The University of Delaware rendered a verdict on Common Core: We don’t care! As Delaware First State reported on Friday could happen and the The News Journal reported last night, the University of Delaware is now making SAT scores optional on applications. In other words, they don’t care what your SAT score was high school students of Delaware! What does this have to do with the Smarter Balanced Assessment? Last May, the Delaware Department of Education made a big showing about the College Board redesigning the SAT to align with Common Core standards. At the same time, high school juniors were the largest group of students opted out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. At the end of 2015, Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky made his big announcement about getting rid of Smarter Balanced for high school juniors in lieu of the SAT. And now the largest university in Delaware has said the test is now optional.
Members of the committee that came up with the idea say research at other universities – and their own research into UD students – suggests that high school grade point averages are a better predictor of college success than the SAT.
This follows 815 other colleges and universities around the country who already did the same. The message is loud and clear: our higher education institutes in America do not believe Common Core and the SAT are what makes a student “college-ready”. Of course the article doesn’t come right out and say this, but for University of Delaware to do this now, right before the new alignment comes out? Governor Markell’s education agenda failed. There are no other words to accurately describe what the University of Delaware declared with this. When I read the words “GPA” in the News Journal article my heart leaped! These are the words I have wanted to hear for years! Nobody talks about actual grades students are getting anymore. All the big decisions made rotate around the state assessment.
The Delaware 148th General Assembly needs to have someone bring legislation forward to ban the Smarter Balanced Assessment in Delaware. We can no longer sit idly by and pretend this test has been anything but a colossal failure. I believe we can now expect parents to opt their teenagers out of the SAT. Really, what is the point? Yes, the test cost money. Do we continue to spend millions of dollars on waste (I know, this is Delaware)? I know this has been on the minds of many legislators in Dover but no one has crossed the Rubicon to make it happen. I can say this, anyone envisioning a future role of higher public office could almost guarantee success by sponsoring something like this today.
While we are already transitioning to the Every Student Succeeds Act, now is the best time to reevaluate education in Delaware. This means getting rid of Common Core, high-stakes assessments, how we evaluate our teachers, funding, and how to best serve all students in the state. There are already several initiatives going on, but we need something bigger. We need to bring ALL the existing groups and gets tons of parents, teachers, and even students in on this. We need an education summit like no other. Before we were knee-deep in the current wave of education reform we did this twice: in 2001 and 2005. We need to look at everything: special education, bullying, district alignment, everything! We are at a pivotal crossroads with education, and there is a ton of room for error. Let’s bring everyone together and make something that is good and lasting for our kids.
We strike first. We don’t have to wait for a copy editor or an all-clear from the publisher. We are the copy editor. We are the publisher. You love us. You hate us. We show up at meetings when you least expect us. Some of you get nervous when you see us typing feverishly. We don’t get paid. We do it for the kids. We find you. We are opinionated and headstrong. We have allies and enemies. We know who has been naughty and nice. We are the tired. We are the alert. We don’t cut corners. We don’t aim to please. Election Season is coming. Fear Us. This is gonna be fun!
As I look at my Delaware blogger list, I see fewer posts by many on the Delaware blogs. I see very few from teachers in Delaware. I keep wondering why this is. My first assumption is they are afraid of retribution for what they write. Which is why we need Delaware teachers to write anonymous blogs. We need to hear things from their perspective, the good and the bad. What is working? What isn’t? How are students REALLY doing in the classroom? How do they do on actual classroom assignments? What are the concerns and fears teachers have? How do they feel about Common Core and Smarter Balanced now that we are waist-deep in it? This voice is dwindling in Delaware and people need to hear it.
So I am calling out for any teachers in Delaware to start anonymous blogs. I welcome all education blogs in this state. Kilroy doesn’t post as much these days, but that is for a good reason. Kavips will sometimes post 10 articles in 2 days, and then nothing. Delaware Way used to write an awesome collection of education blog stories from the past week. Transparent Christina rarely writes new material these days. Where has Steve Newton’s voice been? What happened to Minding My Matters, Fixdeldoe, and theseventhtype? I understand many of these people have real lives with things going on, but an occasional post about different viewpoints and opinions is missed. I saw many blogs start in the past year and then they disappeared.
Blogging is free and it takes time, but it is also an essential part of today’s media. Bloggers are the Wild West, able to post stories along with their opinions. The audience is there, but they need YOU! State Rep. Kim Williams is one of the busiest persons I know, but she recently started an excellent blog called Delaware First State. Christina CBOC member Brian Stephan of Those in Favor now writes for Delaware Liberal. So what say you Delaware teachers? Care to give it a whirl? Please use WordPress so I can reblog your stuff! And I would love to hear from Kent County and Sussex County teachers!
Let me get this out right off the bat, Kim Williams is awesome! And not just because we are on a lot of the same sides when it comes to education. She is the perfect legislator. She cares about her constituents. But more than that, she cares about Delaware. Her heart is in Red Clay, but she knows she belongs to Delaware. If she has pending legislation, I trust these are bills which will help ALL of Delaware, not just her neck of the woods. I’ve talked with Kim many times about the issues facing students in Delaware, and she always listens. But it isn’t just that. When she hears the same themes and problems, she takes action!
I encourage all my readers, no matter what side of the political fence you sit on, to check out Kim’s new blog, Delaware FIrst State. In her pre-legislator days, Kim ran two different blogs, centered around Red Clay. I am happy Kim is writing again as I didn’t get to see her first two go-arounds on the blogosphere. I know Kim will touch on the issues that are important to all Delawareans! Welcome back Kim! Fellow Delaware bloggers, please add Kim to your blogroll.