‪Breaking news?: @NAACP now opposing high-stakes testing!

Cloaking Inequity

I think this is breaking news? I am currently attending the NAACP national convention in San Antonio Texas. I am sitting in the federal legislative and public policy workshop. In my education packet there is a new issue brief addressing high-stakes testing.

The NAACP is now publicly opposing high-stakes testing! This stand builds on our legacy of opposition articulated in Debra P v. Turlington case.

This is a step forward from 2015.

Please see all of Cloaking Inequity’s posts about high-stakes testing here.

Join the NAACP today!

Please Facebook Like, Tweet, etc below and/or reblog to share this discussion with others.

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Twitter: @ProfessorJVH

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Nørrefjord

Something to keep you cool on these hot summer days here in Delaware!

Outside Ittoqqortoormiit

The most memorable experience for me this winter was a visit to Nørrefjord, Liverpool Land, in the beginning of march.

I have put off posting about it, in part because I could not find the right words to do this astonishingly beautiful spot on earth any justice. And I still can`t!

Just thinking about it makes my heart ace. It feels – like homesickness.

It has to be experienced!

Lunch break in Klitdal

Camp close to Triasdal

Storefjord

The cabin at Nørrefjord …

… surrounded by hot springs

Contrasts

A quiet evening

Slien

Peaks

Feeling small in the big fjord – Storefjord

Fixing the sledge runners on our way back home

——————-

Good news are – there`ll be a new winter, sooner or later!

So for now, let`s just enjoy what is – summertime 😉

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Quarter Past Midnight

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Utah Asked USDOE for ESSA Testing Waiver to Honor Parents’ Rights; USDOE Said (Wait for It…) No.

deutsch29

On May 01, 2018, Utah state superintendent Sydnee Dickson sent this waiver request to Betsy DeVos’ USDOE regarding parental rights to opt their children out of state tests– as protected by state law. The Every Student Succeeds Acts (ESSA) (the latest version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, or ESEA) requires that 95 percent of eligible students participate in state tests in order to qualify for Title I funding.

A primary concern is that scoring opt-out students’ tests as zeroes skews test-based school accountability and potentially misidentifies “low performing” schools– with opt-outs “highest” at charter and virtual schools. Some excerpts:

The waiver request, if granted, would enable the state to maintain one coherent accountability system, allow Utah to more accurately identify schools in need of improvement, and avoid undermining the transparency of our accountability system, including the ability of policymakers, educators, parents, and students to make informed…

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Speaking Out Against Pay for Success, Predatory Public-Private Partnerships and Dr. Hite’s Ties to Ridge-Lane, LP

Wrench in the Gears

As the parent of a public school student and a citizen of Philadelphia, I arrived at Council Chambers today to convey my concern about Superintendent William Hite’s involvement with former Governor Tom Ridge’s merchant banking advisory firm Ridge-Lane, LP and to get it on the record.  Full list of team members viewable as a PDF here.

I have serious reservations about how the city plans to finance the operation of our district, especially given the substantial needs of our students and the disinvestment our schools have suffered for so many years. This important work must be done with PUBLIC funding. Our schools are not charities and should not be remade as investment opportunities for venture capital.

I was the third speaker to present testimony on the proposed budget as it pertains to public education. Official video available here. City Council members in attendance at the time I spoke…

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Educators Who Needed Rescuing Part 1: My Story

So glad to see Natalie writing again! Get better Natalie!

E.R. +Educators to the Rescue+

This is Natalie, and I’ve been neglecting this page for an awfully long time.  So many things have happened in a year’s time, that it’s been difficult to concentrate my passion on educational issues.  I feel like you need an explanation, so I’ll try to be brief.  I’ll start with myself, and then I will fill you in with what happened to Laura, my educational partner who ran this page with me.

In December 2016, on the first day of Winter Break, I carried my then 15-year-old geriatric Pug down our back porch steps to go do his business, because he was too old to navigate them by himself.  On about the third step, I fell down in severe pain and threw “Bob” down the rest of the steps.  I crawled to the door screaming in pain.  Luckily, my husband was home, because I could not lift myself up to…

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Anya Kamenetz: “A Nation at Risk” Cooked the Books

Imagine that… a huge report cooked up to promote a false narrative on American schools.

Diane Ravitch's blog

In this report by NPR journalist Anya Kamenetz, we learn that the famous 1983 report “A Nation at Risk,” we learn that the Reagan-era Commission “cooked the books.” Kamenetz interviewed two of the original commission members and learned that the commission knew its conclusion in advance, then cherry-picked facts to prove its claim that the schools were ”mired in mediocrity.”

She writes:

“In the context of declining resources and rising child poverty, maintaining steady or slightly improving test scores over decades could be described with other words besides “flat” and “disappointing” — perhaps “surprising” or “heroic.”

“But the narrative established by “A Nation At Risk” still seems to be the one that dominates how we think of the data.

“[Professor James] Guthrie, for one, thinks that’s been, on balance, a good thing, because it brought education to the front and center of the U.S. agenda.

“My view of it in…

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Too big to map, but I tried.

Wrench in the Gears

I realize this is a very long post and not all that readable. I will try and break it down further in the near future, but for now consider it a work in progress; a way for me to gather a lot of divergent ideas, spheres of influence, and money trails in one place. The graphic above is my attempt to trace what is happening with Out of School Time learning where I live; how it relates to impact investing; how they are building the data infrastructure around it; and how that data will advance social impact investing in Philadelphia, a city of deep poverty. I am including selections from the map in this piece, but the interactive version can be accessed here.

On Wednesday March 14, members of the Philly OST (Out of School Time) Coalition presented a report prepared by Howard Tucker, President of Vision4EDU, on…

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Capital School District Salaries Over $100,000

The Capital School District is in the middle of Kent County where the capital of The First State lies.  Even their middle school, Central, boasts itself as being in “The Heart of Dover”.  Their enrollment has pretty much been flat over the past four years.  The district has two middle schools, one for 5-6 and one for 7-8.  Potential plans may change that in the future, but this also causes a bit more administrative positions than most school districts.  Superintendent Dan Shelton is going on his 3rd year in the district.  He replaced Dr. Michael Thomas who retired at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.  Capital is one of the districts in the state with the largest percentage of low-income students.  As notated in the article on Caesar Rodney, the competition between the two districts is well-known in Kent County! Continue reading

Email To Delaware Superintendents and Heads of School re: Parent Opt Out, DE DOE, Governor Markell and Corporate Education Reform

Three years later, and parents in Delaware still opt their children out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. The words I wrote to all the superintendents and charter school leaders still ring true with every fiber of my being. I still believe the Smarter Balanced Assessment is a flawed test and should not be used in any capacity in our schools. I still believe, given careful thought and deliberation, parents should exercise their fundamental right if they want to opt their child out of this state assessment. Some of the names might be different now, but I would tell any of our school leaders the same thing today.

Exceptional Delaware

Dear Superintendents and Heads of School of Delaware,

As you have no doubt heard, there is a movement afoot in Delaware whereby parents of students are opting their children out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Some of you have already taken a stand for or against parent opt out, or your respective school boards have done so for you. I write to you today on the eve of the bulk of the standardized assessment season.

Some of you I’ve had contact with in the past. Some of you don’t like me. I get that completely. But I think we all have one thing in common, and that is wanting the best for the children of Delaware. Our methods and ways of going about that vary in great degrees, but at the end of the day, we want students to be successful.

I will be very frank with all of you:…

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All Schools Smyrna And Up Are Closed Today! Legislative Hall Cancels Committee Meetings As A Result!

Families from Smyrna to Brandywine got the early morning robo-call today- Snow Day!  Last night’s nor’easter hit New Castle County with anywhere from 1-3 inches of snow.  Because of this, the legislators canceled any committee meetings scheduled for today.  Meanwhile, all districts Capital and south have school!  So… New Castle teachers and students… what are you doing today?  Have fun!

Student-Teacher Relationships Are Central to Authentic Education

This is the MUST-READ of the day! Please don’t just read the intro. Follow the link and read it. Let it sink in and marinate on it. This IS Ed Reform 2.0 and 1.0 was intentionally designed to get us to this point.

Wrench in the Gears

Today I share a guest post from an elementary school teacher in Maine, a state in the vanguard of Ed Reform 2.0 implementation. Unless changes are made, this year’s freshmen are expected to graduate under the state’s new proficiency-based diploma requirements. In recent months, push-back against this new educational paradigm has grown substantially. Parents, teachers and students are finding standards-based education, a model that emphasizes technology-based education delivery, highly problematic. Here is one teacher’s perspective:

“I love technology. I love it so much that I got my Masters in educational technology through Boise State University in Idaho. Through this program I learned to teach online, gamify my curriculum, personalize learning, use countless technology tools, and promote digital literacy in the classroom.

When I switched to a school district that had one to one technology for my students, I was over the moon! That was until I actually saw it implemented…

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The Exceptional Delaware Education Power Broker Top 25 List

Delaware Education.  Two words that will always create some type of debate in The First State.  But who is in charge?  Is anyone?  Who has the most influence?  Who are the ones you would never think are able to dictate education policy?  Some are obvious but others are not.  This list is not a list of the “good guys” per se, but more about power.  These are the folks who can pack a punch whether you realize it or not.  They are the voices that carry the most weight.  As well, I have a list after showing who could hold power in the future and those who lost a bit of their might in Delaware education. Continue reading

Head Lady in Charge

Last Night We Lay Down In The Street To Protest Closed Door Meetings About Public Education in Philadelphia

I see this happening in Delaware as well. The Delaware Business Roundtable and Delaware Chamber of Commerce want to direct education to their liking, with absolutely no public input or transparency. Philadelphia is a harbinger of things to come in Delaware. We all need to wake up!

Wrench in the Gears

Public education activists are living through an interesting moment now in Philadelphia. The School Reform Commission is being disbanded. In the coming months Mayor Jim Kenney will be appointing a school board from nominations put forth by a select panel. The process is murky, and a pattern of closed-door education policy decision-making has been established here, here, and here. Last night, the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce held a ticketed event to discuss the future of business in our schools at Girard College, an important site of struggle in the Civil Rights Movement. You had to be a Chamber of Commerce affiliate to purchase a $35 ticket for the event, which included the following language on the event website.

Attendee Chamber Event

It appears the future of public education in our city is being mapped out by industry, venture capital, and well-connected non-profit and higher education partners.  The people, meanwhile, are…

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January 19th

Outside Ittoqqortoormiit

January 19th – the day of sunrise in Ittoqqortoormiit, this year was cloudy and bleak. Still, after days of blizzards, sitting inside the house, it felt wonderful to step outside and ski down onto the ice.

While I was standing on the sea-ice, school children gathered on a small hill (you can see them on this picture, not far from the green house) to welcome the sun – in case it would make its appearance!

The sea ice broke of last weekend. The storm left us with only a small patch of ice, just outside of Ittoqqortoormiit.

View from the ice edge towards Kap Tobin.

I skied around the open water to the other side of Fox Havn, enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Today, we are still waiting for the sun. Maybe we`ll catch a glimpse of it tomorrow!?

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Breaking News: Governor Carney Nominates Cerron Cade As Secretary Of Labor

This information JUST came out:

 

Delaware Governor John Carney

Governor Carney Nominates Cerron Cade as Secretary of Labor

Cade currently serves as Delaware’s Director of Small Business, Development, and Tourism

 

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday announced his nomination of Cerron Cade – Director of the Delaware Division of Small Business, Development, and Tourism – to serve as the next Secretary of the Delaware Department of Labor.

Cade’s nomination must be approved by the Delaware Senate. 

As Labor Secretary, Cade would lead a 420-employee department that oversees workforce development and training programs for the State of Delaware, unemployment insurance programs, labor law enforcement, and economic forecasting for the state.

“Cerron has a proven ability to lead, and the knowledge and experience necessary to take on this important role,” said Governor Carney. “The Department of Labor’s work connecting Delawareans with relevant job training and workforce development programs has never been more important. Cerron understands the needs of Delaware businesses from his time at the Small Business Division and, before that, at the Delaware Economic Development Office. I’m confident that Cerron’s experience will serve Delaware and Delaware workers well. I look forward to the Delaware Senate considering his nomination.”

Last year, as Acting Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO), Cade managed the dissolution of DEDO and the creation of the new Division of Small Business, Development, and Tourism within the Delaware Department of State. Currently, he serves as the Division’s Director, leading a team responsible for providing key services to Delaware businesses, administration of the Delaware Strategic Fund, and marketing Delaware as a premier tourist destination.

During his time at DEDO and the newly-created division, Cade has led the state’s efforts to attract businesses and good-paying jobs to Delaware, keep them here, and ensure that Delaware remains a leading state for businesses to grow and thrive. If confirmed by members of the Delaware Senate, he will bring that experience to the Department of Labor, where he will lead state efforts to connect Delaware businesses with talented workers, and develop relevant workforce development and training programs. 

“I am honored to be nominated by Governor Carney to lead the Department of Labor,” said Cade. “Connecting Delaware businesses with skilled employees has been a large part of my focus as DEDO has transitioned into the new Division. If confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to using that experience to help the state’s workforce thrive in this changing economy.”

Cade would replace Secretary Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, who will join Delaware State University as Dean of Graduate, Adult, and Continuing Studies next month. Gilliam-Johnson will leave office as Labor Secretary on February 2.

“Secretary Gilliam-Johnson has led the Department of Labor with distinction during a time where we have faced many challenges across state government and have been focused on the importance of building strong, inclusive environments where people feel valued and supported,” said Governor Carney. “I could not be more grateful for her service.”

Cade grew up in Washington D.C. and moved to Delaware to study Political Science and Law Studies at Delaware State University. Driven by a desire to make a positive impact and following his passion for public service, Cade has worked as a Legislative Aide for the Delaware State House of Representatives, New Castle County Deputy County Director for U.S. Senator Tom Carper and State Projects Director for then-Congressman John Carney.

Cade joined Governor Jack Markell’s staff as Legislative Liaison in 2015. Last summer, Governor Carney appointed Cade to serve as DEDO’s Acting Director to lead the office’s transition, where he previously served as Deputy Director.

Cade lives in Wilmington with his wife, Kasmira, and two daughters, Jonnie and Toni.

“Smart and Surveilled:” Building Sanctuary Part 3

Wrench in the Gears

This installment highlights  smart city surveillance and the Internet of Things. Cam and Li’s lives, including their educational experiences, are shaped by ubiquitous algorithms that align their behaviors to the economic and social expectations put in place by the Solutionists. This is the third installment in the series. If you want to read from the beginning use this link to access the introduction and Part 1: Plugging In.

Cam and Li have grown up in a world controlled by sensors and data. All day, every day sensors watch, track and transmit information. The devices that make up the vast web of Internet of Things are tiny, but their combined power is incalculable. The most common IoT sensor in the pre-lockdown years was the smart phone. Practically anyone over the age of ten had one. Acting as a sensor, people’s phones were a primary means of data collection, logging information…

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Earl Jaques Bows To The Delaware Chamber Of Commerce Over Special Education Diplomas

It looks like you need special permission to introduce legislation to help students with disabilities.  At the Joint House and Senate Education Committee today in Delaware, State Rep. Earl Jaques asked one of the presenters of the special education strategic plan if she checked with the Delaware Chamber Of Commerce first before pushing legislation for special education diplomas.  Currently, many students with disabilities with complex and intensive needs get a certificate in lieu of a diploma.  Many businesses will not hire these young adults after graduation because they do not have a diploma.

The legislation, which was filed last week by State Rep. Kim Williams, would award these students a diploma based on modified standards.  It is not exactly the same as a regular diploma because of those modified standards, but it is still a diploma.  That way, these students would be able to check the box on job applications indicating they have a diploma.

During a question and answer session after Michele Marinucci and Bill Doolittle gave the special education strategic plan presentation, State Rep. Earl Jaques (also the Chair of the House Education Committee) asked Marinucci if she consulted with the Delaware Chamber of Commerce and the business community over the proposed legislation.  Marinucci indicated she had not.  I took severe offense to this question from Jaques.  As if legislators need some type of special permission from big business to allow things to get better for people with disabilities.  We don’t need permission from the Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber should be begging for this type of bill to allow equal access to employment for ALL Delaware citizens.  As State Senator Anthony Delcollo pointed out, there exist certain laws already such as the Americans with Disabilities Act that prevents discrimination against disabled citizens.

The entire Delaware certificate system needs to disappear.  There are plenty of jobs where former students are more than qualified but this discriminatory certificate prevents them from getting those types of jobs.  Our legislators and Governor need to stop bowing down to big business in Delaware and do what is right for ALL the citizens, especially the most vulnerable.  While big business lobbyists run rampant throughout Legislative Hall telling legislators how they should vote and which bills they support and which ones they don’t, our legislators are missing the point of making laws.  It should be what is best for all the citizens, not just those with the fattest wallets.  There are those legislators who understand this, State Rep. Kim Williams being one of them.  But far too many listen to those who have the most money.

While Jaques indicated he doesn’t want to see potential problems arise from persons with disabilities just checking a box and not being qualified for those jobs, there is also a thing called an interview process.  As well, many job applications do ask an applicant about their qualifications to meet the need for the job.  Having a certificate instead of a diploma is an instant barrier that serves to weed out these job applicants from the get-go.  I find this practice disgusting and barbaric.  For this comment to come from Jaques, who has publicly acknowledged having a grandchild with Autism, I found it  particularly disturbing.  I’m sure he is trying to get all his ducks in a row and making sure there has been enough stakeholder engagement.  And while I do agree the business community should certainly be a part of the discussion in how to best help students with disabilities and improve upon the process, I do not think any group involved in getting common sense legislation through needs permission first.  I wonder if Jaques read my article on the current Chair of the Delaware Chamber of Commerce from yesterday.  Maybe then he would understand why I am vehemently opposed to any pre-consultation with the damn Chamber over education legislation.

The actual presentation was top-notch.  The plan is designed to help students with disabilities and schools to improve special education.  While the plan is not set in stone and is a “living document”, I think it is a major step in the right direction.  This group did their homework and while I always think there should be more parents not affiliated with any other organization on these things, there is an excellent amount of diversity from all aspects of special education.  To see the actual strategic plan and what was discussed today, please go here.

I did see one moment of political maneuvering and it was very blatant in my opinion, but since I am unable to verify that as fact, I will stop right there.  I will say it did not involve anyone involved with the Special Education Strategic Plan.  But I expect more from that legislator than to ask questions on behalf of the Governor.  If the Governor’s circle of advisers want to ask a question, they should just do it themselves.  They are more than welcome to do so.  By using a legislator to get a point across is just slimy in my opinion.  Especially when it really doesn’t have much to do with the actual presentation being discussed and more about a priority of Governor Carney.  I will say to this legislator as well as Carney’s guy, the article I posted yesterday with the actual plan embedded into it was posted on the Solutions for Wilmington Schools Facebook page and was read by many.

In another brilliant moment of the Joint committee session, State Senator David Sokola (the Chair of the Senate Education Committee) suggested to Marinucci that they should really take a look at Finland’s special education and what a bang-up job they do recognizing special education needs at an early age.  State Rep. Sean Matthews replied to Sokola’s statement that the educational barriers that exist in Delaware, such as charter and choice school enrollment preferences, do not exist in Finland.  He indicated Finland is at the top of education in the world because they do not have those barriers and grant equal education to all in Finland.  As well, Matthews said you don’t see actions like “counseling out” going on in Finland.  That is a practice with certain charter schools where parents are told “we aren’t sure if your child is the right fit here”.  While I don’t know how much this goes on now, it has been an allegation thrown at certain charters in Delaware.  Many students in the past would wind up back in their traditional school district in the middle of a school year.  Many of these were also special education students.  Sokola is a firm believer in enrollment preferences, usually those that protect the largest school within his own voting district, Newark Charter School.

In terms of the entire House Education Committee it would have been nice if the Republican House members actually stayed for the entire presentation.  About twenty or so minutes in they all walked out.  But along those lines, State Rep. Melanie Smith was a no-show as she usually is.  No offense to the GOP guys, but if you are on a committee you should stick around for, you know, the actual meetings.  It is special education.  Not sure what was more important than that.  But I digress.  On the Senate side, the only missing Education Committee member was Senator Bryan Townsend.

Despite Jaques’ assurance to me yesterday that this meeting would be on the live audio feed on the General Assembly website, it was not.  But there were also issues in getting a smart-screen going for the strategic plan presentation so I would chalk that up to technical issues going on.  Legislative Hall is a very old building.