We Don’t Need More Of Rodel’s Vision To Help Students Succeed

Today in the News Journal, Vision Coalition Chairman Ernie Dianastasis wrote in the Delaware Voice editorial slot about the upcoming Student Success 2025.  Sponsored by the Vision Coalition, anyone in Delaware who knows a thing or two about this kind of thing knows this is Rodel led.  I found this editorial to be very insulting to the citizens of Delaware.  Rodel works behind the scenes with the Department of Education in Delaware, as well as our State Board of Education, to make sure it’s own agenda is heard first.

The arrogance in this is overwhelming:

Our schools have already made great progress over the last decade, and much of this new plan is simply building upon our solid foundation.

It is that very foundation, thrust upon the students of Delaware over the past ten years by Rodel that delivered us Race To The Top, Smarter Balance, and priority schools.  But Dianastasis casts that aside as if Rodel had nothing to do with it.

I don’t need to remind anyone that last year was no picnic.  Statewide tension around Race To The Top, so-called “priority schools”, and the Smarter Balanced assessments led the News Journal to ponder, “is our education system descending into chaos?”

A chaos you created Rodel.  Under the leadership of Dr. Paul Herdman, Rodel has inserted itself into every major education decision and left destruction in it’s wake.  DSEA ran afoul of Rodel last Spring when the State Board and Rodel had issues with items DSEA wanted in a teacher survey.  This caused the TellDel survey to be pushed back until next year.  Rodel should have NO input on something like that.  During the House Bill 50 opt-out discussion, Dr. Paul Herdman actually came off his pedestal to speak against the legislation at a Senate Education Committee meeting, despite the citizens of Delaware advocating for the bill.  If they truly cared what the citizens actually think, they wouldn’t be spouting this nonsense.

And lest we forget, during the priority schools showdown last year, Herdman actually wrote a letter with Rodel letterhead stating “But these six priority schools need to change- dramatically- and the time is now.  Pointing fingers won’t help, we need a plan.”  The letter, read at the Wilmington City Council meeting on the priority schools last October, concluded by Herdman stating “Act with bravery and this community will follow.  This is what is special about Delaware- we know each other- and when there is a good idea, we rally.  Let us capitalize on this opportunity to act.  We may not see another one like it for a very long time.”  By using the word “capitalize”, Herdman showed us all how his mind works.  It’s all about the monetary value, not the educational one.  To hear Dianastasis refer to the “so-called priority schools” is funny considering the priority schools came out of the partnership zone which came out of Race To The Top.  Rodel pretty much crafted the plans for as evidenced by the numerous emails Herdman sent to Governor Markell. They are a non-profit company (although this is highly questionable) who profits immensely from educator misery and has some interesting donations and mysterious hedge fund activity.

The truth is, we aren’t all going to agree on everything.  And no- we don’t claim to have all the answers.  We accept that there will be real disagreements on the margins, but we can’t let that slow us down.

In other words, they know they are trying to blaze the path here and they don’t give a crap what people think.  So they are going to do what they want anyways and the DOE and State Board are going to go along with it because that’s what Governor Markell wants.  It’s been that way since Markell took office, and even before that.  Why should now be any different?  We have Rodel to thank for everything bad in education in Delaware.

The voices of 4,000 Delawareans contributed to this vision.

Okay, now you are just being ridiculous.  I keep track of these things.  Rodel did not have Town Halls with 4,000 Delawareans.  Having a highly publicized Imagine Delaware forum and making attendees fill out survey cards does not constitute a “shared vision“.  I’ll give you credit for having some meetings well over a year ago with a somewhat decent crowd showing up, but nothing anywhere near to minor league ballpark of 4,000.  Don’t buy the Kool-Aid here Delaware!  Rodel is trying to fool you yet again.  It’s funny, when I publicly challenged Herdman, he never contacted me again.  If you want to know what citizens of Delaware really think about Rodel (those who actually know them), this is the place to look.

Dianastatis serves as the Chair of Vision and the Chair of the Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee.  This roundtable and the businesses and corporations they represent are the News Journal’s biggest advertiser.  For two days in a row now, readers of this newspaper have been subjected to editorials by corporate education reformers.  At least today’s IV drip of Kool-Aid inserted into your morning coffee is from someone that actually lives in Delaware.  Yesterday we had the whackjobs at the Fordham Foundation invading Delaware soil to tell us how much our “honesty gap” sucks and that everything before now has been a lie.  The only thing they got wrong was the “before now” part.  But this is what the News Journal has become, Governor Markell and all his ed reform buddies press release.  But really, is that any more insane than this video presented by the very same author as yesterday’s letter?

Student success and Rodel are like oil and water.  The sooner we boot them out of Delaware, along with Governor Markell and his bizarre hipster leaders at the DOE, the better off we will all be.

Corporate Ed Reform “EducationNext” Releases Skewed Opt-Out Survey Results

Paul Peterson and Martin West with EducationNext released a blog post today based on a survey showing 67% of the public want federal testing requirements for students and oppose opt-out.  This is from a survey sent to 700 teachers and 3,300 members of the public.  You know what, I can send out a survey and it means nothing without knowing who your sample groups are.  I know if I put a survey up on my blog that it is going to skew towards my target audience: concerned parents and disgruntled teachers.  I would never base public policy off those numbers.

But EducationNext is led by folks like Michael Petrilli with the Thomas Fordham Institute, a long-time supporter of charter schools and high-stakes testing, so I shouldn’t be surprised.  He is also a fellow at the Hoover Institution, who is the publisher of the EducationNext blog.  So I challenge Peterson, West and Petrilli to show who this survey was sent to.

We found little public sympathy for the “opt-out” point of view.  Only 25% of the public like the idea, while 59% oppose it, the remainder taking a neutral position.  Among parents themselves, just 32% favored the opt-out approach, while 52% opposed it.  Fifty-seven percent of the teachers also reacted negatively to the idea, with only 32% lending it support.  Clearly, the public favors the Senate education bill’s approach to this issue over that of the bill that passed the House.

Clearly is a strong word, and I would want a much larger sample size to base your ideological arguments off of.  Because I really don’t believe 57% of teachers are opposed to opt-out, and aside from the ones coerced into these reformer agenda think tanks, most favor it.

Of these 700 teachers, how many were sent to local district teachers?  Since they represent the largest group of teachers, I would assume at least 75% of the surveys went to them.  But if it was sent to mostly charter school and Teach For America teachers, of course the data would lend support towards exactly what EducationNext, the Thomas Fordham Institute and the Hoover Foundation represent.  Which is the privatization of public schools and the destruction of teachers unions.  As for the 3,300 “adult members of the public”, how many are parents of traditional school district children? How many are charter school parents?  What is the statistical age representation of this survey?  Failure to release that kind of information does not lend credibility to your arguments.

This is the biggest problem in education these days, organizations like yours coming up with these reports and surveys and using the flawed data to mold legislators into your puppets to pass laws off your agendas.  The lines between public policy and lobbyists have become so convoluted that the bias towards corporate money in education has become the norm.  Enough already.  Why does anyone give Petrilli the time of day anymore?