What is it about Delaware bills with the number 50 in it? Senate Bill #50 is going to be pulled today according to sources in the know. The bill would have created the Delaware Tech “Community College Infrastructure Fund”. But after opponents of the bill cried foul the legislation is going to die.
Charter School of Wilmington Teachers Vote To Unionize And Join DSEACharter School of Wilmington
Last night, Charter School of Wilmington teachers made a huge vote. They became the only current charter school in Delaware to join the Delaware State Education Association. As such, they will be a part of the National Education Association as well. This opens the door for other charter schools to unionize in the future. Often, when one domino falls…
The vote was not won by an overwhelming majority but enough for it to pass. I’ve been hard on DSEA and NEA recently but that was because of very unique and limited circumstances. That was a case of bad apples in the bunch and perception. Even with that, I do support the unions and see them as a last defense against education reform that is bad for schools. This CSW vote changes the landscape in Delaware.
I’ve heard rumblings about severe dissatisfaction with CSW leader Sam Paoli for months now. Nobody wanted to go on the record though. A teacher was terminated in the Winter over a minor disagreement with Paoli. Many claim he rules the school with an iron fist and teachers, parents, and students are against this dictatorship. By unionizing, these teachers regain some sense of control over their job security. The CSW board is not elected so it allowed Paoli to run around unchecked.
There have been other charter schools in Delaware that have looked into unionizing but this is the first to actually do it. Last summer, teachers at Providence Creek Academy wanted to but you must have at least 50% of the vote in favor of it.
More information as it becomes available.
Updated, 10:50am: This is not the first time a Delaware charter school joined DSEA. Positive Outcomes did many years ago but it only lasted a year.
DSEA President Mike Matthews’ Speech From Their Representative Assembly On 3/17Mike Matthews
This past weekend, the Delaware State Education Association held their annual Representative Assembly. President Mike Matthews gave the following speech to the DSEA delegates on Saturday, March 17th. While I’ve been writing a ton about administrators and their salaries, it is important to recognize the issues many of our teachers are facing. I felt Matthews did a good job highlighting those things and painted a clear picture of a huge danger coming to the teacher unions across our country.
My speech to the delegates of the 2018 Representative Assembly.
Time. As I travel up and down the state to talk with our members, I’m reminded of what is most valuable to them. Time. Planning time. Time with friends and family. Time to meet the needs of all students. Time to grade papers. Time to relax. Time to watch a movie. Time to exercise. Time. Time. Time.
And as we sit here today at our annual Representative Assembly, I know that the time you all have taken to do the business of our Association is valuable time. And, to that end, I’d like you to know that it’s my goal to respect your time and keep it short because, as a half-Irishman myself, this is indeed a day to celebrate. So, to those who do, I offer you a hearty Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibh!: Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
I want to say thank you for spending your time today with some of our Association’s most active union members. Since I started in this new role eight months ago, I’ve been bowled over by the support from our wonderful staff here at DSEA as well as the 13,000 members we represent. And time seems to be an issue for everyone. In my 50+ school visits since the beginning of the school year, time is all I hear about.
From the AP Language and Composition teacher at Mt. Pleasant High School who’s always looking for more time to share great works of literature with her students to the special education teacher from West Seaford Elementary who’d like more time to complete her required IEP paperwork. From the paraprofessional at Love Creek Elementary who wants her students to have more one-on-one time and resources to the music teacher at Elbert-Palmer who wishes his students could have more time playing instruments as opposed to taking standardized tests. From the food service worker at Old State Elementary who wants more time to share union information with her 10 coworkers to the secretaries across the state who want to make sure they’ve got the time during the day to simply stop and breathe. From the bus drivers and bus aides for whom TIME is certainly most important to ensure their students arrive on time to the custodians who make the best use of their time to get everything done that needs doing to keep our buildings looking great for staff and students.
Time. It matters. And, while we are always at a deficit of time to get done everything that needs doing, our members do their best to maximize the time they have to ensure our students get what they need to succeed.
However, friends, I’m here to tell you that time is not on our side, regardless of what the Rolling Stones may have told you. Last year, my predecessor, Frederika Jenner, told you the wolf was at the door in regards to policies coming down from the frightening administration of Betsy DeVos at the US Department of Education. Frederika urged us all to pay attention and be vigilant. Well, I’m here to share with you that we will have to be vigilant in the coming months as the greatest threat to our Association is handed down by the United States Supreme Court in the form of the Janus case.
Now, I will not bore you all with the details of this case. You all are among the most active members of our Association and my guess is most of you have found the time to learn more about this case. In short, the current make-up of the Supreme Court will likely chip further away at the rights of public-sector unions. Have no doubt – this will impact our membership and could very well impact how we deliver service to our members.
This Supreme Court case is called Janus, named after the plaintiff, Mark Janus, a home health care worker in Illinois. Mr. Janus believes that if you don’t want to pay fair share fees to your union, you shouldn’t have to, EVEN IF you benefit from the work the union does. In essence, when this Supreme Court decision comes down, it could create a new generation of worker that expects and demands union representation and benefits, but will refuse to pay for them.
But Janus also means something else. Several months ago, while toying around on the Internet, I Googled “Janus.” Did you know that Janus is the Roman god of endings, new beginnings, transitions, and, most appropriately, time? Janus is often depicted in mythology as having two faces. I equate these two faces to the two choices we have as an Association.
Do we twiddle our thumbs, look backwards, complain, and cry when the Supreme Court hands down a decision that, in the long run, could cost DSEA thousands of members?
Or – do we look forward? Do we pick ourselves up and fight back and show our members who we really are here at DSEA? That we are going to work harder than ever to ensure they see the value in the work we do? That we are going to continue to drive the narrative that our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions? That we are going to continue to fight for more resources for our most impoverished students – for our students with disabilities – for our English language learners? That we are going to continue to push back against bad education policies that focus more time on testing and less time on authentic learning?
It’s when we show our members as well as the public that EDUCATORS are the best advocates for students that we win the narrative. And when we win that narrative, we will never have to worry about members leaving us – because they will see themselves in the work we do.
So – I have several requests for you when you leave today. In the coming weeks and months, I need you all to be ambassadors for our Association. I need you to go back to your locals. I need you to engage all of our members – AND NON-MEMBERS. This is our greatest organizing moment and I know that we can accomplish so much and maintain the strength of our membership if we focus on several things:
Have as many meaningful one-on-one conversations with members as you can. Get them to realize that their voices are amplified in environments where collaboration is fostered and open dialogue is promoted and that our union is a critical driver in those conversations.
If you’re a local that has faculty meetings in your buildings every month, check your contract to see if the Association is given five or ten minutes of each faculty meeting to share updates. And use that time at EVERY faculty meeting to share with members – and non-members – how critical union membership is with the wolf constantly knocking on our doors.
Go to the Dollar Store. Get a 20-pack of generic greeting cards. Write notes to your elected officials and school board members thanking them for their support of public education and sharing with them how and why unions ARE always a great partner in moving education forward here in Delaware.
Finally, and most importantly, share your story. Share it with friends. Share it with family. Share vignettes on social media of why we do what we do in public education. Share your story like the story featured in this post.
There’s a lot going on in this image. I was visiting a high school in New Castle County and walked into an English teacher’s classroom. This image immediately caught my eyes. And the story behind it will stick with me forever.
I asked the teacher where this huge drawing on a whiteboard had come from. He shared with me that it was about two years old. A former student of his — a withdrawn senior who rarely ever spoke to the teacher — did it. The teacher said it was near the end of the year, the student had shown little effort, and at a certain point, there seemed to be a level of tension the teacher wished could be resolved. Eventually, the teacher said to the student “I’ve failed you. You’ve gotten through this entire school year and you’ve barely said two words to me. I’ve failed you and for that I am sorry.” The teacher left the room, upset, not knowing what to do for this student who had been withdrawn for so much of the year. Come to find out, the student had some language barriers as well as some issues at home that were causing her to withdraw.
The teacher was out of the room for a period of time and when he came back, this beautiful drawing — representing all of the pieces of literature covered in senior year — was on his whiteboard. The teacher became so overwhelmed and emotional at this display. He told me that the young lady — though barely communicative — was obviously absorbing the literature the class was reading that year.
The teacher memorialized this art by spreading a thin film over the drawing to protect it and it remains in his classroom to this day — a testament and clear sign that he, in fact — was not a failure to this particular student.
How many stories like this are waiting to be told around Delaware?
It’s stories like this that explain why we as educators do what we do. And, based on the schools I’ve visited up and down the state, this story isn’t the only one out there. You must be prepared to share your story. You must be prepared to defend the work of our union to ensure better wages, benefits, and working conditions for our members and their families. Because we must never go back to the time cited in the classic labor hymn “Which Side Are You On?” – authored in 1931 by Florence Reece, the wife of a union organizer for the United Mine Workers in Harlan County, Kentucky. Following a night of being terrorized by Sheriff J.H. Blair and men hired by the mining company to bully mine workers and prevent them from unionizing, Reece wrote this poem on a calendar that hung on the wall in her kitchen:
“Come all you good workers
Good news to you I’ll tell
Of how that good old union
Has come in here to dwell
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
My daddy was a miner
And I’m a miner’s son
And I’ll stick with the union
‘Til every battle’s won
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
They say in Harlan County
There are no neutrals there
You’ll either be a union man
Or a thug for J.H. Blair
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
Don’t scab for the bosses
Don’t listen to their lies
Us poor folks haven’t got a chance
Unless we organize
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?”
Now I’m not saying things are anywhere near as dire here as they were in Mrs. Reece’s world, but just know that long ago the rights we take for granted today were hard fought by someone else, and it’s up to us to find the time and ensure we protect those rights.
So, with what limited time we all have, be sure and find the time to do what will keep you strong, your families strong, your students strong, and our union forever strong. Because, as Benjamin Franklin once said, “You may delay, but time will not.”
Thank you, delegates, and remember: Solidarity Now and Solidarity Forever.
Governor Carney’s “Invest In Public Education” Tour At Delaware Schools This WeekGovernor Carney
Governor Carney is hitting the road this week up and down the state to different schools to drum up support for some of his proposed education initiatives in the Fiscal Year 2019 state budget. Each school he visits will have a different focus. Those areas are Opportunity Grants, Investing In Educators, Better Schools, Math Coaches, and Early Education & The Delaware STARS program. As well, Carney and Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting will hold a Facebook Live event on Tuesday, February 27th. Which schools is he going to? Find out here!
Last night, I attended an education meeting that was very different. It was a very odd group of folks getting together in one room to talk about things that affect all Delaware schools. It was a mixture of people who represented two different sides of public education.
Is This The Guy Pulling Carney’s Strings?The Puppet Master
I’ve been looking for a common thread in everything I’ve written about what is taking place in Delaware education. One person, so deeply embedded in the forces that are privatizing public education before our very eyes. I believe I found it. A common link to the initiatives taking place. The Public/Private partnerships. Workforce Development. The Delaware Business Roundtable and the Delaware Chamber of Commerce. The Rodel/Vision Coalition. Personalized Learning. The philanthropic ventures into public education. Pathways to Prosperity. I believe I just found the most powerful person in Delaware who is calling ALL the shots. And most of you have probably never even heard the name.
Delaware Teacher Of The Year Sandra Denney Hall Has An Important Message!Teacher Appreciation Week
Sandra Denney Hall was selected as the Delaware Teacher of the Year last fall. Today, she has an important message regarding Teacher Appreciation Week.
I hope all teachers can share something positive – a picture or video – about teaching tomorrow on #TeachLikeMe Day tomorrow, Tuesday, May 2nd! Be sure to include the hashtag #TeachLikeMe on your page!
Teach Like Me is a movement that started in Oklahoma and is now spreading through the nation. The purpose is to redefine perceptions of the educator profession by lifting up and supporting all teachers! So show your love of teaching in Delaware by sharing a picture or video tomorrow!
So go ahead Delaware citizens, educators, students and parents! Share what you love about our teachers!
Carney & Bunting Tackle Education Funding But The Red Herring Fooling Everyone Lurks Around The CornerEducation Funding
Delaware Governor John Carney and Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting will talk to educators, parents, and citizens tonight about education funding and the state budget tonight at 7:45pm. To be included on the call, you had to sign up yesterday by 2pm. I signed up on Tuesday. I will be reporting live from the Town Hall. What concerns me the most is not what Carney is saying. It is what he isn’t talking about…
Mark Murphy Spews Sour Grapes About His Time As Delaware Secretary of EducationMark Murphy
Do you want some cheese with that wine Mark Murphy? That is the thrust of an online article from The Job in which Mark Murphy laments his time as the Delaware Secretary of Education. Murphy gets it wrong on so many levels it isn’t even funny.
Frankly, kids’ interests and adults’ interests don’t always align. Kids have no power, no say, no decision-making authority, no money — so nobody has a real reason to listen to kids. Go shadow a high-school kid for a day — good luck staying awake. You have to walk from class to class, with four minutes between each bell. You have to raise your hand to go to the bathroom. It is so disempowering and so boring.
Yes, he did use the word boring. Because we are desperately clamoring for high school students to do whatever they want in school. I’m terribly sorry Murphy had to exercise so much while shadowing a high school kid. He did always seem fit. Perhaps that is why. Let’s be very clear on something. Teenagers are trying to figure out who they are. They are going through puberty. I’m not saying their voice isn’t important, but adults often need to be the ones to make decisions for students. It isn’t because they are on a power trip, it is because they went through their teenage years and entered adulthood (well, most of them did). They went through it and came out on the other side and know what works and what doesn’t. But then a bunch of billionaires got together and decided they knew what was best for education. They used students and parents in their quest to get rid of teacher unions. That is whose side you were always on.
What would happen is, I would feel like I had reached an agreement with the union leadership, but then they came back a month or two later and that wasn’t how their membership felt. I should have spent more time meeting with local leadership. In hindsight, I would have done that differently.
Yes Mark, you should have. It sounds to me like the union leadership wasn’t also aware of what was happening at the ground level either or perhaps they were just placating you. The union leadership should reach out to their membership before making agreements on their behalf. If that is how it went down.
Each time you try to turn around a school, or you open or close a charter school, or disagree with the union, you punch another hole in the bucket and you start to drain out. You lose some political capital. Eventually, you’re out of water.
Mark, you became the Delaware Secretary of Education at the worst possible time in Delaware. Post Race to the Top and knee-deep in Markell’s very bad education policies. We are seeing a lot of those policies reversed throughout the country. Being a leader is allowing yourself to stand up to the criticism and not letting it get to you. If you ran out of water that’s because you kept listening to the same people over and over again and were not willing to hear what was happening at the grass-roots level.
If every kid had access to a middle-class lifestyle, the country would be a much better place, and people wouldn’t be so angry about all the immigrants.
The two don’t really intersect Mark. I know the goal is for every kid to be the same, but good luck with that. The bad education policies you pushed on Delaware at the behest of your education totalitarian boss, Jack Markell, failed because they did not look at the individual, only the collective. Not sure where your immigration comment comes in.
I am really nervous that really great people are going to stop being willing to pursue public office because you get publicly and professionally assassinated in these jobs.
Does this mean you see yourself as “really great people” Mark? Since I became involved in Delaware public education a few years ago, I have seen three Delaware Secretaries of Education: yourself, Dr. Steven Godowsky, and Dr. Susan Bunting. Both Godowsky and Bunting treated me with respect although we do not always agree on policy. When you were around, you didn’t give me the time of day. You treated opt out parents as if they were somehow beneath you and should be squashed like a bug. You didn’t even mention the Rodel Foundation in this article, but you listened to them far more than any educator, student, or parent. The priority schools initiative was the death knell of your time as the Delaware Secretary. The whole thing was a Delaware Dept. of Education public relations nightmare from the onset. It was shoddily planned and I would have to think you knew that.
If you’re a teacher in one of these schools, the new principal who comes into the school should decide whether you stay or whether you don’t stay. The teachers’ union was quite upset about that.
Of course they would be upset about it because the whole basis for this was standardized test scores. It failed to address issues such as trauma, special education, segregation, and the individual student. Who wants some corporate education reform Principal hand-picked by the Delaware DOE to come in and can a ton of teachers over Smarter Balanced scores? That’s why parents and citizens also objected to this plan. The biggest failure was your inability to predict the severity of the public backlash for this. I have to think you felt so empowered at the height of the corporate education reform movement that you felt infallible. No human being is infallible.
In retrospect Mark, this sounds like sour grapes on your part. You cast far too much blame on others while failing to address your own failures in your term. Playing around with the priority schools funding was the final straw. You can’t make promises and then back away from them. I’m not sure why you blame the unions for all that is wrong with public education. I know that is the corporate education reform mantra, but perhaps you should think of your own future and get off the shame and blame bus.
DSEA President Battle Heats Up As Three Vie For The Top SpotDSEA
To date, three Delaware educators have announced their intention to run for President of the Delaware State Education Association. All three have announced this on Facebook. I know two of them, but I haven’t met the other candidate. Two of the candidates are running on a ticket with a Vice-President candidate. Who are these brave souls?
Governor Markell’s Executive Order #62 Creates ESSA Advisory CommitteeGovernor Markell
Today, Delaware Governor Markell signed an Executive Order which creates an Advisory n Committee for the Every Student Succeeds Act. As required by federal law, this group will convene to provide input (not make final decisions) on ESSA which was signed by President Obama last December. I am assuming this group will replace the DESS Advisory Committee which was required under the former federal education law, ESEA.
This group will have the usual slots: President of the State Board of Education, President of the Delaware State Education Association, and other education, business, and state associations. There are only two legislator slots, one from the Senate and one from the House. Usually, these kind of groups have representation of both parties in the House and the Senate. Only three teachers will be picked, and only four parents. On something this important, bigger is better. But lest we forget, these members will be picked by the Governor, so expect some controversy over those picks!
As well, there will be a series of “Community Conversations” coming up at the end of September. I pray this isn’t a one-sided show where select people are telling the audience what has to happen. It needs to be a true back and forth exchange to be a true conversation.
Below is Executive Order #62 and the press release from the Delaware DOE.
Markell Creates Group to Support Implementation of New Federal Education Law
Calling a new federal education law an opportunity for teachers, school leaders, parents, and others to build on record graduation rates and other progress happening in Delaware schools, Governor Jack Markell today signed Executive Order 62, which brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to provide input for the state plan required by the federal Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA). The plan, which the U.S. Department of Education is expected to require by sometime next year, will detail efforts to:
· Implement academic standards aligned with what students need to know stay on track for success in college and the workplace;
· Ensure students from all backgrounds have access to high-quality educational opportunities from pre-school through high school;
· Support training, retention, and professional advancement of great educators; and
· Track progress of schools across a variety of measures, not limited to test scores, and identify ways to offer additional support where students are struggling.
The Governor, who signed E.O. 62 at Lewis Elementary School, noted that improvements from the last major federal education law, No Child Left Behind, mean that states have more flexibility in ways to support students, including how to measure schools’ progress and new opportunities to focus on early childhood education, which has been a top priority of the Markell Administration.
“We should all be proud of the progress we have made over the last few years, when we have seen thousands more low-income families enroll children in high-quality early childhood programs, recorded the fastest-growing graduation rate in the country, offered thousands more students the chance to earn workplace experience and college credit while in high school, and given more students access to college,” said Markell.
“ESSA provides an exciting chance for us to build on that momentum – to better support and attract great teachers and ensure all of our students have access to the education they deserve, no matter their backgrounds. More flexibility in how states approach these issues means more responsibility for us to make sound decisions and as we develop our state’s plan under ESSA. The executive order I sign today will help engage our teachers, school leaders, parents, and other advocates to ensure a successful process.”
The Executive Order outlines the variety of education leaders and advocates who must be represented on the committee and provides the group with the opportunity to review drafts of the state plan and submit recommendations to the Secretary of Education. A chair will be announced in advance of the first meeting and the group will include representatives of:
· Parents in every county
· Educators from urban and rural communities
· The State Board of Education
· The Delaware State Education Association
· The Delaware Association of School Administrators
· The Delaware School Board’s Association
· The Delaware Charter School Network
· The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission
· The Early Childhood Council
· Delaware English Language Teachers and Advocates
· An organization advocating for students with disabilities
· Delaware’s business community
· Workforce development programs
· The General Assembly
“After engaging in initial discussions with a wide variety of education stakeholders on development of our ESSA plan, this advisory committee represents an important next step in supporting our communication with teachers, administrators, and parents who are working hard to support our students,” said Delaware Education Secretary Steve Godowsky. “This group will help ensure we fully consider a wide range of perspectives and set our state on a path of continued improvement.”
The department also will engage representatives of stakeholder groups in two discussion groups. The first group will focus discussions on technical topics related to Measures of School Success and Reporting. The second group will focus discussions on provisions for Student and School Supports. Participants for these topical discussion groups can be nominated on the department’s ESSA web site through September 9, 2016. The discussion groups will provide information to the Advisory group created by this Executive Order.
To further support engagement of the broader education community, the Department of Education has announced a series of Community Conversations later this month during which teachers, administrators, and others will offer input on specific questions that the state must address in its plan. These discussions will take place at the following times and locations:
Tuesday September 20 at 6:00 p.m. – Cheer Center, Georgetown
Saturday September 24 at 10:00 a.m. – Christina Cultural Arts Center, Wilmington
Tuesday September 27 at 6:00 p.m. – Bunker Hill Elementary School, Middletown
Thursday September 29 at 5:30 p.m. – Collette Education Center, Dover
The public also is invited to provide input through online surveys found on the Department’s ESSA web site and by submitting feedback to ESSAStatePlan@doe.k12.de.us.
The Jack Markell Email That Has Delaware Teachers SeethingGovernor Markell
Governor Markell sent an email to teachers and administrators thanking them for the latest Smarter Balanced Assessment results. Meanwhile, people don’t care. In the grand tradition of the former and very much lamented Transparent Christina, I hereby present the red-line edition of Jack’s chest-thumping email!
From: Markell, Governor (Governor)
Gee really, you need to write it down twice?
Sent: Thursday, July 21, 2016 2:01:51 PM (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
To: K12 Employees
Subject: Thank you to educators and school administrators
Thank you Governor Markell for forcing students to take this test and for teachers to administer them. God bless the opt out parents!
Dear Educators and School Administrators,
What, no love for the parents?
I hope you are all having a wonderful summer.
You too Jack. Speaking on behalf of teachers, thank you for interrupting our bliss and harmony with this email.
As many of you may have seen, today the state released our annual data showing student performance on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. The improved scores across subjects and grade levels throughout our state serves as yet more evidence that your hard work is producing great results for our children and I wanted to take this opportunity to send a note of thanks.
In other words, over half our kids still aren’t proficient in math based on Smarter Balanced Standards and only 55% of them are proficient in ELA based on those same standards. I see what you’re doing here. Thanking teachers for their “hard work” for bad results. The joke is on you. Anyone who doesn’t know this is a crap test has been living in a cave somewhere.
Our transition to higher standards for what students should know at each grade level has contributed to making the last few years a tremendously challenging time for all of our educators, no matter what subject you teach, and all administrators. At a time when it’s clear that students will rely on their education more than ever to reach their potential, we know they deserve these higher expectations aligned to what colleges and employers will expect of them after graduation.
Newsflash Jack, education has always been needed for students to reach their full potential. This isn’t anything new. Stop making it a crisis. We get it. They don’t “deserve these higher expectations”. That’s like saying “I’m going to hit you in the face. It will hurt. But it will make you stronger.” Colleges hate Common Core, hate your stupid high-stakes tests, and I have yet to hear any employer say “what were your Smarter Balanced scores?” in an interview.
Accepting the higher standards at the state level was the easy part. Our progress is the result of what happens in our classrooms every day.
Yeah, rigor and grit. Lots of academic sweat that still hasn’t produced the results you think we want but you don’t really because as long as kids our doing bad they still need to be fixed. This story is getting as old as your time in office. Like the citizens of the state had much say in accepting these “higher standards”. When you dangle carrots like “Look, we’re getting all this money from the feds during a time when I had to cut teacher raises. Hip Hop Hooray! Come and board my train. It will be fun. Please fasten your seat belts cause you are going to get ridiculed and tested like never before. Don’t worry about the scores or the growth. Progress is progress. As long as my friends make money, that is the true progress!”
The improving proficiency levels released today represent another data point to show that what you are doing is working. Our graduation rates are at record levels, and recently led the country for the biggest growth. More students than ever are being prepared to be fluent in another language, and to pass college-level dual enrollment and Advanced Placement courses before they graduate. And you are making possible the incredible growth in our Pathways to Prosperity program, which just 2 years after it launched with about 30 students, will give more than 5,000 students this fall the chance to take courses that prepare them with college credit and workplace experience in growing industries from IT to health care to culinary arts.
But most of those students will need to go to Del-Tech. Way to spend millions of dollars on programs that benefit your buddies over there. Your asskissery has no limits. More flavor in the favors, that’s all this is. While I don’t mind students learning other languages, the fact that your “World Immersion” programs limit the number of kids who can enroll, especially students with disabilities, will just ultimately create more discrimination and segregation. Why is it whenever I see pictures of these programs I see mostly white kids Jack? But let’s take the time to thank Governor Markell for yet another data point that states the obvious: your ideas DON’T WORK!!! Maybe to the sycophant Delaware DOE, State Board of Education and the suck-ups who don’t realize they are on the table and still think they are at the table.
More than anything, I want to thank you for the daily efforts you put into making your classroom the best possible learning environment, taking time after the school day ends to provide the best extra support, and developing lessons that meet individual needs of each child.
Individual needs measured by a standardized test that does not differentiate between those individual needs and set up to make those with the highest needs look like failures. Teachers are burned out with your absolute hypocrisy and BS Jack. How many more months? I’m sure all the teachers are eternally grateful they have to spend so much of their day outside of their regular hours that get sucked up with professional development. I’m sure they are real happy about that. I’m sure they love the extreme waste of hours it takes students to take this cash in the trash test. Thank you for not providing the true funding our students need to be truly successful and giving all those corporations their big tax breaks. Thank you for giving the middle finger to parents and basically saying to them “Shut the hell up about what you want. This is MY Delaware,” followed by “If you thought those after-school hours are bad now dear educators, wait until your schools become all-day community centers from fetus to the grave!”
I look forward to following your lead and making the most of all of my remaining days in office to provide the support our teachers and students need to make the most of their talents.
I have no doubt you will spend your remaining days finding new ways to further your corporate education reform agendas for your Wall Street, Rodel, and big campaign donor buddies. Don’t forget Jack, you have to put those final nails in the public education coffin by getting those competency-based personalized learning plans into shape. How long before the announcement that Smarter Balanced will replace final exams and tlater will serve as end of unit tests? Can we take a peak at your stock portfolio? God help us all if you do anything education related at a higher level after you (finally) leave office…
“Not really but I have to play this up…suckers!”
Jack A. Markell
Lame-Duck! Quack Quack!
Perfect Timing On This State Board Of Education Legislation!Delaware State Board of Education
It’s the middle of the day. You are at work and you start to wonder about something you read a couple days before. It was something about education, something concerning students with disabilities. Your son has a disability. Oh yeah, it was concerning suspensions and expulsions. You read it on some blog. It was alarming to you because little Johnny has been getting in trouble at school. You aren’t sure if it the disability or his bad manners. He got suspended a couple times. The State Board of Education was meeting right now to discuss a regulation about it. The blog post rattled you a bit because Johnny could easily be one of those kids. You wish you could go to the meeting, but you are out of vacation days and you certainly don’t want to use up your sick time to go to a State Board meeting. If only they had these meetings later in the day…
Delaware State Representative Kim Williams introduced a bill yesterday that would allow the above worker to attend that State Board of Education meeting at 5:30pm or later.
I fully support this bill. It would allow parents and teachers to attend State Board meetings without having to interrupt their day. The State Board isn’t exactly a paying position either, so it would benefit the State Board members as well. As well, many Superintendents and other school admins attend these meetings which takes time away from their school or district. The timing is perfect on this bill! As parents become more involved in education matters, it is important they have the opportunity to attend these kinds of meetings. About 99% of Delaware school boards meet at night because they know parents want to come. Why should our State Board of Education be any different?
There was a time when both the Delaware Department of Education and the State Board of Education did not hold as much power as they do now. They were more of a compliance body as opposed to the policy setting machine they have become. Even the role of the Executive Director of the State Board of Education didn’t have such a fancy title back then. And that position certainly didn’t run the show like our current one does. Please support this bill as parents, teachers, educators and Delaware citizens!
Major Time Change For January State Board of Education Meeting Due To Governor Markell’s State Of The State AddressDE State Board of Education, Wilmington Education Improvement Commission
This should be interesting. The Delaware State Board of Education will be voting on the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission’s redistricting plan on January 21st at their regular meeting. Typically, their meetings begin at 1:00pm, but on this date it will begin at 9am. Governor Markell is giving his State of the State address this day based on the comment made on the State Board of Education schedule.
Teachers, educators, and parents have commented many times about the inaccessibility of State Board of Education meetings given that they occur in the middle of the day when parents are typically at work and teachers and educators are in schools. As well, this will be a very big meeting with the WEIC vote. For anyone from Wilmington to get to Dover, park, and get to the room by 9am, they would have to leave anywhere between 7:30-8:00am depending on traffic. I have a feeling based on history this is not going to make a lot of people happy. While the time has not been released for the State of the State Address, it is typically in the afternoon. State Board meetings typically don’t last longer than four to five hours, but this will not be an ordinary State Board of Education meeting. The agenda for the entire meeting will most likely go up on 1/14/16 and I will post it here as soon as it is up. I could picture the State Board shortening the meeting by not having too many other presentations or reports from the DOE. I won’t even begin to guess what would happen in the event of inclement weather. But all of this makes the State Board workshop on the WEIC plan on January 11th even more interesting…
Will Governor Markell have to change his State of the State address based on the State Board of Education vote on the WEIC plan? Unless he plans on showing up for the vote??? Maybe someone should try to convince the State Board of Education to livestream this important meeting…
Public comment, as always with the State Board of Education, is not allowed for any action item on their agenda. But as well, WEIC has a formal comment period which expires January 14th.
The DOE Makes It So Easy…Why Do They Do This?Delaware DOE, Race To The Top
Last week, I wrote about the Race To The Top report the US DOE came out with. I saw Delaware’s ridiculously high graduation rates compared to all the other original Race To The Top states and I just laughed. Turns out the Delaware Department of Education was all set to boast of this and did it in record time! I have to redline this joke of a press release. It is begging me to do it. They do this all the time, and I have to wonder if anyone really cares or listens anymore about what they say. It’s so full of their flawed methodology it’s sickening…
Delaware leads RTTT states in college enrollment gains
Delaware’s work to increase its college enrollment rates was highlighted in a U.S. Department of Education report released today looking at the progress made by states under the federal Race to the Top grant.
Say, didn’t Avi over at Newsworks dispute your drop-out claims which you openly admitted? It stands to reason your graduation rates would be affected by that as well! And didn’t you use to not let kids graduate if they did bad on the DSTP? The pre-Smarter Balanced test that everyone hated?
Delaware was cited as having made the greatest gains (10.7 percent) in college enrollment. Tennessee was second at 3.3 percent.
Well la de da! And what does that mean exactly? Does it mean more students are taking all those remedial classes in college you like to talk about so much? But hey, let’s have our colleges and universities make major decisions based on Smarter Balanced! Cause that’s going to work out so well!
Race to the Top also provided Delaware students with more opportunities for Advanced Placement and pre-AP courses. The report highlights how Delaware has supported educators through more direct AP training and given districts/charters increased access to virtual courses. This has resulted in student enrollment in AP courses increasing by 9.2 percent in Delaware since 2011. In the same period, the number of AP exam scores of 3 or higher (on a 5-point scale) has increased 22.2 percent.
Too bad a score of 3 isn’t accepted by Delaware’s colleges. Too bad the bulk of students score a three. That is $90 per course out the window. Be proud DOE, be proud…
In other areas of the report, First State educators were called out for their collaboration during professional learning communities as well as their school team approach to professional learning as part of the state’s Common Ground for the Common Core.
Is there still a teacher’s lounge in every school where teachers sit during lunch, relax, and talk to each other? That is true collaboration! Teachers complain about all the time they don’t have in school. And you actually said the words Common Core instead of the “standards”. You haven’t been watching other states. Those words have become toxic…
“Delaware teachers in every school met weekly for 90 minutes in professional learning communities to analyze student work and reflect on ways to modify instruction to bridge gaps identified in student learning,” the report said.
I’ll bet that was so much fun for all these teachers. You make it sound like it was a party. You forced teachers to do this and most of them can’t stand you for it.
The report also praised the state for listening to educators and adjusting supports to meet their needs: “Delaware and Tennessee had initially planned to conduct large-scale training sessions to help teachers transition to new standards. However, after soliciting feedback from teachers, they changed their plans and brought school teams together for action planning and used the talents of their own excellent teachers, rather than outside consultants, to provide training.”
So why did the Vision Coalition get paid so much Race To The Top money? What essential need did they provide teachers that teachers could have done themselves? Rodel IS an outside consultant DOE, get it through your thick head!
Delaware also was commended for relying on groups of teachers and leaders to provide ongoing input on new approaches or strategies to improve evaluation practices. For example, the state engaged 600 teachers to develop more than 200 assessment “tool kits” that provided rigorous and comparable measures of growth in student learning for non-tested grades and subjects.
More of the teacher cabal over at Rodel/Vision. And don’t our Delaware teachers just love DPAS-II? Please…you disgrace every teacher in this state with this nonsense…
And the U.S. Department of Education lauded Delaware for using RTTT to provide educators with an improved and more comprehensive data system as well as for using this customized data system to help support and manage program implementation at the district level. The digital systems that Delaware developed also made it easier to report and summarize student outcomes.
I’ll bet it did! And where is all that data going DOE? I know, I know, “we can’t send out personal data”. Unless it is for the furthering of education and the fix-its we all know companies love to tell us we need but they never actually fix anything. As State Rep. Sean Matthews brilliantly said, it is “cash in the trash”.
Any Delaware Teachers Know Much About This?Uncategorized
I just saw this on the DOE website under jobs. Doesn’t sound like it can be a good thing in the current climate for teachers in Delaware. I can’t imagine the Delaware State Education Association is a big fan of this…
Special Assistant, Professional Licensure Investigations (Casual/Seasonal)
Among the Delaware Department of Education’s (DDOE) charges is to investigate allegations that an educator violated DE Code Title 14, Chapter 12, section 1218 and determine whether cause exists to sanction an educator’s professional license. These investigations are necessary to quickly and efficiently protect Delaware’s children. The responsibility for processing and investigating allegations of misconduct against educators is delegated to the Teacher and Administrator Quality (TAQ) workgroup of the DDOE. The TAQ receives complaints from citizens of the state and mandatory reports from Local Education Agencies (LEA – charters and traditional schools), investigates the complaints/reports and provides investigative reports to the DDOE/Secretary of Education containing a recommendation for action. The TAQ of the DDOE is authorized by law to investigate reports of specified criminal conduct, violations of misconduct/immorality, and violations of certain rules, regulations, and policies by school system educators. The TAQ through the Secretary of Education imposes disciplinary action or a denial of a professional educator license.
Under direct supervision and in accordance with state and federal laws, as well as agency regulations, the investigator conducts investigations regarding alleged educator misconduct as assigned. Based on fact documentation, testimony, and physical evidence, she/he prepares complete investigative files and submits typed comprehensive investigative reports. The investigator coordinates with the Attorney General’s Office regarding cases on appeal to the Professional Standards Board (PSB). The investigator testifies in administrative proceedings and other proceedings as required.
Read The Survey DOE Sent To Focus School Teachers To Prep Them For DOE IntrusionDelaware DOE
The Delaware Department of Education is naming 10 Focus Schools (think Priority Lite) in addition to 4 Focus Schools which will become Focus Plus. This is in addition to the 7 Priority Schools in Delaware. And it doesn’t look like the soon-to-be-voted-on by the State Board of Education Regulation 103 will ease this plethora of schools the Delaware DOE wants to punish in the future.
As part of their prep work for the new Focus Schools, the DOE sent a survey for teachers to fill out. They gave them a lot of time too. They got it today and it has to be done by Monday. Yes, I said Monday. It is all voluntary, but I digress…
To say some of these questions are very intrusive would be an understatement. The DOE is disturbing me on more levels than ever before. And that’s just in the past two months. What they are doing to education is going to have damaging effects on students, teachers, schools, parents, communities, and themselves. It’s one thing to follow Federal mandate, but to do what they are doing is way beyond what any Federal mandates or even non-regulatory guidance suggest. It’s like poor schools are the DOE’s lab rats and they keep wanting to change the catalysts to completely destroy them. It is a sickening thing to report on, and I hate it. The DOE has no concept of human dignity anymore, and it is shameful. But what can I expect from a state agency that refers to educators as “Human Capital”. But someone has to report this stuff so the public knows what is going on behind all the press releases they send out. “Who watches the watchmen?”
Below is the survey sent to the teachers at these 10 Focus Schools. Did this come from the mind of Penny Schwinn or Christopher Ruszkowski at the DOE?
* 1. Teachers at my school follow an established curriculum and appropriate pacing.
* 2. Teachers at my school routinely differentiate instruction based on data and the needs of students.
* 3. Teachers at my school have a strong understanding of the academic content standards that make-up the curriculum.
* 4. Teachers at my school are aware of effective instructional strategies to promote student engagement.
* 5. My school has a formal process or model for designing lessons.
* 6. Teachers at my school utilize various formative assessment strategies.
* 7. Student progress at my school is monitored regularly.
* 8. Individual teachers and/or teams of teaches set academic goals related to student achievement.
* 9. School or district developed benchmark assessments are effectively used at my school.
* 10. Teachers at my school review and analyze data together.
* 11. Teachers at my school have easy access (electronically or hard copy reports) to student achievement data.
* 12. I feel comfortable using data to inform my teaching practices.
* 13. There is an effective process to identify academically struggling students at my school.
* 14. Our school’s RTI or intervention system is effective.
* 15. Teachers new to my school are given an appropriate amount of support.
* 16. Our school has a difficult time getting good candidates to apply for openings at our school.
* 17. School sponsored professional development activities address my needs.
* 18. I receive feedback on my teaching practices at least once per month.
* 19. There is a process for teachers at my school to receive assistance and coaching when needed.
* 20. Our school has a functional building leadership team.
* 21. Teachers are often asked for input on school matters at my school.
* 22. My school’s most critical priorities are known by most staff.
* 23. Teachers participate in setting school-wide achievement goals each year.
* 24. This year my school has implemented effective strategies to engage parents.
* 25. I feel comfortable talking with school leaders (administrators or teachers) about instructional practices.
* 26. Our school does a good job of utilizing resources (time, money, personnel).
* 27. Established school rules are followed by students at my school.
* 28. School leaders at my school monitor student discipline data and implements effective systems to promote positive student behavior.
* 29. The teaching-learning process in my classroom is frequently made more difficult because of poor student behavior.
* 30. My school has implemented effective strategies to promote student attendance and punctuality to school.
* 31. My school has effective resources in place to support students’ social and emotional needs.
* 32. Students at my school are expected to achieve and conduct themselves at a high level, and students are recognized for doing so.
* 33. Teachers at my school believe students’ backgrounds are major barriers.
* 34. Teachers at my school often stay after school or work on weekends.
* 35. I am excited about the future of my school.
* 36. I believe most of my students are capable of pursuing post-secondary education.
* 37. Teachers at my school are committed to supporting new educational initiatives.
Delaware DOE Plans To Make Teachers Scapegoats For Smarter Balanced Scores, Don’t Fall For It Parents!Delaware DOE, Smarter Balanced Assessment
The spinsters at the Delaware DOE are at it again. They have the Smarter Balanced scores, and they know they are terrible. So how do you get the public behind you? How does a State Department remain unscathed in the whole debacle? You blame. You scapegoat. But it won’t work. One, because I know. Two, because parents aren’t as dumb as you think they are and you have ALWAYS underestimated them. And Three, it makes absolutely no sense at all.
A couple years ago, the DOE wanted teachers to submit potential material for the Smarter Balanced Assessments. This is not a lie. This happened. But it’s what American Institutes for Research (AIR) and their psychometrics division did with that material that made the Smarter Balanced Assessment what it is. The devious ways in which questions were created, the whole “wrong answer is right but a right answer with a bad explanation is wrong” came from the demented people who created this test. The folks behind AIR have been crafting public policy for three quarters of a century. Did you really think they wouldn’t create a test that served their perverted worldview?
Teachers are NOT to blame for what so many of us parents opted our children out of. That rests solely on the Delaware DOE and their contracted vendors. Like the one we have spent $38 million on the past five years, AIR. Delaware teachers also did NOT set the benchmarks for these tests. That was done by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. They set the cut scores last November. And I’m sure the states will adjust them accordingly to serve their own purposes.
The spin that is about to be thrust upon this state most likely didn’t even come from the DOE or Governor Markell, but one of the consultants the DOE loves to hire. Here is a novel idea DOE: if you want to solve the whole problem with the Smarter Balanced scores, just get rid of the test. Problem solved!
Governor Markell Bashes On Vouchers While Also Slamming Public Schools And Opt-Out But Fails To Realize His Policies Are Promoting The IdeaGovernor Markell
Delaware Governor Jack Markell has painted himself into a corner, and his escape latch is disappearing by the day. In an article in EdWeek and also the Governor’s blog on his own website, Markell went to town on school vouchers while opposing opt-out, cherry-picking what schools kids should go to, and glorifying standardized testing. I am against whole-sale school voucher programs, but sometimes there is NO choice.
With the next presidential campaign getting under way, pundits have quickly focused more on the horse race than on where the candidates stand on important issues like improving public education.
Are you promoting anyone in particular here Jack? Someone who is very outspoken on education reform matters that you happen to agree with?
One area that deserves far more attention is the array of proposals to divert public spending on education into private school vouchers or “education savings accounts” that can be used for private and parochial schools, home schooling, and other programs that aren’t part of the public education system.
These other parts of the public education system, would they happen to include charters, magnets and vo-cational schools?
These policies, already enacted in several states and proposed in several more, are a reminder that privatization is not a ready-made solution for every government problem.
Because it would counteract the policies you have set in place in Delaware…
Here’s why these programs don’t produce results for our students.
Neither do yours…
Everyone agrees that solid academics are the foundation for career and college readiness. Yet, according to a review by the Center on Education Policy, numerous studies have concluded that vouchers, the prime example of privatization, “don’t have a strong effect on students’ academic achievement.” If voucher programs are motivated by a desire to improve educational outcomes for our young people, and not simply to divert public spending to private education, then their unsettled and uneven history does not support continuing them.
Is Markell actually backing away from calling this Common Core, or state standards? Wow. Now he’s calling it “solid academics”. Let’s pull out a report from the Center on Education Policy, a very ed reformy group. Say, isn’t Senator Sokola on their steering committee? If vouchers steer public funding to private education, what do you call your seven year policies which have steered public school funding to private companies? You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Compounding this problem is that the private and parochial schools that receive tax dollars are, in many cases, not accountable for providing a quality education to young people, particularly those most at risk of falling behind.
They also aren’t required to provide YOUR education to students, which is why parents are desiring them more and more. And let’s bring out the “those most at risk” card again… you will play this for anything, any topic you don’t agree with.
In the public school system, states are required to establish baseline expectations of accountability through standards and testing. Although hardly beloved, standardized-test scores are the most effective method we have to identify which students need our help, which is why civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the United Negro College Fund have been among the most vocal advocates for statewide assessments. They know it is most often poor, minority students—those who most need our help—who most often don’t receive the education they need. When we don’t provide a valid way to measure students’ achievement and hold educators and schools accountable for their academic growth, those students are too easily forgotten.
We are still waiting on the valid way for Delaware to measure students’ true achievement Governor. But you use your corporate funded measures to label and punish schools that house those students so you can move them over to charters. Let’s see, I’m thinking of a pot and a kettle…
Children in home, parochial, and private schools aren’t required to take state assessments. State officials can’t track these students’ growth to make sure they don’t fall behind. Private school teachers and home-schooling parents aren’t required to teach to the state’s educational standards; and they don’t have to be rigorously licensed or certified like public school educators.
Which is exactly why private schools are appealing to so many parents these days. The fact is, many parents can’t afford them, so the very idea of a voucher system is very appealing. You stepped into your own bear trap here Markell…
Voucher systems also divert millions of taxpayer dollars out of our public schools. While we should respect and encourage parental engagement and choice of schools—including private, parochial, and home schools—for their children, it is not acceptable to divert limited public education funding at the cost of the public schools that serve our communities.
At the risk of repeating myself, but it’s okay to divert limited public education funding to companies, non-profits and state vendors and fatten up our own Department of Education? You reap what you sow Jack…
Public funding for these voucher programs also presents significant policy issues because so many schools affected include a religious component in their curriculum. In general, the government should not be in the business of funding programs or institutions that promote one religion over all others.
They also shouldn’t be in the business of promoting one type of public school over another, or just one curriculum, but we know that’s happening all over the country. Education has become big business for the government. This is pure hypocrisy. You’re just bitching cause the money isn’t flowing to the “right” places…
But being against vouchers for these reasons isn’t enough. Political leaders have a responsibility to articulate a clear vision for what an improved public school system looks like.
Delaware parents are about to keel over and die cause they have been holding their breath for seven years waiting to see a “clear vision” of an improved public school system.
That means using parent choice among traditional, charter, and magnet schools to foster innovative instruction, and hold public schools accountable for giving students the best opportunities possible.
And here we have it, the Governor Markell legacy: Get kids out of traditional public schools by punishing those schools and send the students to “specialty” schools for free. But doesn’t that go against the whole “common standards” ruse? The standards must be the same, but the way they teach them can be different?
It means demanding more rigorous college and career standards like the common core.
The mantra of the corporate education reform movement. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard this the past year, I could afford to send every kid in the state to a private school to get away from this ideology.
It means providing better support for our teachers, including training them to use data about student achievement effectively, and evaluating them appropriately.
Which they won’t get until the kids go on to the next grade and they will use data from a previous teacher’s teaching style to mold their own. But we can evaluate teachers based on another teacher. This is a program with the sole design of pushing union teachers out of education, lowering the pension funds, and getting teachers cheaper. Call it what it is Jack..
It means more dual-enrollment and Advanced Placement courses to challenge students and reduce the cost of college.
And more high school classes exclusively set up to teach to the SAT which will become aligned to the “solid foundation” you spoke of earlier, which will then determine which colleges and courses students choose. Big brother isn’t just watching us, he’s controlling students every move…
It means investing in high-quality early-childhood programs so all kids enter kindergarten ready to learn.
More taxpayer money flowing into the hands of all-too-eager companies to get kids college and career ready while also learning to tie their own shoes….
And it means recognizing that too many of our students arrive at school hungry and from traumatic family situations. Serving these children effectively requires different types of training and community resources.
But you fail to recognize that children from these environments do NOT perform the same as their peers, but you expect them to so you can (rinse, wash, repeat): standardize these students through God-awful tests, punish teachers, convert to charter, pay companies…
I agree with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that policymakers should be “more daring” when it comes to education policy. But that must mean pushing the public school system to improve, not following the suggestions of a number of candidates for president and state lawmakers who would use taxpayer money on unaccountable programs that ultimately cut funding from public schools.
So is the Democrat Governor Jack Markell endorsing a Republican Presidential candidate? Why oh why would he do that? What could he ever hope to gain? (See Arne Duncan). But if Hilary wins, could he gain from that? (See Arne Duncan).
Governor Markell must feel the walls closing in around him. While doing the same to the public school system, he has put himself into such a small box that he is growing desperate. He will attack anything that goes against his beliefs and agendas that make a ton of money for his corporate buddies. But what he doesn’t realize is a very special kind of voucher system he has actually created.
By pushing the Common Core state standards down students throats and forcing teachers to teach to an invalid test, special education students are suffering immensely. To the point where schools and teachers are so afraid of being punished they don’t even know how to implement IEPs for those standards. Behavior issues are rising, and schools don’t have the time to filter through tem to see if they are a manifestation of the disability or true behavior issues. As a result, schools are getting sued left and right by special education attorneys. Those funds go into an educational trust for the students. Which often go into, you guessed it, private schools or homeschooling. Governor Markell created his own monster here by allowing the special education compensatory damage voucher program to thrive and flourish. This is a program no parent wants but so many are forced into it. Chew on that revelation for a little while Jack…
Arne Duncan Wants Parent Participation: Has He Been Listening? Parents Are Opting Kids Out Of Assessments He Endoreses! Wake Up Arne!Arne Duncan, Parent Engagement
At the National PTA Conference in Charlotte, North Caroline, United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave a speech about parent participation in their children’s education. The details of his speech are below, and I am going to make comments for each paragraph.
Parents are critical assets in education. Parents can be a voice for high expectations for children and for supporting educators in creating schools where all children receive what they need to succeed. An excellent education is every child’s civil right; and while our nation has made great strides—with a record high school graduation rate and college enrollment at all-time highs—we have much further to go to ensure that every child has equal opportunity to learn.
My suggestion would be to actually listen to parents Arne. Hundreds of thousands of parents in our country are opting their kids out of standardized assessments that your reign as Secretary has FORCED on schools through waivers and little or no choice requirements. You are right though, an excellent education is every child’s right, which is why parents are exercising their rights to make sure our children are not forced to take assessments that have no bearing on their educational growth.
Parents can play a key role in demanding the world-class education that their children deserve. But, for many parents and families, it can be an uncertain task determining the best ways to support their children or the right questions to ask to ensure their children are learning and growing.
But one thing many parents know is tests like the Smarter Balanced Assessment and the PARCC are not valid methods to determine how our children are learning and growing. Let me ask you Arne… you are Secretary of Education of the most powerful country in the world. Did your education prevent that from happening for you? Was Bill Gates education so bad that he felt the need to change it all? Neil Armstrong? Stephen Hawking? So why do you want to remove that kind of education and make it so all children are forced to be the same? Is it possible there is a lot of money to be made by making it appear children are doing bad in school?
That’s why, today, speaking from the perspective of a father of two young children, Secretary Arne Duncan described a set of educational rights that should belong to every family in America in a speech at the National PTA Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. This set of three foundational family rights can unite everyone who works to ensure that students are prepared to thrive in school and in life. These rights follow the educational journey of a student—from access to quality preschool; to engagement in safe, well-resourced elementary and secondary schools that hold all students to high standards; to access to an affordable, quality college degree.
I actually don’t have a problem with these rules. However, the policies you have set in place put minority students, low-income students, and students with disabilities at an unfair advantage. We can talk Civil Rights any day of the year, but what you have implemented has caused further distances in the education gaps between these sub-groups and their regular peers. And the humiliating way you have disparaged and insulted teachers in our country is shameful.
Parents and families can use these basic—but necessary—elements of an excellent education to build deeper relationships with educators, administrators, and community leaders to support schools so that these rights become realities. At the Convention, Secretary Duncan also noted his hope that parents will hold elected officials and others accountable for accelerating progress in education and expanding opportunity to more children—particularly our nation’s most vulnerable.
I do believe parents in Oregon and Delaware were very proud of their legislators for passing parent opt-out legislation honoring a parent’s right to choose the best education for their child. Parents will hold elected officials accountable once the scores on this year’s standardized assessments come in. They will remember the elected officials that allowed their children to be non-proficient and in need of intervention. Especially those parents who did not encounter these problems before.
Secretary Duncan’s discussion of this set of rights complements work by the Education Department to reach out to parents—from the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships released last year, to tools that can help families and students select the best colleges for their needs, to support of Parent Training and Information Centers and resource hubs.
Is that way the College Board is turning the SAT into a Common Core based assessment? One that will mirror the SBAC and PARCC assessments? And parents don’t need training. We need responsible people like the Secretary of Education of the USA to get his paws out of local education and stop interfering and causing constant disruptions. We all know you want to get rid of traditional public school districts and open up charterville across the country.
While in Charlotte, Secretary Duncan also participated in a “Future Ready Schools” panel to emphasize the importance of integrating technology into the classroom, especially as a tool for promoting equity for all students.
Ah, yes, more personalized learning modules for students to learn from home and then have a teacher go over homework questions in the classroom. That’s very crafty. Teachers won’t need as much education and they will just have to follow a script. We won’t need those pesky teacher unions anymore and we can lower the salaries for these robot teachers. Promoting equity? Are you kidding me? This will ensure that those who struggle the most will continue to be left behind.
To learn more about the rights that Secretary Duncan discussed today and to find other resources for parents and families, visit the Department’s Family and Community Engagement page. And, consider joining Secretary Duncan in a Twitter chat to continue the dialogue about parent involvement in education on July 1 at 1:30 p.m., ET, using #PTChat.
I hope ALL parents join that Twitter party. I will get a lot of parents to come to that fiesta. I hope you seriously answer the questions your advisors tell you “don’t answer that question” if you are serious about wanting parent engagement.
This was written by Tiffany Taber and can be found here: http://www.ed.gov/blog/2015/06/the-critical-voice-of-parents-in-education-2/