The National Title I Association recently selected 57 schools in the USA to be “Distinguished Title I Schools”. That’s awesome, helping out the poor kids. In Delaware, Newark Charter School got the honor. And what an honor it is! But there is just one little catch… Newark Charter School is NOT a Title I school. To be a Title I school you have to have a certain percentage of low-income students. Newark Charter School has 7%. But the catch is because they are located in the Christina School District. The feds go by the geographic area. So while Christina has 35% low-income in that geographic area because Newark Charter is “on the map”, they qualify for this award. The feds use some ridiculous census data to determine this, with our Delaware Department of Education providing the data to them. To receive the award you have to be really good at closing those achievement gaps based on standardized testing. And guess who Delaware’s Title I State Leader is? The recently departed from the Delaware DOE diva of destruction: Penny Schwinn.
Funny how the Smarter Balanced Assessment scores don’t count for anything negative but they sure have been a boon to certain DOE ass-kissers when it comes to “Reward” and “Recognition” schools. And no one takes the ass-kissing award more than NCS! And leading that pack is their school leader: Gregory Meece. This is the guy who went insane when the Smarter Balanced scores came out and “his” school’s scores weren’t included in the article. He was ticked cause he wanted bragging rights over their great scores.
Newark Charter School has a 5 mile radius for applicants. Within that 5 mile radius is the 35% low-income student population. How the hell do you have a “random” lottery, year after year, with a huge wait list, and only wind up with 1/5th of that population? “Random” indeed… This award means about as much as the stupid “Blue Ribbon Award” as well (which NCS has also received back in 2010). Another Delaware school, Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, also in the Christina School District, was given the “Distinguished Title I” school as well. They have 20% low-income. It’s one thing for Newark Charter School to cherry-pick their way to the top, but quite another to get an award for convoluted data that makes absolutely no sense. But of course the praise will be thrown at them in this never-ending saga of charter love in Delaware.
As the parent opt out movement continues in Delaware, some of the larger school districts have not taken an official stance on the matter. At the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education meeting on March 18th, board members Adrianna Bohm gave an excellent speech on the parent opt out movement. This is a must-read!
I want to personally thank Adriana Bohm for delivering this speech. I was unable to attend, but I did hear it through Red Clay’s digital recording, and it was stirring and powerful. I heard Bohm speak at a Wilmington City Council meeting last fall in regards to the priority schools initiative, and she has a very powerful voice. I expect we will hear much more from Adriana in Delaware’s future.
Both the Capital and Christina Boards of Education have passed resolutions supporting the right for parents to opt their child out of standardized testing with no penalty to the student. Other districts have verbally stated they would support opt out, such as Colonial, but no official board decision was made.
In the meantime, if you live in Red Clay Consolidated School District, please attend their April 15th board meeting and give public comment supporting parent opt out. And don’t forget about the Parent Press Conference, covering parent opt out and education in Delaware from the parent’s perspective. This event will be outside of Legislative Hall in Dover on April 1st at 5pm. For more details, please go here:
According to a report released by The Advocacy Institute, students with IEPs had a wide gap against their non-disabled peers in the category of 1, the lowest level you can score on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. The gaps show an average of well over 30 points in English/Language Arts and Math.
The largest gaps, over 40 points, seems to occur in the 7th grade. The lowest, at 28 points is occurring in 3rd grade. The IEP students who scored a 4 on the field test averaged well below 5% of the entire IEP student population. With an average somewhere between 65-70% for all students with special education scoring at a 1 on this Common Core test, and an average for ALL students scoring at a 1 or 2 around 60%, the facts are undeniable. This test sucks.
So I will say once again: Opt Out Now! It doesn’t matter if your kid has an IEP or not, because the odds are in favor your kid will fail this test. This test he/she has been preparing for since the beginning of the school year. What a colossal waste of time and money and resources.
Steve Newton has ripped apart United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s recent editorial that appeared in the Delaware News Journal. He ripped it up, put it in a blender, burned it and then stomped on the ashes until there was nothing left of Duncan’s words but empty bluster.
Newton took all of Duncan’s statistics about education and exposed them for the propaganda tools they are. I could spoil it and put in parts here, but that would be an injustice to Steve’s great article. All I can say is anyone in the 22nd District of Delaware would be foolish to vote for anyone other than Steve Newton for State Representative in the House. To read Steve’s awesome article (and if you don’t you will be kicking yourself later when all of this corporate education crap falls apart), please go here: http://newtonfor22ndstaterep.blogspot.com/2014/10/a-reply-to-education-secretary-arne.html