Live From Delaware State Board of Education Meeting: Charter School Decisions

State Board of Education in Delaware is now going over Charter School renewals.  Seven charters are up for renewal this year.  Jennifer Nagourney, director of DE Charter School Office giving introduction.  Talking about the purpose of Delaware Charter School Accountability Committee.

The order of renewals will be as follows: DE Academy of Public Safety & Security, Eastside Charter, Family Foundations Academy, Gateway Lab School, Las Americas Aspiras, Odyssey Charter School, and Reach Academy For Girls.

First up: Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security.  Recommendation of CSAC: approve with conditions, Murphy: renewal, State Board: Passed 7-0, but President Dr. Gray said yes with reservations.

Eastside Charter School.  Recommendation of CSAC: approve, Murphy: renew, along w/modification to give applicants withing a 5 mile radius of the school preference over those outside of the zone, State Board: renewed.

Family Foundations Academy (this should be good!).  Recommendation of CSAC: approve w/conditions: all board members must get board training, must resolve all compliance issues by end of February 2015, Murphy: Department has received 200 page report regarding gross financial misconduct, Board of FFA asking for 60 day waiver to determine renewal to review, State Board: Heffernan, very disappointed report coming in at the 11th hour, Blowman w/DOE stated 60 days brings them till January 5th, 60 days after CSAC recommendation, Heffernan: Choice can be extended to districts due to good cause, Johnson: asked about lottery dates, said March 20th is date parents need to let charter schools know if accept or not, Heff: trying to make the best of a bad situation, Nagourney: DOE just got forensic audit from Auphsite last Tuesday and immediately had questions, new audit called into question audit by Auphsite, Dr. Gray: not doing anything right now, will take time to investigate and lots of questions that need answers.

Gateway Lab School. CSAC Recommendation: do not renew.  Murphy: We received many public comments during process.  CSAC’s preliminary report and subsequent report bound to use framework process, would be inapproiate to decline renewal but academic framework gives pause for concern, will not accept CSAC’s recommendation w/condition- must meet standards by end of 2015-2016 school year, if doesn’t will put on formal review, Board: going over academic framework and how to compare Gateway students to other schools, (sorry for the delay folks, I know you want to know, me too!), Board member Patrick Heffernan messing this up, basically saying school hasn’t been efficient and proficient, Dr. Gray doesn’t necessarily agree with him, went over something called a DASL report in relation to other schools, Gateway not rated as high, Coverdale brought up comparison metrics, Heff questioning why final recommendation for Gateway says revocation but other ones say formal review, Murphy going over his recommendation again, said will seek revocation through formal review, Board Vote: Gateway renewed, vote count 4 yes, 3 no.

Updated: sorry, had to rush out due to an issue, but here’s how the others went down:

Las Americas Aspiras: renewed

Odyssey: renewed

Reach Academy for Girls: not renewed, will close at the end of  this school year.

Delaware Race To The Top, Hedge Funds & Millions Wasted: The Story of Rodel, Markell, Charters & The Vision Network

Dr. Paul Herdman  and Governor Markell have a long history in Delaware in the 21st Century.  Their collaborations have resulted in the biggest changes to education the state has seen in decades.  Name any education change since Markell became Governor, and Rodel’s been a part of it.  And they are making a lot of money off these changes!

As part of my blog, I find out information about education in our state, and recently Rodel had their latest Vision conference where they focused on personalized learning, with a whole education reform agenda yet to be revealed to the mass public, sponsored by a company called 2Revolutions.  Rodel has a long history in the world of corporate education reform.  But what if I told you they aren’t doing it for the love of education and students, but pure profit? Continue reading

Mark Murphy & Governor Markell Targeting Gateway & Reach! Making Room For Priority Charters?

In a shocking article yesterday, Kilroy’s Delaware announced the Delaware Department of Education and Secretary of Education Mark Murphy were targeting Gateway Lab School and Reach Academy For Girls.  Both these schools have struggled for many years with reaching the proficiency ratings from standardized testing.  My thoughts and predictions on this are below the DOE announcement from yesterday:

CHARTER SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY COMMITTEE ISSUES RECOMMENDATIONS ON REACH ACADEMY, GATEWAY LAB’S FUTURES

Secretary Murphy to make decision at December 18 State Board of Education meeting following public comment period

The Delaware Department of Education’s Charter School Accountability Committee today recommended not to renew Reach Academy and Gateway Lab School’s charters at the end of this academic year because of poor academic performance at both schools.

A public hearing is scheduled for December 10 in Wilmington with public comment accepted through that date as well. After reviewing the record, including public hearing transcripts, public comment and the CSAC recommendations, Secretary of Education Mark Murphy will make his decision regarding the schools’ futures at the December 18 State Board of Education meeting.

Should the Secretary and the State Board accept the committee’s recommendations and decide not to renew the charters, the state will assist families in finding other schools for the next academic year. The children may return to the district schools in their home feeder patterns or fill out the state’s School Choice application for another district or charter school. The application deadline is January 14, 2015.

Reach Renewal Information/Timeline
· Renewal report (April 2014)
· Academic Performance Review (September 9, 2014)
· Organizational Performance Review (October 1, 2014)
· Financial Performance Review (October 1, 2014)
· Renewal application (September 30, 2014)
· Public hearing transcript (October 8, 2014)
· Initial CSAC meeting (October 15, 2014)
· CSAC initial report issued (October 22, 2014)
· School response (November 7, 2014)
· Final CSAC meeting (November 17, 2014)
· Final CSAC report issued (November 24, 2014)

· Public hearing and close of public comment period (6 p.m., December 10, 2014, 2nd floor auditorium, Carvel State Office Building, 820 N. French St., Wilmington)

· Decision by Secretary Murphy at State Board of Education meeting (1 p.m., December 18, 2014, Cabinet Room, Townsend Building, 401 Federal St., Dover)

Gateway Renewal Information/Timeline
· Renewal report (April 2014)
· Academic Performance Review (September 9, 2014)
· Organizational Performance Review (October 1, 2014)
· Financial Performance Review (October 1, 2014)
· Renewal application (September 30, 2014)
· Public hearing transcript (October 8, 2014)
· Initial CSAC meeting (October 14, 2014)
· CSAC initial report issued (October 22, 2014)
· School response (November 7, 2014)
· Final CSAC meeting (November 17, 2014)
· Final CSAC report issued (November 24, 2014)

· Public hearing and close of public comment period (6 p.m., December 10, 2014, 2nd floor auditorium, Carvel State Office Building, 820 N. French St., Wilmington)

· Decision by Secretary Murphy at State Board of Education meeting (1 p.m., December 18, 2014, Cabinet Room, Townsend Building, 401 Federal St., Dover)

In other recommendations, the committee supported renewal of the following charter schools: Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security, EastSide Charter School, Family Foundations Academy, Las Américas ASPIRA Academy and Odyssey Charter School.

According to last year’s September 30th Unit Count report, Gateway Lab School is home to almost 60% special education students.  Out of that population of 122 students, nearly 28% were listed as in intensive or complex categories.  It is very easy to see why this many students with disabilities would struggle with standardized testing, something the DOE, Murphy and Markell seem to ignore.  Rigor and special needs don’t mix well, never have, never will.  But the DOE, in its continued arrogance, seems to think these students will just magically rise to the occasion.

The timing is also very suspicious for this announcement.  A month and a half before the Christina and Red Clay Districts have to announce their intentions with the priority schools and the already soon-to-be-closed Moyer charter school was given the hangman’s noose, two other charters seem to be given a death sentence as well.  This is a lot of realignment in one county.  Reach has been a thorn in the DOE’s side for years, but Gateway is different.  Closing Gateway would send a crystal clear message to the special needs community that no one is safe from scrutiny in Delaware.  I’ve commented before about the very high population of special needs children in the priority schools, and now this.  It would not be surprising if a very huge charter school housing special needs children in Newcastle County became a reality.  There has already been a Facebook announcement of a planned charter school of this type for Kent County, in addition to Positive Outcomes.

The DOE is shifting the landscape to further their own agenda.  So far, nothing has been able to stop them in their endless quest to harm public education in Delaware.  No task force, union, PTA, or other groups have stopped them in anything since Governor Markell began his authoritarian reign.  They are making all their decisions based on DCAS scores which no longer mean anything since that is not the state assessment anymore.  Furthermore, many students at Gateway would most likely qualify for the DCAS-Alt assessment.  The DOE could care less because to think otherwise would show a level playing field.  If Rodel and Markell say to do it, they jump.  And yet, Delaware College Prep gets a pass even though they have not met proficiency in four years.  Yes, their charter is not up for renewal, but they must please someone in the DOE and the Governor’s office.  This just proves the DOE will use data and manipulate it when it suits their needs.

I anticipate the parents at Gateway will cause a huge ruckus over this announcement.  This needs to be a warning sign to EVERY special needs parent in Delaware that has children in our public schools.  The DOE does not care about disabilities.  They do not care about anything that could affect your child.  It’s all about serving their masters and corporate profit at student’s expense.  They are moving so fast with decisions, the public can’t digest yesterday’s announcement when another one comes.  This throws everyone off track and stops the negative chatter because nobody can keep up with it all.

I will say this once more: We need to make a stand against Governor Markell and the DOE.  We need to do this now.  If you are in agreement, let’s start planning now.  We will only get one chance before things change so much we will be helpless to stop it.  Yes, I can be very argumentative about these things, but how often have I been wrong since I started this blog?  Come January 1st, I predict Markell will announce the priority schools will become charter schools, effective August 2015.  The student populations that don’t go to the feeder schools of the six priority schools, Gateway, Moyer and Reach will all transfer to the new charter school chain in the CEB Tower in downtown Wilmington.  If they do not make a new special needs charter school in this building, these students will go to their feeder schools where the DOE will use the data from Smarter Balanced to judge those schools as failures.  Eventually, they will replace every single school with charter schools while Rodel, the Vision Network, the DuPonts, Delaware Community Foundation, Governor Markell, select members of the DOE, many legislators, and the millionaires of Delaware become VERY rich, more than they already might be.

Breaking News: The Future Of Education In Delaware and America and Why Common Core & Standardized Testing Are Only The First Part @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @Apl_Jax @nannyfat @DianeRavitch @BadassTeachersA #netde #eduDE #edchat #Delaware

The citizens of America can now see where education is heading in many states.  After seeing all the tweets coming out of the Rodel sponsored Vision ED25 Conference today, I did some research on this personalized learning they were talking about. Welcome to the world of 2Revolutions. As seen on their website, this is their mission statement:

2Rev is a national education design lab that designs and launches Future of Learning models and helps catalyze the conditions within which they can thrive. We partner with forward-thinking governments, funders, nonprofits and entrepreneurs to innovate across the birth-to-26 Human Capital Continuum. If you are involved – or want to become involved – in building the Future of Learning, we hope you’ll reach out. Please visit us at www.2revolutions.net.

So who are they partnered with? Only the following: Council of Chief State School Officers, Apple, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Charter School Growth Fund, Cisco, Ford Foundation, Frameworks Institute, FutureLab, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, IBM, Ideas Lab, Immersive Education Initiative, iNACOL, Innosight Institute, Intel, KnowledgeWorks, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Microsoft, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, NewSchools Venture Fund, Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Stupski Foundation.

Bryan Setser, one of the lead partners of 2Revolutions, gave his presentation to stakeholders today at the ED25 event at the University of Delaware.  This is not his first rodeo in terms of brainwashing an oblivious public to the master plan.  In fact, Setser and the other partner behind 2Revolutions met with Rodel in March of this year, and this came out of it: http://www.rodelfoundationde.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/2REV_V2015_Unthink-School-to-Rethink-Learning_3-13-14vPublic3.pdf

This is the future of education, a complete and utter takeover by corporations, which will eventually end schools as we know them and students will learn in a virtual environment at home on a computer. Social interaction will be eliminated. Extra-curricular activities will become a thing of the past. Special needs students will not be tied to a curriculum they can’t keep up with. Everything will be at the speed of the student, and their own motivation for how fast or slow they want to go.

This is what Common Core and standardized testing has been all along, a game of data which will be used to create this new method of learning. The longitudinal data plans have already created a huge warehouse of information on students. All the major technology players are already on board. If you look at 2Revolution’s website, the entire plan is right in front of you.

For example, a subset of industry organizations – including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Stupski Foundation – appear to be coalescing around the need for students to:

• Master core academic content;

• Think critically and solve complex problems;

• Work collaboratively;

• Communicate effectively; and

• Learn how to learn.

In addition, a global research collaborative spearheaded by Intel, Cisco and Microsoft – Assessment & Teaching of 21st Century Skills (AT21CS), which includes participation from 60 of the world’s top education research institutions and over 250 researchers, practitioners and industry leaders – has captured similar priorities with different language. AT21CS advocates that students must develop:

Ways of thinking: creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and learning;

Ways of working: communication and collaboration;

Tools for working: information and communications technology (ICT) and information literacy; and

Skills for living in the world: citizenship, life and career, and personal and social responsibility.

The very first thing they have to do in order for this to be implemented is to break up the teachers unions. We can see this happening across the country as public school district teachers are attacked on many fronts. At the same time, they are doing the following:

» Alignment to national and state standards (i.e., Common Core);

» Depth and choice in scope and sequence (e.g., ability to customize for individual learners as opposed to forcing all students down the same pathway);

» Student-centered/engaging;

» Performance-based learning opportunities;

» World-relevant content and context;

» Content appropriateness;

» Platform agnostic/technology interoperability; and

» Value, cost-effectiveness and flexible pricing

which will lead to:

» Strategies to leverage traditional assessments where appropriate;

» Ability to integrate embedded, “inside the activity” assessments that gauge proficiency within learning activities;

» Strategies to assess deep conceptual learning (e.g., demonstrations of understanding);

» Developing appropriate assessments for project-based learning modalities (e.g., performance assessments);

» “Stealth” assessments (e.g., learner analytics from keystroke data that capture learner tendencies);

» Third-party validation of micro-formative assessments to confirm content and skill mastery in a digital context; and

» Desire for new tools or platforms that enable schools to aggregate assessment data from across multiple learning modalities and activities.

So what happens to the educators of America’s children? Their role will be completely redefined:

» Clarity on the range of new job configurations in this emerging field (e.g., certified versus uncertified; full- versus part-time; “teacher” versus “coach,” “guide,” “facilitator,” “concierge,” or other);

» A matrix delineating new roles, responsibilities and relationships among educators;

» A deeper understanding of the economics and cost implications of educator roles;

» Competencies against which these educator roles can be recruited, selected, on-boarded and managed;

» Clear career pathways that promote and retain effective educators;

» Resources to support more effective training and professional development (e.g., articles, videos, site visits around promising practice);

» Profiles of effectiveness in “blended” models; and

» Awareness of the need to develop a new culture and understanding about the nature of learning and the role of educators within it.

They even have a page on their website devoted to the role of state leaders: http://www.nxgentechroadmap.com/stateleadertable.html

Everything the Delaware Department of Education has done in the past few years is all leading to this.  Now we know what Rodel’s role in this has been and why it was essential for Governor Markell to have Secretary of Education Mark Murphy strategically placed into his role at a very specific time.  If you go through 2Revolutions website, the entire picture will form.  These are the answers to questions people didn’t even know they were asking.  This is the endgame for students.  This is the final destination of the agendas and policies thrust upon the public with no idea of what is really going on.  The only question remaining is if we let this happen.

 

 

What In The Name Of Mark Murphy Is This??? Gov. Markell, The DOE Is Out Of Control! @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @Apl_Jax @ecpaige @nannyfat @TNJ_malbright #netde #eduDE #edchat #prioritizethat

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I think someone is sniffing glue down at the Townshend Building in Dover. Why in the world would they put this on a statewide survey about education? This DOE has fallen off the cliff. If they had one more brain cell it would be lonely. I can’t justify anything they are doing as being good for students. It’s like Secretary of Education Murphy is running some weird freak show down there, and it gets more bizarre by the day. This “Vision” is not for the students of Delaware, and we all know it. Enough with the propaganda!

Delaware Parents: Please, please, please come to one of these town hall meetings and give public comment about how stupid our education system has become in Delaware. I keep saying this and every time I think the DOE can’t do anything crazier, they come out with crap like this. TAKE BACK THE CONVERSATION!!!!! This DOE needs an enema!

Delaware DOE Embargoed Public Information Yesterday, What Is Their Agenda? @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @Apl_Jax @ecpaige @nannyfat #netde #eduDE #prioritizethat

Adding fuel to an already huge fire, the Delaware DOE emailed all the legislators about the Town Hall meetings regarding the school accountability waivers yesterday morning.  As of this time, no notice had been received by schools and teachers that I am aware of.  While it is customary for an entity to wait for a press release on matters such as this, why would you notify only certain parties first and not the parties that have the most right to be there?

In observing several different social media sites, I have noticed many teachers and those concerned with the complete and utter disregard the DOE has for its most important stakeholders have become very angry over these issues.  Not only did the DOE not tell these groups, but they also booked these meetings on nights when other very important education issues are going on.  Some have surmised they planned it this way and they do NOT want a large attendance of parents and educators present.  They also feel this is just a big dog and pony show for the DOE to make it look like public outreach.  I am inclined to agree with these individuals.  This is a DOE that has their Board of Education meetings in the middle of the workday, virtually shutting out parents and educators from attending.

The following email had been sent out yesterday morning to all the legislators in Delaware.  But can someone please, for the love of God, let me know why it would be essential to include someone from DelDot and the Office of Management and Budget before educators, administrators, parents and students?

From: Shockley Tina <Tina.Shockley@doe.k12.de.us>
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 8:51 AM
To: Anderson, Patricia L (LegHall); Atkins, John (LegHall); Barbieri, Michael (LegHall); Baumbach, Paul (LegHall); Bennett, Andria (LegHall); Bentz, David (LegHall); Blakey, Donald (LegHall); Blevins, Patricia (LegHall); Bolden, StephanieT (LegHall); Bonini Colin; Brady, Gerald (LegHall); Brainard, Mark G (LegHall); BriggsKing, Ruth (LegHall); Bushweller, Brian (LegHall); Carson, William (LegHall); Carter, Dick (LegHall); Cloutier, Catherine (LegHall); Contant, Heather (LegHall); Cook, Bill (LegHall); Cutajar-Wynne, Lauren (LegHall); DeStefano, Damian (LegHall); Dukes, Timothy (LegHall); Dwyer, Sean (LegHall); Ennis, Bruce (LegHall); Evinger, Kathryn (LegHall); Finnigan, Sean (LegHall); Flannigan, Beverly (LegHall); Fulgham, Joseph (LegHall); Gordon, Bryan (DHSS); Grant, Jerry (DOI); Graves, Lauren (LegHall); Gray, Ronald (LegHall); Hall-Long, Bethany (LegHall); Harper, Rylene (LegHall); Harrison, Leigh Ann (LegHall); Heffernan, Debra (LegHall); Henry, Margaret Rose (LegHall); Hickman, Nancy (LegHall); Hocker, Gerald (LegHall); Hudson, Deborah (LegHall); Irvin, Alton (LegHall); Jackson, Michael S (LegHall); Jamison, Alexis F (LegHall); Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall); Johnson, JJ (LegHall); Johnson, Quinton (LegHall); Kanich, Tammie (LegHall); Keeley, Helene (LegHall); Kenton, Harvey (LegHall); kenton Harvy; Kowalko, John (LegHall); Lavelle, Greg (LegHall); Lawson, Dave (LegHall); Lewis, Elizabeth (OMB); Longhurst, Valerie (LegHall); Lopez, Ernesto B (LegHall); Mantegna, Stephanie (LegHall); Marshall, Robert (LegHall); McBride, David (LegHall); McCartan, Valerie (LegHall); McDowell, Harris (LegHall); Miro, Joseph (LegHall); Mitchell, John L (LegHall); Moore-Dean, Margaret (LegHall); Mulrooney, Michael (LegHall); Osienski, Edward (LegHall); Outten, Bobby (LegHall); Paradee, Trey (LegHall); Park, Evan (DelDOT); Peterman, Jack (LegHall); Peterson, Karen (LegHall); Pettyjohn, Brian (LegHall); Philpotts, Cimone (LegHall); Poore, Nicole (LegHall); Potter, Jr, Charles (LegHall); Price, Pam (LegHall); Puffer, Richard (LegHall); Ramone, Michael (LegHall); Ridout, Ashley (LegHall); Ruberto, Nancy (LegHall); Ryan, Carling (LegHall); Schwartzkopf, Peter (LegHall); Scott, Darryl (LegHall); Seitz, Meredith (LegHall); Shipley, Glenn (LegHall); Short, Bryon (LegHall); Short, Daniel (LegHall); Simpson Gary; Simpson, Gary (LegHall); Smith, Marcia (LegHall); Smith, Melanie G (LegHall); Smyk, Steve (LegHall); Sokola, David (LegHall); Sokola, Megan (LegHall); Spiegelman, Jeff (LegHall); Townsend, Bryan (LegHall); Venables, Robert (LegHall); Viola, John (LegHall); Volturo, Andrew (LegHall); Walker, Rebecca (LegHall); Wallace, Meghan (LegHall); Williams, Dennis E (LegHall); Williams, Jane E (LegHall); Williams, Kimberly (LegHall); Wilson, David L (LegHall); Wilson, Kay (LegHall); Wood, Bonnie (LegHall); Wootten, Sarah (LegHall); Zdeb, Michelle (LegHall)
Cc: May, Alison (K12); Mclaughlin, Mary Kate (K12)
Subject: Embargoed Notice – New State Accountability System

Dear Legislator:

As elected officials, we wanted to give you embargoed notice of several outreach opportunities we will be announcing later today related to a new state accountability system. The Delaware Department of Education will be seeking public input on a new state accountability system through a survey as well as a series of Town Hall meetings. The survey, available here, seeks feedback on what the public would like measured and reported on the state’s public school accountability report card.

In addition to the survey, the Department will host three Town Halls in November to gather public feedback on the state’s new approach to reporting school performance and its submission of a waiver for renewed flexibility from the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Staff from the Department will present the state’s proposed new accountability system and outline the process for renewal of the ESEA flexibility waiver. Time will be devoted to answering questions and seeking public comment on both topics.

The new accountability system will have two parts:

· Part A includes metrics that we know to be critical to measure for public schools, and that align with federal accountability. This includes student proficiency and growth on state tests, college and career readiness benchmarks, chronic absenteeism rates, and on-track to graduate measures.

· Part B will include those measures, as informed by the survey results.

The state recognizes there are additional measures that are critical to Delaware residents.

The survey will be open through December 31, 2014.

The Town Halls are scheduled for:
• 6 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday November 5 at the Carvel State Office Building at 9th and French streets, Wilmington
• 6 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 12 at the John Collette Education Resource Center, 35 Commerce Way, Dover
• 6 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 19 at the Sussex County Council Chamber, 2 The Circle, Georgetown

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like additional information about either of these opportunities. We will be announcing them publicly later today.
Tina Shockley
Education Associate – Policy Advisor
Department of Education
Office: 302-735-4105
Cell: 302-632-2143
Fax: 302-739-4654
SLC: D370B

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/

22nd District Candidate Steve Newton Demolishes US DOE Secretary Arne Duncan In One Fell Swoop! @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @nannyfat @ecpaige @DelawareBats #netde #eduDE #edchat

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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

Very Interesting Chat With Delaware State Representative Last Night re: Mark Murphy and Smarter Balanced Assessment @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @nannyfat #netde #eduDE

Last night, the Kent County League Of Women Voters held a public debate for the Kent County candidates running for office in the election on November 4th.  The event was held at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover, DE.  Several candidates declined the debate, and some were unable to attend.  Under debate law, if one party in a particular race does not show up, the other party is unable to debate.

For the Delaware House Representative candidates, the parties that debated were District 30 candidates Libertarian Gordon Gene Smith and Republican Jonathan E. Gallo (current Democrat House Rep. William Outten declined the debate) and District 11 candidates Democrat Lynne Newlin and current Republican House Rep. Jeffrey Spiegelman.  For the Senate, the only attending candidates were from the 17th Senate District, current Democrat State Senator Brian Bushweller and Republican candidate Dr. Kim Warfield.

A two-part question asked of the candidates on their position on standardized testing and allowing parents to opt out of standardized testing.  Senator Bushweller said he does not believe parents should have the option to opt their children out of standardized testing because he felt students need to be measured for their proficiency.  He also added his belief there have been too many changes in the tests in Delaware, and when the Smarter Balanced Assessment comes out “in a couple years” this will be the third test.   House Rep. Jeffrey Spiegelman felt there should be a consistent set of standards for the country, but parents should have the right to opt their children out of standardized testing.  Both of these elected officials voted for House Bill 334 which allowed the Smarter Balanced Assessment to replace DCAS as the state standardized test.

After the debate, I had the opportunity to speak with House Rep. Jeffrey Spiegelman, and I asked him why he voted for the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  He said his wife is a teacher, and most teachers hated DCAS because it was administered to students three times a year.  I explained to him that I believe the Smarter Balanced Assessment is worse than DCAS.  He replied that for House Bill 334, it was a choice of the lesser of two evils, and what made it very difficult for the vote was the fact that Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy had already bought the test for the state.  He felt it put the legislators in a no-win situation.  He gave me permission to publish this opinion.

As for Senator Bushweller’s statement about the Smarter Balanced Assessment during the public debate, where he said it was coming out in “a couple years” it showed an ignorance of the current education climate in Delaware based on the fact that the test will first be administered in the Spring of 2015, not two years from now.  It really makes me wonder based on the two current legislator’s comments how much information they were given about the test before the vote.  Neither of them served on the Education Committee for their respective branch.

I posed a question in an article last month in regards to the testing schedule, but I was given some confusing information about the possibility of interim tests and the DOE document I first saw did not indicate it was optional for the school districts.  As well, two Delaware House Reps, who wished to remain anonymous, informed me they were not aware of an interim test at all and didn’t recall even an option being presented to them.  Neither of them served on the Education Committee for the House either.  In comments on that article, someone who seemed to have insider knowledge of the legislative process behind this bill, and was present, wrote this:

This was passed out at the House and Senate joint education committee meeting in May- that was (t)he first place I saw it, thus legislators had this graphic before voting on the bill as well.

But this commenter assumed the legislators had all information available to them prior to voting on the bill.  Was this the case?  Does anyone in Legislative Hall who was NOT on the education committee want to give an official comment about what exact information was given to them before their vote?

 

Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy Needs To Be Fired! What Has To Happen! @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @nannyfat @ecpaige @TNJ_malbright #netde #eduDE

murphy

Last night, the Wilmington City Council saw the true colors of Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy.  He went to the council meeting to present the priority schools plan to the council, and they were not impressed.  Murphy actually stated that the DCAS standardized testing system was ineffective, yet this was the overall criteria for judging the 6 Wilmington schools as failing.

When City Council member Nnamdi Chukwuocha tried to present the priority schools as a good thing, Council President Theo Gregory said, about Chukwuocha, “He’s young, he trusts.  I don’t trust.”  This comment said a lot about the events that occurred last night.  Since the onset of the priority schools announcement, it seemed like the momentum was on the side of the Delaware DOE.  But ever since last week, when both Red Clay and Christina refused to sign the Memorandum of Understanding behind the priority schools, citizens of Delaware have started to realize this may not be a good thing after all.  Gregory’s statement is made from years of Wilmington being promised certain things that never materialized.  Events from the City Council meeting last night will resonate with the public of Delaware for a long time.  The trust the city showed in the DOE and Murphy is beginning to evaporate.

Last night, at the priority schools conversation in Wilmington, Mark Murphy was invited to answer more questions and he declined and stated he wanted to give his closing statement.  In my opinion, this shows a man who has a specific agenda, and once he is done with presenting his part of it, he either wasn’t able or refused to answer questions that could have helped a city understand his agenda better.  My guess would be the answers would not have helped the DOE’s cause.

Murphy has been controversial from the start.  He was picked by Governor Jack Markell when former Secretary Lillian Lowery resigned.   Formerly, Murphy had served as the Executive Director of a non-profit in Delaware called Rodel.  Rodel is stacked with a board of millionaires who stand to gain from the education reform movement.  This was Governor Markell’s #1 pick for the position, and the Delaware Senate approved this.

As Common Core has rolled out, and Delaware signed on for the Smarter Balanced Assessment, the Delaware Department of Education, under Murphy’s leadership, has gone from one controversial event to another.  They have taken over charter schools (Pencader, Reach and Moyer) and the results have been highly ineffective.  They have judged schools based on a testing system they have done away with.  They have treated public school district teachers like they are a nuisance to be done away with, and many public school district teachers feel demoralized and degraded by the DOE.  They have pumped money into charter schools while ignoring the plight of public school districts that feed even more money into the charter schools.  They have played games with Title I funding to allow the charter schools to benefit.  Special Education has been tampered with to such an effect that Delaware was deemed as “needing intervention” by the US DOE’s Office of Special Education Programs.  The list goes on and on, but many feel Murphy should be removed from power.

State Representative John Kowalko said today “Maybe it is time for you to move on Mr. Murphy for the good of “our children.”  Delaware blogger Kilroy has called for Murphy’s removal on many occasions.  This blogger has said it.  Some feel they will just ride with the wave until Markell and Murphy are gone in a couple years.  But the problem remains, and with his track record, things will only get worse.

But how does a Delaware Secretary of Education get fired?  Who would have to do the job?  From the Delaware Code, I found this, under the code for the State Governor:

Section 13. The Governor may for any reasonable cause remove any officer, except the Lieutenant-Governor and members of the General Assembly, upon the address of two-thirds of all the members elected to each House of the General Assembly. Whenever the General Assembly shall so address the Governor, the cause of removal shall be entered on the journals of each House. The person against whom the General Assembly may be about to proceed shall receive notice thereof, accompanied with the cause alleged for his or her removal, at least ten days before the day on which either House of the General Assembly shall act thereon.