Wow! Delaware Governor Carney came out with a press release regarding the recent decision to kill Regulation 225. In his statement, he actually praises Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting for her hard work during this public process. But her hard work in letting Patrick Miller steal money and insult parents in her own district is okay to ignore judging by Carney’s non-responsiveness on the issue. Warning- the following contains wording that is NOT SAFE FOR WORK! Continue reading
“If at any point I thought the numbers I was being advised of by the professionals jeopardized the health of our kids or our staff, we would have relocated the kids.” -Dr. Robert Andrzejewski quote from media brief at Pulaski Elementary School, 10/14/16
I can see your deep and abiding concern for the well-being of students at Pulaski Elementary School in the above picture. Note to readers: this picture is NOT from one of the three classrooms talked about to the press. This is a closet inside another classroom. This wasn’t even talked about in the report. Even though the report said it was cleaned up.
“Our indication from the reports was this was not a building-wide issue, counter to the rumors that are floating around in the community.” -Dr. Robert Andrzejewski quote from media brief at Pulaski Elementary School, 10/14/16
Ah yes, the infamous rumor mill. So easy to pin incompetency on rumors, isn’t it Dr. Andrzejewski. Especially when staff have been threatened with losing their jobs if they talk about it.
“It’s an isolated incident for the kids here and the staff here, but this is something we all need to be aware of.” -Dr. Robert Andrzejewski quote from media brief at Pulaski Elementary School, 10/14/16
Yes Bob A. I can see that “awareness” spreading in other rooms at Pulaski Elementary School. I see full transparency in these pictures. You need to stop. Admit you lied, come clean, and resign. Along with Ed Mayfield and anyone else who is covering this up. You can’t keep hiding mold and other concerns behind threats to staff. You are making it worse.
Delaware WILL get a “Needs Intervention” label for their Annual IDEA Determination from the Office of Special Educations Programs at the United States Department of Education. The Delaware DOE knows this, but they aren’t announcing it. My guess is they are waiting for the “formal” letter to come from the feds before they publicly release this information to the public. Even though they were told this information at least four weeks ago. If I were a betting man, we won’t find this out until after June 30th. I predicted this three weeks ago when I found the letters that went out to the districts and charters.
At the Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens meeting on Tuesday night, the Exceptional Children Resources Group at the DOE gave a presentation to the council on the Local Education Authority (LEA) portion of the annual determination. The presentation was given by Barbara Mazza and Maria Locuniak from the DOE. In this presentation, there were several absolute lies that are in this article, for which I caught them red-handed. It is very alarming they would try to dupe a state council devoted to the improvement of outcomes for persons with disabilities. Continue reading
I just wrote about how the Christina School District is not backing up their promise to restore librarians cut last year. But the district seems to have $200,000 to spare for a new assessment suite. Last night, the Christina Board of Education approved a contract with Curriculum Associates for new district assessments to replace two other district assessments. The contract would give the vendor $200,000, of which $181,200 would come out of local funds. Local funds are what the district gets from the taxpayers. Call me crazy, but I don’t remember seeing a new assessment package as part of the referendum promises. In fact, the state has been actively pursuing an agenda where districts have less assessments (although the one assessment that needs to go, the Smarter Balanced Assessment, wasn’t even considered by the Delaware assessment inventory committee). My question would be how valid are these new assessments compared to the two ones they are replacing, DIBELS and Amplify. While I am certainly not a fan of either DIBELS or Amplify, I don’t see too many other districts using this I-Ready made by Curriculum Associates, designed to make kids better at Common Core.
I have to say shame on you Robert Andrzejewski twice in one day. What is this guy thinking? He needs to go! Paving the Way to a New Christina? Hardly. Paving the Way to a revolt by taxpayers is more like it. So let me get this straight. They lie about rehiring librarians but they bring in new, untried testing? And the board approved this crap?
See the board action item in all its glory:
The United States Department of Education wrote a fluff piece today on Delaware’s assessment inventory. There were obvious flaws in their article. But they did get one thing right, which certainly applies to “the best test Delaware ever made” (quote attributed to Governor Jack Markell), the Smarter Balanced Assessment:
Done poorly, in excess, or without clear purpose, they take valuable time away from teaching and learning, draining creativity from our classrooms.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment is finally defined!
Here are some of the other fallacies in the article:
Following up on its commitment to be a part of the solution, the Department recently released guidance to States on how they can use federal funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to reduce the testing burden and improve the use of high-quality assessments so that educators and families can better understand student learning needs and help them make progress (read the letter to States).
Hello! Part of the solution? You created the problem! How can educators and families help children make progress when they don’t see the answers the child gave? This is all designed to get rid of the tests that give REAL information to better understand student learning needs and help them make progress.
“It’s important for us to know where we have achievement gaps. It is important for us to know where our students are making progress,” King said. “But there are places around the country where there is too much assessment and the assessments are not the quality we want.”
Key words from Acting Secretary John King (and I stress the word “acting”): “…not the quality we want.” Yes, you don’t want them because the whole mechanism by which schools are labeled and shamed, the high-stakes standardized test, is the quality you want. Based on the Common Core standards, these tests are horrible. And you know it John King! You are deluded if you think parents aren’t waking up to this more and more!
All district and charter schools in Delaware were required to complete an inventory of their assessments and submit their findings to the Delaware Department of Education by December 31, 2015.
Who checks the facts at the US DOE? Or did the Delaware DOE give them this information? All districts and charters were not “required” to participate. Many did and many of them got grant money for doing so. And a couple of them recommended getting rid of Smarter Balanced!
A committee of teachers, administrators, and parents from across the State is reviewing the assessment inventories, recommendations, and impact information.
Actually, there is ONE parent on this committee (acting as both a parent and a teacher). She has been to one of the four meetings. There are six legislators on the committee, one of which is also a teacher (but I put him in the camp of the “good guys”). The President of the Delaware State Educators Association is on the committee and one administrator: the superintendent of one of our vocational districts. There is also a representative from the civil rights community on the committee. And that’s it, aside from the Delaware Department of Education members who weren’t part of the original legislation but threw themselves on. Oh yeah, it’s moderated by a woman from the University of Delaware. I love how they make it seem like this is a huge group with an “s” added on at the end of each of the members.
“Our educators, our students, and their parents all deserve the benefits of effective assessments that show when students are excelling and when they need extra support,” said Governor Jack Markell. “At the same time, tests that don’t add meaningfully to the learning process mean less time for students to receive the instruction and support they need. We are committed to finding the right balance, and this initiative is an important part of that process.”
Notice the use of the words “the right balance” in the Governor’s statement? Is this some kind of Jedi mind trick? He is right though. We do deserve the benefit of effective assessments. Too bad “the best test Delaware ever made” isn’t one of them. This initiative was started because Jack Markell didn’t know how to handle the opt out movement in Delaware. He was arrogant enough to think it wouldn’t hit Delaware, but it did. He said all sorts of stuff between February and December of 2015 without putting a lot of thought into what it actually meant. My favorite was when he said the Smarter Balanced results could be used for Delaware universities so students wouldn’t have to take remedial classes. Then he took away the Smarter Balanced Assessment for high school juniors in lieu of the revamped Common Core aligned SAT because too many Delaware juniors opted out last year. Then the University of Delaware announced a pilot program announcing they weren’t going to use the SAT as part of their admissions process.
Brandywine’s assessment inventory found that many of these assessments were not aligned to the State’s standards, did not measure the depth of knowledge required by these new standards, nor included a variety of item types.
Kudos to Brandywine!
In particular, there was limited use of performance tasks that measure students’ critical thinking skills. The district is working with its teachers and school administrators to review, revise, and in some cases, eliminate these assessments. In their place will be high-quality formative assessments, tests used throughout the year by educators to assess whether students are learning content, aligned to the State’s standards that will be given throughout the district.
Oops! Never mind. They are getting rid of what are most likely the good tests but don’t help the students to do well on the Smarter Balanced Assessment, which is the only test that matters to Governor Jack and his band of merry persons at the Delaware DOE! And now we have to go through ten months of the new buddy team of Jack and John. I may be running for the local school board, but I can’t help writing about the utter nonsense in this article. And I am glad my local school district is one of the districts that said the Smarter Balanced Assessment is not a good assessment.
Meanwhile, the world keeps spinning as it has for billions of years, before Common Core and the Smarter Balanced Assessment made children feel stupid…
To read the complete nonsense in full, please go here if you have the stomach for more of this…
Did you ever figure something out that changes EVERYTHING? Exceptional Delaware has done just that. What is it? You will be seeing vague hints to this today, starting with this:
Delaware Governor Jack Markell just told listeners of WDEL he would veto the opt-out legislation, House Bill 50, if it comes to his office. WDEL host Rick Jensen asked if point blank: “Would you veto the bill?” Markell said “Yeah. I never say what I’m going to do to a bill in advance, but I can say I absolutely don’t support that bill.”
He also said Common Core is not a curriculum and it is not federal intrusion or a takeover of American education. He brought up the civil rights organizations opposing the bill, and said students need this.
He also explained his “Alan Jackson” email address to Jensen and said it was so he could get crucial emails and not get bogged down going through hundreds of emails. He talked about how transparent his administration has been. And yet I have not received an acknowledgment of my FOIA request submitted to his office five days ago.
This is a very desperate man with vast amounts of arrogance and conflicts of interest. He needs to be impeached…NOW!
**UPDATED** 6:14pm: this has been updated to include the EXACT words Markell said on air. The clip about this on WDEL’s website right now does NOT include the part where he said “Yeah”.