiment completely.
Why don’t you show up to another CEA meeting and berate them over Opt Out again after it passed out of your committee and overwhelmingly by your colleagues after you declared the possibility of such as ZERO. This is the peoples’ bully pulpit and I am deeply offended that an elected official, fresh off of calling my son a quitter over his parents’ reasoned decision to opt him out of high stakes tests would dare stifle dissent in such a brazen, callous manner. Tests imposed by this Governor, with your overt, glowing approval that have clearly been ineffective by the way. That was John’s point, and it is not only true, it resonates.
Why don’t you go read the Race to the Top Grant Application: https://transparentchristina.wordpress.com/delawares-race-to-the-top-grant-application/and check the goals with the results. Get back to me when you realize the depth of failure you have chosen to embrace.
We need more John Kowalko’s and less Earl Jaques’. We need elected representative who actually understand representative republics and know that the House they do their work in is only on a visitor’s pass and at the exclusive behest of the people they represent.
Lastly, you are free to denigrate the blogs, but know this: we are the last line of truth in a free society, free from corporate influence. Feel free to attack bloggers all you want, but we are not going away. We live to hold ill informed, power hungry, tin-eared politicians like yourself accountable.
John, thank you for speaking truth to power. Everyone does not have to, nor should agree with you at times, but they should never ignore you or denigrate your motives.
Earl, thanks for confirming what we already knew about your iron-fisted, bullying and intimidating style. It went out of fashion in 1985, but thanks for keeping it alive. (sarcasm intended)
Editor’s note: I sent a reply but I couldn’t reply to all with Yahoo, so I asked Rep. Kowalko to forward it to the recipients.
From: Kevin Ohlandt <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 6:57 PM
To: Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall)
Cc: Kowalko, John (LegHall); Schwartzkopf, Peter (LegHall)
Subject: Re: Reflections on NAEP score declines and who’s/what’s responsible
Earl, Earl, Earl, when are you ever going to learn? You can’t silence people like that. You need to let the people speak, whether it’s through opt-out or public comment. Legislators are not exempt from public comment.
Delaware State Rep. Earl Jaques can’t let it go. He hates parents opting their kids out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Last night, at the SBOE SBAC Pizza Party, Jaques said “Parents make bad decisions for their kids.” This was in reference to a question posed to participants about why 3rd graders may have done better on the Smarter Balanced Assessment compared to 8th graders. While he didn’t come out and speak about opt-out, he briefly glanced over at me while he was saying this. I was at this meeting for a very short time, but fate must have dictated I be there to hear Jaques’ latest rant against Delaware parents who must not know how to raise their children and must bow down before the all-knowing Earl Jaques, his buddies at the DOE and Governor Markell. Jaques knows my position on opt-out as well and knows I am one of the most fervent supporters for it in the state.
As the House Education Committee Chair, Jaques vehemently opposed State Rep. John Kowalko and Senator Dave Lawson’s bi-partisan parent opt-out legislation earlier in the year. House Bill 50 passed with a majority of votes in the Delaware House and Senate after months of arguments and amendments to the bill. While Governor Markell vetoed the bill in July, many Delawareans are hopeful the legislators in the 148th General Assembly will override Markell’s veto when they return in January. I expect more “Jaqueisms” at that time. Last March, Jaques publicly stated students who opt out don’t measure up and slammed parents for opting their kids out. This forever cemented Jaques place in the Exceptional Delaware Wall of Shame and earned him the ire of parents of special needs children. He has been quiet on the issue up until last night. Big mouth strikes again…
Apparently, Jaques really hates it if you spell his last name Jacques…
Yesterday, Red Clay Education Association President Mike Matthews posted on Facebook regarding a News Journal article about cuts to the homeless in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget. Matthews wrote:
“Shameful. Poor folks get $15 less per month but we found $1,000,000 to go to a few charter schools.”
The ensuing conversation was very much in agreement with Matthews original comment, until Delaware State Rep. Earl Jaques joined the fray…
Obviously, this brought teaching into this conversation in a huge way. The comments started flying:
Is Earl suggesting that underpaid teachers should make up the difference of cuts to the poor? Since Earl is part of the General Assembly, what is he recommending be cut to get that money back to the poor and when is he going to formally propose those cuts? Does he have any idea of what Mike already does for the poor? Real classy.
Earl — I don’t want to hear that argument so don’t sell it here. The argument is (expletive deleted) and you know it. Cutting general assistance to the poor so Newark Charter can build a new lab is disgusting and you know it.
But I agree with the bottom part of your comment. I just wish we had more legislators willing to be brave and do the right thing.
Earl Jaques has reliably demonstrated, with both his words and actions, that he is both incapable and unconcerned with helping public schools best serve students and parents.
The step increases will perhaps cover the additional healthcare costs borne by the educators. I wouldn’t know, I’m at the top of the scale and don’t get steps anymore. But I still advocated for them for my fellow employees.
How about he cut HIS pay and give to the poor?
Most teachers I know give to the poor in real, tangible ways. Has EJ ever, with his own income ever purchased a coat, a pair of shoes, a backpack for a poor child? How about pay a family’s electric bill? Find an air conditioner for an asthmatic child, provided a graphing calculator for a motivated high school student who could afford her own? Figure out how to get eyeglasses for a struggling student, paid for a field trip, or year book for a child NOT related to him? Purchased a novel on CD that an English language learner could not read?
These are things that teachers do. No one forces them. It is not required of them. But many will ho-hum this litany of giving.
They expect teachers to give as they expect missionaries to lay down their lives for the faith.
And they want no reminders of the needs they choose to ignore.
I mean, who lobbies for the poor, anyway?
Allow teachers to give willingly and then try to shame them for not giving more.
Now if I were Earl Jaques, I would have probably walked away from this. Trying to compare cuts to the poor to expensive labs in charter schools is not a wise idea in the current fiscal environment in Delaware. Especially since this charter already got grants from other sources for this lab, including the Longwood Foundation. But this morning he came back with the following which drew a brilliant response from Matthews:
- Earl Jaques What you miss was that the budget is a balancing act. Everyone had needs and we try to fill as many needs as possible, but unfortunately we can’t fill every need to the level we would like. Also teachers aren’t the only state employees.
- Mike Matthews $250,000 for a Newark Charter School expansion, Earl. This school serves a limited low-income population and they’re already at huge levels of proficiency on the state test. So why do they “need” that money? You can say all you want about everyone having to sacrifice a little, but it’s disingenuous to not qualify the level of “need” for NCS vs. the level of need of those on General Assistance.
Yes folks, this is the Chairman of the House Education Committee in Delaware!
Anonymous sources are telling me about the latest rumors coming out of Dover. Apparently the DOE is hot to trot on some House Joint Resolution making the rounds. This resolution would have the General Assembly recognize the assessment inventory initiative going on in Delaware. This message was shown to me today in an email sent to all the Delaware district and charter chiefs. Included in this were several anti-parent opt-out talking points. All of which Delaware State Rep. Earl Jaques gave as reasons in opposition of opt-out last month at the House Education Committee meeting. These talking points included the usual federal funding threats, too many assessments, important data, yada yada yada… But the interesting part of this communication was the part where the DOE representative talks about how some legislators will have a say in the assessment inventory but they won’t have any authority or oversight over the initiative. That’s like giving a kid Pringles, but you can only eat one. “We have legislators in on this but we retain the power!”
Jaques needs to separate from a Department that is using him because they are running out of life-lines. Take today for example. I stopped by the State Board of Education meeting to hear the tail end of the Teacher Leader and Effectiveness Unit give a big speech on their Educator Equity Plan. They talked about all these stakeholder groups they used for their plan and called this a “root cause analysis”. I had to crack up when even the President of the State Board, Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, said this is not a true root cause analysis with scientific-driven data. You can read the nonsense here by Chris Ruszkowski and the Gang, but really, it’s just more education reform drivel coming out of this department. But when the State Board is questioning how effective your data really is, the train has already left the station.
I have no doubt Earl Jaques has the best of intentions with education, but he’s listening to the wrong people. He came up to me before the House vote on House Bill 50, the parent opt-out bill. He explained how he wanted to get my son included on Senate Bill 229. This was a bill passed last June by the 147th General Assembly which exempts the “state’s most severely cognitively impaired students” from taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment or regular state standardized test. I explained to Jaques my son doesn’t qualify and he has Tourette Syndrome, but he is very smart. As he was walking away he said “I’m going to fix that.” I blew it off, but I received an email from him a few days later asking me to send him a list of 6-7 disabilities to add to the legislation. As if just adding these would change the Federal requirements SB 229 was based on. It shows a huge disconnect between the actual reality we all live in and how powerful Jaques seems to think he is as Chair of the House Education Committee.
I saw him last week at Legislative Hall and I explained to him, again, that you can’t just add disabilities to a law like that. He looked at me and said “We can’t? Oh well, I tried.” So not only did Jaques not understand the original legislation, but he didn’t understand the Federal law it is tied to. But this is a man the DOE whispers to with all these anti-opt-out sweet nothings and he takes it as the Gospel truth. This is classic political maneuvering on the DOE’s part, and they think they have their man with Earl Jaques. But nobody is drinking the Kool-Aid anymore. At least not in the General Assembly. When you have a House of Representatives that had a large majority pass legislation for the Smarter Balanced Assessment, and then not even a year later, pass opt-out legislation with a 36-3 vote, then obviously they aren’t drinking the assessment Kool-Aid anymore.
Even Governor Markell has backed away from Jaques a bit. I haven’t seen Jaques appearing in any huge education announcements or cheerleader speeches with Jack in a couple months.
As House Bill 50 winds it’s way through the General Assembly, with it’s next stop at the Senate Education Committee on June 3rd, does Jaques still think he really has the ammunition to stop a bullet-train heading for the Governor’s desk? If anything, Jaques helped the parent opt-out movement with his vocal and stubborn opposition of it. In some respects, I hope Jaques keeps talking about it!
As I walked out of the State Board of Education meeting, Ruszkowski was asking Shana Young how it went with Jaques. I missed the answer, but it is important to note the email sent to the Delaware superintendents was written by the DOE’s own Shana Young. Were they talking about this superstar joint resolution or do they have something else cooking? Will anyone care?
From his public figure Facebook page:
Recently I made a comment regarding standardized testing in Delaware that was hurtful to some families of children with special needs. For that I am truly sorry.
As a longtime volunteer with Special Olympics Delaware, and the grandfather of a child on the Autism spectrum, I understand the challenges that parents face every day with children who have intellectual disabilities. I have witnessed the extraordinary accomplishments these children achieve and I would never underestimate their abilities. I completely understand that their parents will take the appropriate actions they see fit regarding their education. That is why I co-sponsored SB 229 last year, which allows parents of students with cognitive disabilities to make their own choices when it comes to standardized testing.
I offer my sincere apology to these families and their children.
While I appreciate the apology, I am very torn on what it means. This wasn’t just a shot against special needs kids, this was against ALL kids who are opted out, and their parents. His apology doesn’t even offer the words opt out, just standardized testing.
Furthermore, his reference to Senate Bill 229 troubles me. This bill allows children with severe cognitive disabilities to be opted out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment to take something called DCAS-Alt. It is a great bill, don’t get me wrong. But he also voted yes for House Bill 334, which allowed the Smarter Balanced Assessment into the state code. As well, he voted yes for Senate Bill 51 which allows for teachers to be evaluated based on standardized test results. In addition, most special needs children would not even qualify for the alternate assessment.
I still don’t have faith in him as the Chair of the House Education Committee, so my petition will stand, unless he apologizes to ALL students and parents who have gone through the opt out process. Being American is important to me, and I take it as a slight when I am told I am not being American. Being American also gives people the ability to make certain choices, so I am exercising that right. I also think he needs to reach out to more than the Delaware Teachers of the Year to get a gage on this test. I have to wonder, has Earl Jaques taken the Smarter Balanced Assessment?
As a father of a special needs child, I accept that part of the apology. But on behalf of ALL the children who are forced to take this test and the lucky ones who have been opted out, none of which are failures, I just can’t.
I know several people who emailed or called Delaware State Rep. Earl Jaques about his extremely offensive comments about parents who opt their kids out of standardized assessments. Has he responded to any of you? I know he hasn’t responded to anything I have said. I guess I am too far below him…
Kilroy posted a very long article today about parent opt out and how it is an agenda for some who are utilizing it to help themselves. He was not talking about parents, so let’s not rush to hang Kilroy! But as part of the article, Kilroy wrote that he spoke with Delaware State Rep. Earl Jaques about parent opt out:
Rep Jaques, I enjoyed our sidebar chat after the combined board meeting. I know you mean well but now it the time to be a leader not a follower. Markell is playing legislators to save his own political ass. Work with the parents, teachers, schools and other legislators to plan for a future that will seen an implosion of the current wrongheaded Washington / Markell agenda. You represent the people not the governor !
While Kilroy and I agree with many of the reasons he is speaking out like this, I do not think Earl Jaques meant well at all with his comments in a public newspaper. I think he meant to condescend and offend parents who know their children better than anyone in pursuit of God knows what with Governor Markell. I had a very long response to Kilroy’s article, which you can see here: https://kilroysdelaware.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/delaware-testing-opt-out-the-lies-and-hidden-agenda/#comment-64186
While some may think it is best for the opt out movement for Jaques to keep talking, which I partly agree with, I don’t think he should be the Chair of the House Education Committee which will be in session very soon to discuss House Bill 50 which would legally give parents the right to opt their child out of the state assessment. So I will continue my iPetition:
That was fast! Not even 24 hours after Rep. Earl Jaques very offensive remarks, a citizen of Delaware has started an iPetition to have Jaques step down as Chair of the House Education Committee in Delaware and publicly apologize for his derogatory remarks.
In case anyone has not seen these public comments, it was this:
“To me, opt out is admitting failure,” said Jaques. “[It’s] saying, oh, I can’t measure up. I’m not good enough to be able to take this test. I can’t pass that test. That’s not the American way.”
Please take the time to sign this petition which will be submitted to the Delaware 148th General Assembly once we have reached our goal. Thank you!
“To me, opt out is admitting failure,” said Jaques. “[It’s] saying, oh, I can’t measure up. I’m not good enough to be able to take this test. I can’t pass that test. That’s not the American way.”
Yes, this was said by an elected official yesterday. This was said by a man who has never been a teacher, but serves as the Chair of the House Education Committee. As a special needs parent, I was deeply offended by Jaques’ comments. Usually, I take this education stuff with a grain of salt. I may get upset, but it doesn’t hit on a personal level. Mr. Jaques changed all that, because after someone else posted about Jaques calling his own son a failure, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I decided almost a year ago my son would not take the Smarter Balanced Assessment. I publicly wrote a letter to the editor in The State News five months ago opting him out. So in terms of my own son, I haven’t even entertained the notion of him taking this monstrosity of a test in a long time. For all my talk about opt out, it is truly for the rest of Delaware that I am reaching out to. Earl Jaques changed that.
Another parent shared with me her email to Earl Jaques. She gave an okay to publish it, but out of respect for her, I will not put her last name in it.
Today, I learned of your comments regarding parents who choose to not permit their children to participate in Smarter assessments. My first source was a blog, so I tried to convince myself that the reporting was biased or untrue. Not because I don’t trust the blogger in question, but because I did not want to believe that an elected public official would be so dismissive of parents. Unfortunately, I was wrong and the blogs were right. Unless, of course, you want to deny what you said and was reported in mainstream media.
How. Dare. You.
How dare you imply that parents who exercise their rights are not good Americans? Isn’t that what being American is about – knowing your rights as an individual and making choices based on that information?
How dare you be so condescending and dismissive of the community that elected you to the public office you hold? Your arrogance is utterly overwhelming.
How dare you classify children who do not participate in a test that is no more than a giant money grab that has the added benefit of labeling and punishing professional educators as failures? You can’t possibly be that out of touch with reality.
Let me give credit where it is due. Part of your quote is correct. Opting out IS admitting failure. But that is where your accuracy ends. This isn’t about the failure of students, parents, or teachers. It is about the failure of the Smarter Balance assessment to be a valuable tool to measure sound, research-based standards and provide meaningful information for teachers.
Don’t you ever again dare to claim my children are failures or don’t measure up because I made a decision that I believe to be good for them. Ever again. And not just my children, but the children of every parent who has made the same choice that I have to not have their children participate in the testing this season. You don’t have the right.
You owe the community an apology. And your resignation.
I am also calling on Earl Jaques’ resignation. This is absolutely the worst thing a parent can hear right now. It shows a true disconnect with the people you were elected to serve. You don’t serve Jack Markell, or the big bad power movers in the corporate education reform movement. You serve the people of Delaware. You have no right to judge any child or parent in this state. Here’s the facts Earl: my son would probably do okay on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. He is very smart and very intelligent. He did great on DCAS last year. But this test, this very big test, is not designed to give students a better education. It is designed to tear students down, to feel frustrated, to give data to power brokers who will make money off my son. I don’t want to hear about any of the excuses people give about what this test will do. I’ve seen it. It’s confusing and manipulative. It has high-stakes, and any test that has this much controversy cannot be good. So do us all a favor, don’t keep talking. Just resign, and go in peace. And please apologize to us all on your way out.
If you would like to email Earl Jaques with your thoughts on this matter, please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org
The above quote came from this article:
“That one little test would not be a big deal added to what we would barely have. I think (the opt out bill) is just a quick reaction to an issue that really, we’re not sure there is an issue.” -Delaware State Rep. Earl Jaques
In an article today on WDDE’s website, writer James Dawson spoke with State Rep. and Chair of the House Education Committee Earl Jaques about some talks he had with Governor Markell’s administration concerning parent opt out. His impression of this movement obviously needs a reality check. Parents are not opting their kids out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment because of all the other tests. We are opting out because the test is evil, and has no educational purpose except for the DOE, the US DOE, and Governor Markell to label and punish schools and inflate data to make the schools they like look better. I don’t see any galvanized movements where parents are screaming “Opt out of SRI and SMI!” It’s THIS test.
If you want to prune any test Jaques, make it the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Have you read nothing in the past week? Are you that out of touch with your constituents that you can’t see past this? Some of those other tests you want to “prune” do actually give the schools actual data they can use in the current school year, unlike the Smarter Balanced Assessment. When was the last time you were in a school watching kids get drilled for this one test that will hold teachers and their schools accountable?
It sounds to me like you have become a State Rep. that serves the Markell and Rodel administration more than the people who voted for you. Can’t we “prune” you from the House Education Committee? I may not live in your district, but you are a STATE representative. You are playing dirty politics on behalf of children, and I can guarantee you will get a lot of heat on this. In fact, if those who are against the Smarter Balanced Assessment are reading this, please email Rep. Jaques at email@example.com to tell him about your problems with this “little test”.
I now understand why Donna Johnson, the executive director of the State Board of Education, was hinting at taking a look at those “other” tests tonight at the Kent County Parent Opt Out Town Hall.
To read the full article, and State Rep. John Kowalko’s excellent response, please go here: http://www.wdde.org/73904-optout-efforts-head-march
In 40 minutes, I will be on the Rick Jensen show on WDEL/1150 AM for a second time discussing parent opt out of standardized testing in Delaware. 1pm est. You can listen in on http://www.wdel.com
I have sent the following email to Delaware State Representative Earl Jaques. Will he make the call? Stay tuned!