Christina Falls For The Trap Set By Governor Carney, Secretary Bunting, and the Delaware DOE

It was just announced on the State of Delaware website that the Christina School District in conjunction with the Christina Education Association plan on working with Governor Carney’s Office and the Delaware Dept. of Education on a Memorandum of Understanding to improve the educational “success” for Christina’s Wilmington students.  In other words, they swallowed the bait and Carney is reeling them in.  There is no Christina Board of Education seal of approval on this letter of intent, but it does state the Christina board would vote on this MOU.  It appears Carney is rushing into this without a care in the world and he is bringing all the key players with him.  But let’s not forget, this is just another way to corporatize education at students’ expense.  This is priority schools under a new spin.  There is inherent danger here folks.  You play with the devil, you get burnt, plain and simple.  Notice this is only the Christina Wilmington students.  Nothing about the Red Clay or the many charter school students whatsoever.  This is not a Wilmington Schools Partnership.  This is a trap.  Jack Markell must be proud of this development.  Mark Murphy is probably going “Why didn’t I think of that?”

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney, Christina School District Superintendent Richard Gregg, and Christina Education Association President Darren Tyson announced on Thursday that they have signed a joint letter of intent to work together and develop a partnership with the goal of improving educational opportunities in the City of Wilmington.

The partnership will address the long-term success for the 1,640 Christina students in preschool through grade 8 who reside in Wilmington and attend the district’s four city elementary schools and one middle school. These schools are Bancroft Elementary School, Elbert-Palmer Elementary School, Pulaski Elementary School, Stubbs Elementary School, and Bayard Middle School.

Christina School District will work with staff from the Governor’s office, the Delaware Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, and the Christina Education Association to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) this calendar year and submit the MOU for approval by the Christina Board of Education.

The MOU will define the roles and commitments of each party in crafting a system designed to create great public schools for every Christina student in the City of Wilmington. Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education, and Dorrell Green, Director of the Office of Innovation and Improvement, also signed the joint letter of intent.

“It’s always been clear to me that as goes the City of Wilmington, so goes our state. And improving our city starts with improving our schools,” said Governor Carney. “We are committed to working in partnership with the Christina School District, the Christina Board of Education, the Christina Education Association, families, educators, and community members, to improve outcomes for students in Christina’s city schools. We have a responsibility to do better by these students, and I look forward to getting to work.”

“The Christina School District is committed to exploring every option available to improving achievement for its students,” said Richard Gregg, Superintendent of the Christina School District. “We are willing to enter into this partnership to explore the development of an MOU that clearly outlines the commitments that will be made by all involved. The Christina Board has been clear that any agreement that is developed must focus on what is best for our students, and we will work with the Department of Education and the Governor’s Office toward this goal in good faith.”

“We welcome the Governor’s initiative to partner in service to our Wilmington students,” said George Evans, President of the Christina School District Board of Education. “We need to create and maximize new pathways to excellence and equity within our Wilmington schools.”

“CEA and its members look forward to entering into this partnership and working together to create an MOU that best serves and supports the Christina students in Wilmington,” said Darren Tyson, President of the Christina Education Association.

Read the full letter of intent here. (or you can read it below without even leaving this blog!)

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Governor Carney will join Superintendent Richard Gregg and CEA President Darren Tyson at two Wilmington town hall meetings to discuss the partnership between the State of Delaware and the Christina School District:

Town Hall Meeting on Wilmington Schools Partnership

This event is open to the press.

WHAT: Governor John Carney will join Christina Superintendent Richard Gregg, Office of Innovation and Improvement Director Dorrell Green, the Christina Education Association, members of the Christina School Board, and community organizations to discuss the partnership, and ideas for improving Wilmington schools, with families and educators in Wilmington. Governor Carney, Superintendent Gregg and others will take questions.

WHO:          Governor John Carney

Richard Gregg, Superintendent, Christina School District

Members of the Christina School Board of Education

Darren Tyson, President, Christina Education Association

Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary, Delaware Department of Education

Dorrell Green, Director, Office of Innovation and Improvement, Delaware Department of Education

WHEN:       Wednesday, October 18, 2017

6:30 p.m.

WHERE:    Bancroft Elementary School

700 N. Lombard Street, Wilmington, DE 19801

 

Town Hall Meeting on Wilmington Schools Partnership

This event is open to the press.

WHAT:        Governor John Carney will join Christina Superintendent Richard Gregg, Office of Innovation and Improvement Director Dorrell Green, the Christina Education Association, members of the Christina School Board, and community organizations to discuss the partnership, and ideas for improving Wilmington schools, with families and educators in Wilmington. Governor Carney, Superintendent Gregg and others will take questions.

WHO:          Governor John Carney

Richard Gregg, Superintendent, Christina School District

Members of the Christina School Board of Education

Darren Tyson, President, Christina Education Association

Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary, Delaware Department of Education

Dorrell Green, Director, Office of Innovation and Improvement, Delaware Department of Education

WHEN:       Wednesday, October 25, 2017

6:30 p.m.

WHERE:     Bayard Middle School

200 S. DuPont Street, Wilmington, DE 19805

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How Can A Teacher Measure Goals For A Student When The DOE Hasn’t Provided The Actual Goals?

A Delaware teacher in the Red Clay Consolidated School District asked the Delaware Dept. of Education for the growth goals for Group 1 educators, which would be English/Language Arts and Math teachers.  Not an unreasonable question given that we are already a month into school.  It would be a pretty neat idea to have teachers measure goals based on the goals the DOE provides them.  Especially since this is a major part of their evaluation each year.  But in the below email exchange between Red Clay Teacher Steve Fackenthall and DOE Teacher/Leader Effectiveness Unit employees Laura Schneider and Jon Neubauer, something comes out.

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doegoals3

 

 

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I apologize for the squinty eyes some of you may have experienced looking at the pictures of these emails. I tried to make them bigger, but c’est la vie! But notice how the teacher had very specific concerns about the targets and the response from Schneider at the DOE? As a married man, if my wife came to me with a concern and I said “thanks for sharing”, she wouldn’t take it too well.  I know if my boss addressed something with me at work and I said “thanks for sharing” and walked away, that would NOT be good for me. So why is it that the DOE feels they can talk to teachers like that? I give the DOE a hard time…a lot. But it is this kind of exchange which lends that feeling of a lack of communication a great deal of credibility.  I understand the DOE is busy and they have a clear mandate for what their duties are.  But a bit of empathy and compassion goes a long way.

I know John Carney (should he be elected as Governor) wants to make the DOE less a compliance factory and more of a valued resource for educators.  If I were a DOE employee and I read the teacher’s concern, knowing Carney is probably going to be our next Governor (based on what others have written), I might think twice of giving a “thanks for sharing” response.  Something to the effect of “that is a valid concern.  Maybe we should talk about that” or “can you go into more detail?” would go a loooong way towards mending old wounds teachers feel.

Many teachers feel that the DOE gives off a superior attitude to teachers.  It shouldn’t be like that.  It should be a collaborative relationship.  The very nature of the teacher’s email shouldn’t even be a reality.  Those goals should be sent out before school starts so teachers can start preparing.  Targets are one thing, but actual student’s goals shouldn’t wait until over halfway into a marking period or well into a trimester (which some districts and charters have).  This is the number one complaint I hear about the Delaware DOE.  And I think the lack of transparency is connected to that attitude.  It gives off a vibe of “we will release information when we want to do it, not when YOU want it”.

I have seen many emails from the DOE that came from FOIA requests.  I have seen them totally dog teachers between each other.  I’ve seen a dismissive attitude when teachers or other district staff reach out to them for help.

The DOE is filled with a lot of caring and wonderful people who care about kids.  But the leaders and higher-ups need to look at the perception people have of them.  If not, we can expect more of the same no matter what John Carney or the next Governor plan.  I understand the DOE isn’t going to please everyone all the time.  They get their marching orders from the big boss (and it is not the Secretary no matter what you think).  This same thing does take place in some charters and districts.  Just because you have a loftier position does not mean you are better.  It means you have an opportunity to provide more answers and deal with employees and constituents (whether they are parents, teachers, anyone really) on an equal level.  You might get a bigger paycheck but it should always be about the end goal: helping kids.  And upsetting and frustrating teachers is not the way to go.  They are the front line in education.  I get that politics play a big part, but be human!  I’m sure this sounds hypocritical coming from me, but when I react it isn’t always pretty.  I get upset when I see this kind of thing.  I could have easily written a title like “DOE doesn’t give a crap about teachers” but it has become more than obvious that there is a severe disconnect happening in Delaware education.  This isn’t anything new.  But how can we set a new course if the old matters aren’t addressed or pointed out?  Sitting at the table and hashing it out is good if there is less baggage to deal with.  That baggage needs to be dealt with.

 

Delaware PTA slams Governor Markell and Delaware DOE over their latest harebrained scheme!

I am loving the Delaware PTA this year!  After Governor Markell and the Delaware DOE announced their little “we’re scared of opt-out so why not brainwash more parents into thinking their kids won’t have to take remedial classes in college” scheme, many stakeholders were not happy.  Including the Delaware PTA who has been very vocal in support of parent opt-out.  They are fast-learning that there is no collaboration in Markell’s nation!

Delaware PTA’s Response to Press Release on SBAC and DE Higher Ed Institutions 

In a statement made today by Governor Markell, Delaware PTA learned that the four colleges; Wilmington University, University of Delaware, Delaware Technical and Community College and Delaware State University have all agreed that the outcomes of the 11th grade Smarter Balanced Assessments is a good indicator of college readiness. In addition, these institutions have all agreed to accept the assessment in lieu of other placement exams.

At a time when there is so much turbulence in our public education system, we are disheartened to learn that the conversations that proceeded this major conclusion did not include input from any of our major stakeholders. The Delaware Department of Education and the Governor’s office have publicly committed to greater transparency and collaboration with the broader community, yet Delaware PTA, the Delaware State Education Association, state legislators and other community stakeholders were not only excluded from these conversations, but we only learned of this decision a few hours prior to the public announcement.

We believe the lack of a collaborative process has resulted in misguided decisions regarding the efficacy of the Smarter Balanced Assessments, further misleading parents and students.

While Delaware PTA supports the use of assessments with a growth model that will effectively and adequately measure student growth and college and career readiness, we stand by our previous statements, citing the following concerns with the Smarter Balanced Assessments:

1. In its current form, the SBAC does not provide a true growth model;

2. In its current form, the SBAC is overly subjective and not an accurate assessment of student knowledge, skills and abilities;

3. Our educators have not had sufficient time to teach and our students have not had sufficient time to learn;

4. In its current form, the SBAC does not provide parents or teachers with the individual diagnostic data necessary to work together to support student success.

Although we believe that this most recent development is a knee jerk reaction to HB 50 on the Parent Opt Out, Delaware PTA remains fully committed to engaging in collaborative and transparent discussions on developing a state assessment that provides meaningful data for parents, students and teachers.

Decisions made in a vacuum often lead to outcomes that are misaligned and unsuccessful. Delaware parents, students and teachers deserve better. 

Dr. Terri L Hodges, State President 

Yvonne Johnson, VP of Advocacy

Part 3 of Christmas Presents for the Enemies of Delaware Public Education @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @RCEAPrez @Apl_Jax @ecpaige @Roof_O @DelawareBats #netde #eduDE #Delaware #edchat

touchette

First up is a man who is not known outside of the education world in Delaware.  But he will have a huge effect on the education landscape starting in March.  He is the spearhead of the Smarter Balanced Assessment at the Delaware DOE.  He is also a data freak.  Brian Touchette, we have found a more effective way for you to play with data.

datatoy

This is data you can play with anytime you want.  It can’t be used to close schools or judge teachers and students.  You can play with Data 24 hours a day, all week long.  But please, stop using our children as data.  They have individual minds.

ruszkowski

Next up is our surfer dude at the DOE.  As chief of the teacher effectiveness group, Chris Ruszkowski is tasked with finding ways to make teachers less effective by drowning them in professional development and more nefarious ways to make them look bad.  His plans didn’t work out too well in 2014 as 99% of teachers in Delaware were effective or better.  We know there is a contract bid for an evaluation of the system your group helped to create, but might we suggest something that has worked through the years?

ruskowskipresent

For your Christmas present, we thought you could benefit from a group skydiving gift certificate.  The key word here is group, as it takes a collaborative effort with all stakeholders to get results.  Demeaning and ridiculing our educators is NOT effective, and the only way you will ever get their respect is through something we like to call teamwork!

visionnetwork

For the group that can’t seem to figure out what year their conquest of Delaware schools will happen, we have a simple Christmas gift for you.  Like Mr. Touchette above, this is a vision you can play with anytime you like.  We just don’t want you sharing your vision with our state moving forward.  Your plan reeks with the stench of corporate education reform, and we grow tired of it.

This is Vision.  He’s an Avenger.  This will be his year, because he will be in the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron movie.  The Vision is a soulless android who can become intangible.  Kind of like your vision for education in Delaware.

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Mike Matthews Email To Mark Murphy re: Accountability Waiver Meetings & How To Piss Off 12,000 People @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @Apl_Jax @dwablog @ecpaige @nannyfat #netde #eduDE #prioritizethat

 

Wow!  I would have assumed the press release from the Delaware Department of Education about the town hall meetings scheduled for the first three Wednesdays in November would have gone out to anyone with an email that ends in k12.de.us.  Apparently this was NOT the case, and many teachers are very fired up.   Mike Matthews, the President of the Red Clay Educators Association, shot an email to Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy tonight about this very topic.  Mike posted the email in the comments on my article from earlier today about these meetings, but I felt it deserved a post all its own.  It highlights the severe frustration teachers are having with the DOE.

It’s a very terrifying thought that my little blog is becoming a traditional news media outlet Mr. Matthews!  I wish the DOE would be more forthcoming with news like this as well.

Sec. Murphy:

I received word of a planned series of three public meetings regarding school accountability tonight. I did not receive word via an email or any traditional news media outlet. I read about it on the Exceptional Delaware blog (link at end of email.) I have concerns that these meetings 1) Are announced just a week before the first meeting, 2) Were not more widely broadcast, at the very least to the nearly 12,000 educators, administrators and key stakeholders on the State email server, and 3) Are being held on two evenings when other key education meetings are being held, namely the compensation work group on November 5 and the IEP Task Force and Wilmington Council meeting on Priority Schools on November 12.

In my District, our teachers are having a tough time understanding the rationale behind much of what DoE has been doing these past few years. It’s moves like this that make it seem like DoE is truly not interested in being a collaborative partner with the individuals in our schools working with our students every day. I’m disappointed that whoever does the scheduling at DoE didn’t notice the “double-booking” on these days and attempt to find an alternate date.

As president of a local association representing more than 1200 teachers, I’m asking you and your department to PLEASE TRY HARDER. These meetings should not be scheduled on dates when other department/education events are being held.

I have members emailing me and coming up to me all the time saying “Why doesn’t DoE ‘get it?’” I’m afraid it’s business like this that has continued to sour teachers on the work the Department does, no matter how critical that work is.

I will be sharing the press release from the blog with my 1200 members. I will also urge them to complete the survey. I provide to my membership my interpretation and opinion of one of the questions on the survey asking for feedback on how schools should be identified. I call this the “Stoplight question.” I will urge them to copy me on the free-form comments they submit. I want to make sure the Department includes all answers from the survey in any reports made public at these meetings.

In the future, I would respectfully ask that you please consider never double-booking meetings on nights when something is already planned. As someone interested in both meetings on November 5, I don’t believe this is a choice I or my interested members should have to make.

Thank you,

Mike

https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/delaware-doe-wants-public-input-on-new-accountability-waivers-lets-give-it-to-them-kilroysdelaware-ed_in_de-dwablog-ecpaige-apl_jax-nannyfat-tnj_malbright-delawarebats-netde-edude/