The DOE’s School Report Card & Accountability Scheme Wants “Community Input” For Their Predetermined Results

Melissa Froemming with the Delaware Department of Education wants community input on the School Report Card system at three different meetings, all in New Castle County. Which really helps the citizens in Kent and Sussex Counties. Thanks for that Melissa! This is all part of the agenda the DOE hatched last fall with their lame surveys. They purposely put horrible answers into the survey so their pre-selected answers would look like they were gaining feedback from parents and citizens. Then they had town hall meetings to feed the illusion of community input even more. Oldest trick in the book….

Grading schools from A to D is insanity. But what can we truly expect from the same state department that brought us Smarter Balanced, human capital, and priority schools? This latest venture is all part of the ESEA flexibility waivers. What happens when a school gets a D? Will they become a priority school based on this grade? Cause we all know how well the priority school initiative worked the last time DOE…

If you plan on going, please blast the DOE for this stupid and idiotic idea. And what’s the point of soliciting community input if you don’t have these meetings through the whole state? Just shows their lack of caring for parents, as usual….

The Delaware DOE Wanted Parent Engagement, Be Careful What You Wish For….

The Delaware DOE has been saying they want community input and parent engagement to determine accountability.  Recently they have received exactly what they were looking for.  And the majority of parents who are engaged are telling them the same thing: the path you are on is bad for our children.  As the Smarter Balanced Assessment started rolling out last month, parent opt-out started rolling its engines and left its mark on the First State.  Now the DOE and Governor Markell are scrambling to stop legislation which would codify this God-given, fundamental right.

I’m hearing crazy stories from Legislative Hall.  I’ve seen some crazy things at Legislative Hall.  Watching a Governor’s Education Policy Advisor trying to get to a legislator who everyone knew was a swing vote right before a vote would have been comical if it wasn’t so offensive.  How desperate has the Governor of Delaware become?  And yet he won’t show his face during these debates.  If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Every single thing Markell has done as a result of parent opt-out has met with firm resistance from the opt-out crowd, teachers, and even legislators.  And the sad, sad DOE…  Where do I even begin?  What happens when a State Representative with a third grader opts out?  Will they give remedial recess time?  Either they just don’t get it or they think their little “treats” will sway us.

The usual lobbyists have been in full swing down at Legislative Hall.  Rounding up Earl Jaques and giving him pointers and advice.  More like tying him up and giving him the Kool-Aid IV drip.

In the meantime, I am meeting some great and awesome people.  Folks who have never spoken out against anything before in their life are taking to the podium and talking from the heart.  It is truly an awesome thing to see.  Delaware parents are finding their voice, and they are speaking loud and saying this isn’t the best thing for my child.  They are exercising the very rights this country was built on.  Freedom from tyranny and oppression.

A year ago, the DOE were so sure of themselves and very cocky and arrogant about it.  I have to wonder what the atmosphere is like in those two buildings these days.  Is all that zeal and zest replaced by fear and more clicks to their resumes?  If I were working there, I would be updating my resume fast!  I can picture them going to meetings and saying “let’s try this, maybe this will stop it.”  They just don’t understand, and at this point I’m beginning to doubt they will.  Even as the bricks and mortar of their corporate education reform movement fall around them, they will still be talking about rigor, assess and data.

And the legislators, God bless them.  They are starting to realize “these parents are making a lot of noise, we better listen.”  Some of them were already, and they have been fighting the good fight for all of us.  And we have the Delaware PTA and the DSEA on our side as well.  When all is said and done, the Race will be over, and hopefully our children will emerge out of this era wanting to learn.  I can’t wait for that day, and it can’t come soon enough.  Because they are holding the DOE accountable.

Governor Markell Letter Praises Wilmington Education Advisory Committee Recommendations

On February 11th, Delaware Governor Jack Markell wrote a letter praising the efforts put forth by the members of the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee.

 

Will Red Clay Throw Their Priority School Teachers Under The Bus?

 

In reading Matthew Albright’s News Journal article on the Priority Schools from Thanksgiving, it’s very clear there are some “read between the lines” parts of the article.  The most glaring is the parts by Deputy Superintendent Hugh Broomall:

“We’ve been able to work collaboratively with the Department of Education and our school communities to come up with a plan that we think is in the best interest of these schools and their students,” Deputy Superintendent Hugh Broomall said.

This sounds good, right?  The key words are “school communities”.  This does not show the overall community.  Part of the whole reason for needing more time was to work with the overall community.  Something Christina School District has done.  But Albright goes on to say this:

Broomall encouraged anyone in the affected schools’ communities to read the plan and reach out to the district if they have concerns.

So Red Clay is going to write their plan without any input from parents and members of the community?  This sounds absurd!  It tells me they are going to comply with the Delaware DOE as much as humanly possible.  I think Markell would relax a bit on the $160,000 requirement for a school leader but I highly doubt he is going to allow these schools to keep their complete staff.  It is my opinion that unless these schools comply with the original Memorandum of Understanding, Markell is going to take all six schools as soon as possible after December 31st.

If I were a teacher at any single one of these priority schools, especially in Red Clay, I would be very worried.  I have to believe Red Clay Educators Association President Mike Matthews would absolutely refuse to sign onto anything that would involve teachers losing their jobs or even reapplying for their jobs.  But are Markell’s demands, based on Federal ESEA regulations, a union-busting move?  Markell, despite what I think of him, is a very shrewd and calculating man.  I doubt he would go into this without thinking he has all his bases covered.  Adding to that notion is something else Albright wrote based on Broomall’s words:

Broomall said the district needs to iron out an agreement with the union that would determine what happens if a teacher wants to stay at one of the Priority Schools but the school leader or district doesn’t think they would be a good fit.

No matter what Red Clay decides, it sounds like authority would be given primarily to the school leader.  Depending on who this leader is, if they are like most of the DOE “leaders”, it will be someone from the charter school industry or the fast-track teacher companies the DOE is obsessed with these days.  If Red Clay’s agreement agrees to cede all the power to this school leader, it will be very harmful to the existing teachers.

We will find out in the next month what the fates of these schools might be.  I sincerely hope something happens in the meantime that prevents any action Markell may take.  Mike Matthews did a public FOIA request for any email containing the names of the priority schools, turnaround school, parternership zone school, and more a couple weeks ago at the DOE State Board of Education meeting.  He received a response from the DOE indicating an overwhelming amount of money to comply, with a $300 start-up fee.  Matthews is looking at another source to help cover funding for this.

Should the DOE, Markell, and Murphy take all six priority schools AND Gateway Lab School, expect a public outcry like this administration has never seen.  Other school districts in the state will be even more untrusting of this cabal of terror.  Parents will know without any doubt no school is safe, and it is all a power grab.

Delaware DOE Town Hall Meeting Live Blogging Now @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de RCEAPrez @Apl_Jax @Badass TeachersA #netde #eduDE #Delaware

Only 11 people here!  What a turnout!  DOE looking for 25 people to expand efforts to get people to take survey.  They need more input from the community.  I’ve never seen these people from the DOE before.

Giving explanation about ESEA waiver renewals and new guidelines.  They are asking the public for input and only two items are set in stone.  They are 1) setting up the new accountability system for the state and 2) standardized assessment guidelines are what they are.  There will be stakeholder meetings during January.

Members of the public can go to the new DOE website and go under “New Accountability System” tab to find out more information.

I’m pondering whether or not to slam the DOE during their q&a portion of this kool-aid fest.  Greg Mazotta from Kilroys advising DOE about the Baldridge program recipients.  Another member of the public is asking about how low test scores can still generate high graduation rates.  He doesn’t realize he is talking about standardized testing scores.  Same man is saying in three years we will be having the exact same conversation.

Another parent asking how IEPs will fit into this school accountability system.  Asking how IEP and IDEA laws will conform with this.  DOE rep said that’s what this town hall is for to bring these issues up and work it out.

Previous member of public talking about social graduation rates again.  He is asking how students can get all F’s and still go to the next grade?  DOE rep said she talked to him in hall and that is local school district issue.

Teacher talking about how if a student does F work they don’t pass the class.  He stated problems working with regular students and students with IEPs.  He claimed it’s a double-edged sword, you help the regular students the IEP students suffer and vice versa.

I gave public comment based on standardized testing and corporate education reform.  I advised the DOE no matter how you present this, it’s not about students, teachers or parents.  It’s about making money off these individuals.  If Secretary of Education Murphy is basing school accountability on Smarter Balanced scores, and he expects 70% of schools to fail, how does that work?

Gentleman from DOE stated that is only one portion of the accountability framework.  I asked how many educators are on this group?  DOE rep said all of them.  Someone asked where all the Race To The Top money.  I said Rodel!  (They didn’t get all of it, but way too much in my opinion).

Parent asked why school districts aren’t giving parents this information?  Someone else said cause they don’t want to.  DOE Rep said he was giving flyers for survey to trick or treaters who came to his house on Halloween.  Really?  You’ve got to be kidding me.  How desperate are you?  Give the kids candy!

I advised the DOE reps using standardized testing scores only benefits what you do with that data.  I gave the very recent example of the Priority Schools in Wilmington as evidence of this.  Using testing data the state doesn’t even want anymore to take six schools within a mile radius of the empty Bank of America building designed for charter schools.  I advised they aren’t fooling anyone and parents are wising up to them.

What a train wreck that meeting was!  And yet the DOE doesn’t want to discuss the impact Common Core is having on students and teachers and parents.  I asked if only 1/2 of standardized testing is being included in these school accountability ratings, why is it used as the primary measurement for teacher effectiveness in DPAS II.  The DOE rep said that’s a separate group.  Well excuse me DOE, maybe you have too many damn groups conflicting with each other.

The reason school districts don’t want to promote the DOE’s monkey survey is because the DOE has screwed over teachers far too much the past few years.  Why would any school district give the DOE more ammo?  They would be out of their minds to promote this nonsense.  I advised the DOE reps tonight that this is ALL about standardized testing.  I told them “If Johnny comes home failing the Smarter Balanced Assessment, who is the parent going to blame?  The school and the teachers.  Not the fact that it’s a bad test.”

I did ask the DOE rep how many surveys he got back from his Halloween adventure, and he said he gave them to parents but he didn’t “mark” them so he doesn’t know.  The reason school districts don’t care about this stuff is because they know it’s all about making them look bad over stuff the state initiates.  It’s about making parents sick of school buildings so Markell and Rodel and 2Revolutions can push their agenda of kids attending school on their laptop from home and their personalized learning nonsense.  Enough DOE!  You will all be gone in a couple years, and like others said tonight, we will be having the same conversation under a new administration.

I can’t believe you pushed the IEP Task Force out of the room they have used for their past four meetings, opened the partitions between the two rooms, caused technical issues that delayed the start of the task force, double billed two important education events on one night, to have 11 people show up for it.  And two of them were reporters and another was a wife of a DOE employee and her son.  So you had 7 people from the outside public show up including 2 who drifted over from the IEP Task Force meeting.  Bravo!  Job well done!

Another parent (also a teacher) asked if anyone on this group is still teaching.  None of them are.  They all have their cushy jobs at the DOE and don’t care about the impact in the classroom the DOE is causing.  Who wants to have a DOE Accountability Town Hall meeting?