Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium MOU With Delaware, Signed By Governor Markell

Thanks to deutsch29 getting the entire Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium application for Race To The Top and 15 state Memorandum of Understandings with SBAC up on her website.  This is a treasure trove of information, and I appreciate it immensely.  Below is the Delaware portion of this huge document, signed by Governor Jack Markell, then Secretary of Education for Delaware Lillian Lowery, State Board of Education President Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, and Delaware DOE CFO Karen Field-Rogers.  Back in June of 2010….

Delaware’s House Bill 50 Landslide Vote Hits The Washington Post & The Associated Press

Randall Chase with the Associated Press wrote an article that appeared in The Washington Post about Delaware’s Parent Opt-Out legislation, House Bill 50.  Chase reached out to Governor Markell who said:

“I don’t think it’s a good bill,” Markell said, who touted recent improvements in state schools, including higher graduation rates, lower dropout rates and more students taking and passing advanced placement tests.”

“Markell also noted that members of the civil rights community in Delaware and other states have supported annual assessments as an effective way to identify and address the needs of minority students.”

I commented on the article, which can be found here.

“Sadly, Governor Markell is mistaken with his opposition of this bill. His own Secretary of Education, Mark Murphy, publicly told the House of Representatives there was no current growth model established for the Smarter Balanced Assessment. He also publicly stated parents aren’t allowed to opt students out of the state assessment. As Mercedes Schneider recently pointed out, 28 national civil rights groups stated their opposition to opt-out. Today, only 12 of those groups are speaking in opposition.

Of course Governor Markell would think this is bad bill. I believe he mistakenly attributes the progress made in Delaware schools to standardized testing, when the reality is Delaware has many effective and great public school teachers who are doing more with far less due to cuts Markell instituted years ago and never reinstated. This bill passed the House with a 36-3 vote with 2 absent. This sends a clear message to Delaware parents that state legislators understand parents fundamental rights and they do not believe in this assessment.

The very discussion of this bill has people all over Delaware talking about education like they never have before, from the most effective way to educate our inner-city students to what the best way to determine student outcomes is. Many in the state are fast realizing the Race To The Top and high-stakes testing have been nothing but a severe disruption and a money pit for our schools and students. Governor Markell could veto the bill, but the Delaware House and Senate could override that veto with a 60% vote in both.”

Markell has been utilizing the positions of civil rights groups in Delaware for months to bolster his opposition of the opt-out movement.  Mercedes Schneider, a Louisiana educator with the very popular Deutsch29 education blog, wrote on Wednesday about 28 national civil rights groups that petitioned the U.S. Congress during discussion about the ESEA reauthorization back in January.  When asked to declare a formal position on opt-out, only 12 of those groups participated in this statement, according to Schneider.

While Delaware State Rep. Stephanie Bolden was not present for the vote, she did have some very strong concerns in regards to inner-city students and opt-out.  I have decided to get this conversation started here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wilmingtonschools/