Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal Hates Parents Just Like Jack Markell Does! State Rep. Earl Jaques Pretends New Opt Out Legislation Doesn’t Exist!

Diane Ravitch just wrote about Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal’s veto of opt-out legislation that passed the Georgia General Assembly.  This immediately reminded me of Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s horrible veto of House Bill 50 in the summer of 2015.  Say, State Rep. Earl Jaques, why the hell hasn’t the new opt out legislation, House Bill 60, been put on the agenda for the House Education Committee.  You promised me it would be over two months ago.  Guess it isn’t a priority for YOU so it won’t get on there.  Being the Chair of the Delaware House Education Committee means allowing all education bills to be heard in committee.

Opt out is alive and well.  I may not write about it as much, but it is still happening.  New York continues to have terrific opt out numbers.  It won’t be until July or so until we find out Delaware’s opt out numbers for this year.  That is when the Delaware Dept. of Education releases all the Smarter Balanced information from this year.

Down in Georgia, Jeb Bush’s insane Foundation for Excellence in Education jumped on the veto bandwagon.  Ravitch quoted the Atlanta Journal-Constituion:

“The proposal would have harmed students and teachers by denying access to measurements that track progress on standardized assessments,” the advocacy group, founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said in a statement. “Maintaining a transparent and accountable measurement systems is critical to ensuring students are on track to succeed in college and beyond — and indicates how successful schools are in preparing students for the future.”

Hey Jeb, we don’t want progress on standardized assessments, we just want regular student progress.  These flawed and meaningless tests don’t provide that.  They feed the data whore beasts and waste a crapload of time in our schools.  They stress kids out and the tests are used to label and shame teachers and schools.  Enough already!

New Mexico ACLU Complaint Could Have Huge Impact For Teachers Nationwide

The New Mexico American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint yesterday with the First Judicial District Court of Santa Fe County.  The plaintiffs, five public school teachers and a parent, allege that the New Mexico Public Education Department is violating their First Amendment rights by forbidding them to talk negatively about standardized assessments.

The concerns are serious, touching on one of the most basic functions of government, public education.  They include criticisms that government officials have prioritized profit and politics over public education; have fundamentally changed education, as teachers must now devote significant hours to teaching to the tests, not their students’ actual education needs; and have ignored that the tests are often developmentally inappropriate and traumatic for some students with disabilities.

The teachers and the parent work or live in the Santa Fe and Albuquerque Public School districts.  Both districts give parents the right to opt their children out of standardized tests, but state law forbids teachers from “disparaging” standardized tests.  The teachers and the parent this robs educators of the ability to advocate for students when they have first-hand knowledge of what high-stakes tests do to students.  They also allege these tests give school districts false labels in accountability measures.

I could easily see this case, if not won at a state level, advancing even higher.  It was only a matter of time before this country saw a case like this.  This could have far-reaching implications for opt out across the country.  If the plaintiff wins, it could be used as precedent in other cases across America.  If they lose, I would certainly hope they would appeal.  I truly wouldn’t mind if a case like this wound up in the United States Supreme Court so the decision on parental rights is made once and for all by the highest court in the country.

New Mexico uses the PARCC as their state assessment.

I salute these five teachers and parent for bringing this case forward as well as the ACLU for taking the case.  It is about time people stood up for their own rights, student rights, and parent rights.  I will be following this case closely going forward!  To read the full complaint, please see below:

The Irony Of Mark Zuckerberg & Facebook Jail For A Parent Bill Of Rights For Education

As I look back on the last 20 hours or so, I am still in shock over my Facebook banning.  Frankly, with the thousands of articles I’ve written on here and posted all over education groups on Facebook, I’m shocked it didn’t happen sooner.  It makes me wonder, what was it about this post, a “Parent Bill of Rights” for education, written in reaction to the education reform tainted “Testing Bill of Rights”, that caused this banning on Facebook?  Did I fly too close to the sun with my “Parent Bill of Rights in Education”?  I could hypothesize all day long who may have complained to Facebook, but the plain simple fact is this: I’ve ticked off many in nearly two years of blogging.

But what if it was more than someone just complaining?  Others have been banned from posting in groups before.  But have they had the groups they administer decimated?  The Delaware Opt Out district groups (all 20 of them), the Refuse The Test Delaware page, and Delaware Against Common Core?  While I can see the posts I put on those groups, others can’t.  Why are they restricting others from seeing what I’ve written?  This is censorship at it’s absolute worst.  I would love to know the justification for my two week ban.  What criteria do they use?   I saw their community page, but nothing in my article called out anyone, threatened anyone, bullied, or harassed anyone.  There was no sexual content or nudity.  Nothing remotely bad.  Especially compared to what I’ve written before!

I have to think, whatever is going on, I rattled someone.  So bad, they wanted to shut me up fast.  Which tells me they are worried.  Scared.  On edge.  I’ve always suspected opt out was very dangerous to the corporate education reformers.  But when you encourage parents to demand data on their children isn’t sent out at an aggregate level, that’s a whole other level of opt out.

What scared them is how fast it got out there.  Within minutes of my posting the article to different Facebook groups, it was being shared by like-minded readers.  But the action on Facebook’s part had a rebound effect.  A very big thank you to the always awesome Emily Talmage for announcing my Facebook jail status.  Nobody likes to be censored, and nobody likes to see someone being censored (unless you’re a corporate education reformer).  This caused the “Parent Bill of Rights” to become bigger than I ever thought it would.  Which is more ironic, the fact that censorship led to greater views or that Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook banned a post that actually talked about parents being censored?

If you agree with the “Parent Bill of Rights for Education”, please sign the petition on Change.org today.  Many have signed already.  And if you should want to share this post or the change.org petition on Facebook, please do so.  Until April 8th, I can only write and post on my own Facebook status.  What I learned yesterday was how many parents agree and are in solidarity about the rights of parents and children.  That’s a very good thing.

 

Parents Hold The Key To Ending Destructive Education “Reform”

AbeLincoln

I just saw a tweet from EdWeek about three states participating in a web-based seminar on competency-based education.  This webinar will include Michael Watson, the Chief Academic Officer and Assistant Secretary for the Delaware Department of Education.  Also participating are representatives from the Florida and Tennessee Departments of Education.

There is no stopping the destructive train barreling into the destruction of public education teaching.  It is so embedded into our state and federal governments with vast amounts of money and lobbying twisting the tale so Wall Street investors and hedge fund managers can make tons of money.  I’ve been warning everyone about this for almost two years now, with each new initiative becoming more insidious than the next.  But far too many people either just don’t care or think all of this is really great for students, teachers, and schools.

The Seminar will be led by Karen Cator with Digital Promise.  While putting this under the guise of professional development for teachers, it is becoming more than obvious this is the future of education.  Or at least what the corporate education reformers want it to be.  Parents need to wake up fast because their children’s personal data is going out like the Hoover Dam just burst wide open.  There is nothing holding it in check anymore.  This is the future with hints thrown all over the place:

  1. The Data Consortium
  2. The Tentacles Of Corporate Education Reform
  3. The Marc Tucker Letter To Hillary Clinton
  4. Assessment Inventories And Data Bills
  5. Clinton-Hickenlooper-Markell
  6. Social Impact Bonds
  7. Delaware State Rep. Earl Jaques, Governor Markell, & John King

The future is here.  Opt out is the only way to stop the whole reform movement designed to put children in the same box and carve out their future career paths.  Opt out is the best recourse.  It prevents the massive amount of data about your child from falling into the greedy little hands of Education Inc.  Only parents can stop this train.  We can’t rely on anyone but ourselves.  The “stakeholders” who are supposed to serve as the guardians of the gate are hand-picked by those with the power.  It is all a lie.  Our legislators who truly care are outnumbered.  Our state Departments of Education are stacked with ed reformer employees.  Most of our Governors are all in on these “career pathways”.  The national PTAs, teacher unions, and civil rights groups are all in bed with the Every Student Succeeds Act knowing full well the dangers that lurk within.  Our school boards are infiltrated by those who wish to continue the corporate education reform movement.  Teachers, for the most part, are powerless for fear of retribution or getting fired.  No child in public education is safe anymore unless parents rally and take back the conversation.  We need to do this as a unified front.  We need to do this en masse.  We need to do it now.  We need to be the heroes and be a warrior for education.  We need to cut them off at the knees and the most powerful way to do that is with opt out.

 

Interim Delaware Secretary of Education Godowsky Needs To Learn From New York Superintendent Elia

State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia says she won’t prevent parents who want their children to skip the state’s standardized tests from doing so.

Diane Ravitch is reporting New York State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia will not try to stop parent opt-out.  This is a welcome relief for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers I’m sure.  New York had the highest opt-out rates of any state in the country last spring, and all indications are pointing to these numbers increasing nationwide next year.  Bottom line: parents are fed up and sick of their children going through these state assessments.

In Delaware, we will find out how our state did tomorrow when the mighty Markell and the distorted DOE release the 2015 results for the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  Will they release the participation rate for the test?  Or will we have to wait for the State Board of Education presentation on September 17th for that?  Whatever the opt-out numbers are, they WILL increase in 2016.

I’m already hearing about how districts are bragging that they did better than they thought.  But there is no indication if this is better than the proficiency rates for DCAS from last year.  One common thing I am hearing in Delaware as well as the rest of the country: students with disabilities did very bad on the Smarter Balanced.  Really bad.  Single digit proficiency in a lot of cases…

Will Dr. Steven Godowsky, the Interim Delaware Secretary of Education do anything?  He has been very quiet since the “resignation” of Mark Murphy two and a half weeks ago.  Will he be a Markell puppet or his own man? One thing is for sure, if districts, charters and the DOE thought they had their hands full with opt-out requests this year, they might want to fasten their seatbelts, because REFUSE THE TEST DELAWARE is going to give them a long and bumpy ride!

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?

The Official Delaware PTA Resolution On Opt Out

From the Delaware PTA website:

Delaware PTA Supports Parent’s right to Opt Out of Smarter Assessments

As the largest volunteer parent advocacy association, PTA has always supported choice, a parent’s right, obligation and responsibility to take an active role in their child’s education. We believe that a parent’s right to make decisions about their child’s participation in statewide assessments is part of this choice.

 Delaware PTA will not encourage any parent to opt their child out of the test. We firmly believe each decision and subsequent reason for opting out is unique. We also firmly believe that this is a personal decision that must be made by the parental unit. We realize that while there are parents that support the Smarter Assessments and have chosen to allow their child to participate in the assessment, there are also parents that do not support the assessment and do not want their child to participate in the assessment. We do not believe that it is appropriate to support one decision by restricting another.

 As a result, on March 24, 2015 the Delaware PTA Board of Managers passed a motion to support a parent’s choice to opt their student out of the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

This passage of this motion allows Delaware PTA to:

  • Advocate for a legislative process that allows a parent to opt their child from the Smarter Mathematics and Smarter ELA Assessments by supporting HB 50;
  • Work with parents, teachers and district leadership to ensure that any child not participating  in the assessment receives alternate academic instruction;
  • Address parent/teacher concerns of fear and/or intimidation regarding the parent opt out
  • Encourage parents to continue to collaborate with their child’s teacher to support academic success

We are aware of the state’s plans to convene a task force to assess the amount of testing state wide. We are also aware that some believe this should be our focus, and not the parent’s right to opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. While we do agree that we need to reduce the amount of statewide testing, adopting this singular approach to the exclusion of acknowledging a parent’s right to opt out, ignores the fact that parent and teacher concerns with the Smarter Balanced Assessment go far beyond the amount of testing. We believe both issues should be addressed with fidelity and to do anything less is an affront to the many parents that have invested large amounts of time researching the assessment, communicating with teachers and building leadership and making painstaking decisions regarding their child’s participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

We encourage our community partners, school districts and other stakeholders to support a parent’s choice to opt their child from the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

This is a HUGE step in the opt out movement Delaware parents!  That means more than 6,600 members of the Delaware PTA received a notice about this today.  The opt out movement is so powerful because of word of mouth and free advertising!  Thanks to the folks at Delaware PTA who made this happen, especially Dr. Terri Hodges and Yvonne Johnson!  You ladies are awesome!!!  I wouldn’t be surprised if someone from the Delaware PTA speaks at the Parent Press Conference, April 1st, 5pm, outside Legislative Hall in Dover (shameless plug).

US Department of Education Gives A Case For Parent Opt Out of Standardized Testing

The United States Department of Education sent a letter to school superintendents December, 2014.  This explained to them exactly what student and parents rights are in regards to the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA).  This is the educational version of the medical HIPPA.  In this letter, it talks about when parents can opt their child out of certain events which could cover standardized testing if read the right way!

Page 4, #1 and #7 in the below document gives the best clear reason for opt out I have ever seen.  Under the section for the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, it clearly states:

PPRA may apply to the programs and activities of a State educational agency (SEA), LEA, or other recipient of funds under any program administered by the Department.  It governs the administration to elementary and secondary school students of a survey, analysis, or evaluation that concerns one or more of the following eight protected areas:

1. political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the students’ parent;

7. religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent.

In addition, it states the following:

PPRA also concerns the development of local policies concerning…the opportunity for the parent to opt the student out of participation in certain specific activities…

A case could certainly be made for this if parent opt out ever became an issue in a Federal court.  My beliefs certainly don’t agree with standardized testing in a high-stakes one-size-fits-all environment.  Read the below document and let me know your take on this!

Two Unique Views on the March to Proficiency, Just Opt Out Now!

Last night I saw two very unique opinions about proficiency.  The first came from the blog Minding My Matters and the other came from a commenter named Publius on Kilroy’s Delaware.  Both offered very strong reasons why the obsession with proficiency in Delaware has it’s pros and cons.

From Minding My Matters, this was written here: https://mindingjax2816.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/a-free-bird/

We will never achieve 100% of anything. NEVER. The very concept of perfection is patently ridiculous. There are exceptions to every rule, right? It is ludicrous to expect that 100% of students will graduate from high school with passing scores on any given standardized assessment and go on to college where they will successfully complete a full degree in the expected time frame and find a job and live the American dream with little pink houses for you and me. And in any case, whose dream is that? Even parents get the dreams of their children wrong. What makes any individual competent to say every child should go from Point A to Point B, and should any given child deviate from that course (say, to take the road less traveled), well, that child is failing? And not only is that child failing, but that child should be told he is failing, and that his school is failing and his beloved teacher is failing as a result of his failure.

And from Kilroy’s Delaware, on this comment thread, https://kilroysdelaware.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/christina-school-district-should-give-de-doe-the-three-priority-school-let-markell-choke-on-them/#comment-62772 Publius wrote this:

 “proficiency” is what society is built on. And has been, for a millenium. Imagine a society where everyone is incompetent, do you really want that? I don’t.

The DOE is striving to drive change. State-promoted bootstrapping. The Opt-Outers are resisitng this (and all) change with blind bare-knucke balderdash. Kowalko kwackery.

You are a good front man for the deniers. Your defense of the indefensible is noted. But the inexorable march toward improvement, proficiency, and high performance is a steam roller you should not stand in front of, Stanley.

Publius

Both of these made me really think last night.  What is this march to proficiency and where does it end?  Does it ever end?  I responded to both, late in the evening after a very long day.  I tailored my comments to both with very strong emotions.  One was with compassion and caring, the other with a no holds barred defense of my position.  The latter is not safe for work!  You can read both in the links above.  Both were talking about the same concept but from different walks of life.  One is an educator and union rep, the other a very strong charter school supporter with influence on the conversation.  While blog honor demands I don’t reveal who Publius is, I will say I do know, which lends a unique slant on my comments to him.

Delaware: Email Your State Reps and Senators NOW About Parent Opt Out House Bill in Circulation

We are at a crucial moment with education in Delaware.  Today, State Rep. John Kowalko and Senator Dave Lawson put into circulation a House Bill that would allow parents the choice to opt their child out of the state assessment in Delaware, currently the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  This bill will be submitted next Thursday, so please email your House Representative or State Senator today.  Below is a list of all their names, district, and email.  If you are unable to find your district, you can go to the following website and put your address in to find:

District State Senator: http://legis.delaware.gov/Legislature.nsf/LDS?OpenPage

District State Representative: http://legis.delaware.gov/Legislature.nsf/LDR?OpenPage

As an example, I sent the below to my House Representative Trey Paradee, who I know personally, but I still kept it professional.  Please also include your address and phone number in case they want to reach out to you.  I would have emailed my State Senator, but he is one of the sponsors on the bill already.  And I think he knows I am very much in favor of this legislation!

State Representative Paradee,

Please lend your support to the House Bill currently in circulation regarding Parent Opt Out of Standardized Testing in Delaware.  I believe it is every parent’s Constitutional right to determine their child’s education, and I do not support high-stakes testing that has no direct bearing on my child’s educational outcome.  Furthermore, this current system has been used unfairly to judge our schools and teachers and does not take into account circumstances beyond their control.  Thank you for your support on this critical issue.

Sincerely,

Kevin J. Ohlandt

And without further ado, your 148th General Assembly State Senators and House Representatives:

Delaware Senators:

District 1: Harris B. McDowell III, email: Harris.McDowell@state.de.us
District 2: Margaret Rose Henry, email: MargaretRose.Henry@state.de.us
District 3: Robert I. Marshal, email: robert.marshall@state.de.us
District 4: Gregory F. Lavelle, email: greg.lavelle@state.de.us
District 5: Catherine Cloutier, email: catherine.cloutier@state.de.us
District 6: Ernesto B. Lopez, email: Ernesto.Lopez@state.de.us
District 7: Patricia M. Blevins, email: Patricia.Blevins@state.de.us
District 8: David P. Sokola, email: David.Sokola@state.de.us
District 9: Karen E. Peterson, email: Karen.Peterson@state.de.us
District 10: Bethany A. Hall-Long, email: bethany.hall-long@state.de.us
District 11: Bryan Townsend, email: Bryan.Townsend@state.de.us
District 12: Nicole Poore, email: Nicole.Poore@state.de.us
District 13: David B. McBride, email: David.McBride@state.de.us
District 14: Bruce C. Ennis, email: bruce.ennis@state.de.us
District 15: David G. Lawson, email: Dave.Lawson@state.de.us
District 16: Colin R.J. Bonini, email: senator-colin@prodigy.net
District 17: Brian J. Bushweller, email: brian.bushweller@state.de.us
District 18: F. Gary Simpson, email: gsimpson@udel.edu
District 19: Brian Pettyjohn, email: Brian.Pettyjohn@state.de.us
District 20: Gerald W. Hocker, email: Gerald.Hocker@state.de.us
District 21: Bryant L. Richardson, email:Bryant.Richardson@state.de.us

House Representatives

District 1: Charles Potter Jr., email: Charles.Potter@state.de.us
District 2: Stephanie T. Bolden, email: StephanieT.Bolden@state.de.us
District 3: Helene M. Keeley, email: helene.keeley@state.de.us
District 4: Gerald L. Brady, email: gerald.brady@state.de.us
District 5: Melanie George Smith, email: melanie.g.smith@state.de.us
District 6: Debra J. Heffernan, email: debra.heffernan@state.de.us
District 7: Bryon H. Short, email: Bryon.Short@state.de.us
District 8: S. Quinton Johnson, email: Quinton.Johnson@state.de.us
District 9: Kevin S. Hensley, email: Kevin.Hensley@state.de.us
District 10: Sean Matthews, email: sean.matthews@state.de.us
District 11: Jeffrey N. Speigelman, email: jeff.speigelman@state.de.us
District 12: Deborah Hudson, email: Deborah.Hudson@state.de.us
District 13: John L. Mitchell, Jr., email: john.l.mitchell@state.de.us
District 14: Peter C. Schwartzkopf, email: Peter.Schwartzkopf@state.de.us
District 15: Valerie Longhurst, email: Valerie.Longhurst@state.de.us
District 16: James Johnson, email: jj.johnson@state.de.us
District 17: Michael P. Mulrooney, email: Michael.Mulrooney@state.de.us
District 18: Michael A. Barbieri, email: michael.barbieri@state.de.us
District 19: Kimberly Williams, email: kimberly.williams@state.de.us
District 20: Stephen T. Smyk, email: Steve.Smyk@state.de.us
District 21: Michael Ramone, email: Michael.Ramone@state.de.us
District 22: Joseph E. Miro, email: joseph.miro@state.de.us
District 23: Paul S. Baumbach, email: paul.baumbach@state.de.us
District 24: Edward S. Osienski, email: Edward.Osienski@state.de.us
District 25: John A. Kowalko Jr., email: john.kowalko@state.de.us
District 26: John J. Viola, email: John.Viola@state.de.us
District 27: Earl G. Jacques Jr., email: Earl.Jacques@state.de.us
District 28: William J. Carson, email: william.carson@state.de.us
District 29: W. Charles “Trey” Paradee III, email: trey.paradee@state.de.us
District 30: William R. “Bobby” Outten, email: bobby.outten@state.de.us
District 31: Sean M. Lynn, email: Sean.Lynn@state.de.us
District 32: Andria L. Bennett, email: andria.bennett@state.de.us
District 33: Harold J. Peterman, email: jack.peterman@state.de.us
District 34: Lyndon D. Yearick, email: Lyndon.Yearick@state.de.us
District 35: David L. Wilson, email: David.L.Wilson@state.de.us
District 36: Harvey R. Kenton, email: Harvey.Kenton@state.de.us
District 37: Ruth Briggs King, email: Ruth.BriggsKing@state.de.us
District 38: Ronald E. Gray, email: Ronald.Gray@state.de.us
District 39: Daniel B. Short, email: Daniel.Short@state.de.us
District 40: Timothy D. Dukes, email: Timothy.Dukes@state.de.us
District 41: Richard G. Collins, email: Richard.G.Collins@state.de.us

If you are on the fence with this issue, please look at the below articles which state why this issue needs to be dealt with NOW!

To read the proposed legislation: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/delaware-state-rep-kowalko-and-senator-lawson-sponsor-parent-opt-out-legislation-to-general-assembly/

A suggested opt out letter for parents to use: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/smarter-balanced-opt-out-letter-for-delaware-parents-to-use/

The scare letter you may get from your school or district, and why you shouldn’t worry about it: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/delaware-doe-citing-non-existent-law-against-parent-opt-out-of-smarter-balanced-nice-try-kilroysdelaware-ed_in/ and https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/delaware-doe-stop-bullying-lying-to-parents-re-opt-out-with-your-scare-tactic-letter-kilroysdelaware-ed_in_de-rceaprez-apl_jax-nannyfat-ecpaige-roof_o-delawarebats-badassteachersa-me/

If you want to make it public so there is NO misunderstanding about your opt out intentions, you can attend your school district or charter school’s board meeting this month:  https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/february-school-board-meeting-schedule-go-opt-your-child-out-of-the-smarter-balanced-assessment/

To join Facebook Opt Out Groups for your public school district or charter schools: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/february-is-doom-aka-delaware-opt-out-month-how-to-opt-your-child-out-of-smarter-balanced/

If you want to hear me on the radio on February 11th, get the info here: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/i-will-be-on-wdel-with-rick-jensen-on-211-from-3-4pm-to-discuss-parent-opt-out/

DE PTA Kent and Newcastle County Parent Opt Out Town Halls Scheduled! Register Now!!!

The following is taken from the Delaware PTA website:

Opt Out Town Halls

 Good evening,

As you are aware, Delaware PTA has not taken a position on the parent opt out. We realize that families and community members have very valid concerns regarding the efficacy of the assessment, impact to students and teachers and overall implementation process. As a result, we are dedicated to facilitating open and honest conversations among stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the expected impact and outcome of the assessment, the need for state assessments and parent options within this context.

These sessions will be moderated in an attempt to create an environment that is conducive to an open flow of communication and that will allow sufficient time for Q&A from attendees.

We will post communications and links to resources that the Delaware Department of Education and State Board of Education have provided to us, as well as additional resources from National PTA.

Although attendees will have the option to ask questions during the town hall, you will also have the opportunity to submit questions ahead of time when you register. Both sessions are open to the public, but we do ask that you register for the session so we can prepare accordingly.

The goal of the upcoming town halls is to provide a venue for parents, teachers and community members to come together and voice their concerns/questions and receive clear and accurate responses otherwise not available and/or clear in current printed or online communications from DPTA, DDOE or any other organization.

You may register for one of the following two sessions

February 19th

5:30pm -7:30pm

Delaware PTA State office

925 Bear Corbitt Rd

Bear, DE

 

March 3rd

5:30pm – 7:30pm

Dover Public Library

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The Delaware DOE Is Terrified Of The Parent Opt Out Movement

There is one thing that scares the living hell out of the Delaware Department of Education.  Two words will make or break their education agendas for students of Delaware. Opt Out.

I’ve been going to the Facebook group “Solutions For Wilmington Schools” quite a bit lately and reading all the comments there is one thing nobody is talking about: how student achievement is measured.  This is the flaw in education these days, and parents need to wise up to this fact.  One test to measure all students, schools, and even communities the way things are going.

Nothing against the moderator of this group, but I am beginning to question the true motives of this group.  When I see the title of a discussion post called “Pursuing a New Vision for Wilmington Charter Schools” I see Rodel written all over it.  She’s a very nice person and I have met her before, but I have to remember she is also on the newly named “Schools That Lead” board, which was formerly called the Vision Network of Delaware.  This organization lists Rodel CEO Paul Herdman as a founding member of Vision 2015.  I posted the below information today in response to another individual’s question about the role of the Wilmington Education Committee.  This committee is led by Tony Allen, who also sits on the board of Rodel.

When did the citizens of Delaware allow a non-profit company, that has its hands in so many corporate education reform organizations, to completely change the education of our children?  We have all been fooled Delaware.  We need to wake up, and to do this we need to be brave and decide our children’s education, not companies that seed and feed hedge fund managers and investors.

For the Delaware DOE, Rodel and Governor Markell, “strengthening education” means having students use “rigor” to perform well on a once a year assessment based on the Common Core curriculum. It is my opinion, and many others, this test is not designed to make students more proficient, but to make them less so. For years, the teachers unions have held back certain elements from privatizing education. With the standardized test scores, the Federal Government, through the US DOE and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, have allowed the State of Delaware to judge teachers and schools based on how students do on these tests. Thus we now have “priority” schools where the low-income, minority and special needs populations are among the most concentrated in the state. This situation is playing out across our country as “low-performing” schools are converted to charter schools. We have allowed this to happen by not speaking up.

It is far past time parents spoke up and demanded accountability from our state DOE and Governor Markell. They received $119 million from Race To The Top and entered into contract after contract with organizations designed to perpetuate this agenda. The entire DOE is filled with individuals that either a) adhere to Common Core or b) are former TFA associates or c) worked at other corporate education reform companies.

No discussion of TRUE education reform can occur in Wilmington or anywhere until the construct of the measurement for “strengthening education” is eliminated. This is why it is vital parents opt out now and stop the madness. The Delaware DOE is terrified of parent opt out. So much so that they crafted a letter for the districts to give to parents if they choose to opt their child out of standardized testing. It scared a lot of parents, but the letter states parents are breaking the law if they do this. This is a complete and utter lie fabricated by a very nervous DOE. Without the high-stakes test scores, they would be rendered powerless in Delaware and they know this. They fear a parent uprising against the Smarter Balanced Assessment. This test starts in 36 days. It’s time for parents to stop worrying about the next education reform and how to strengthen schools when this is taking place. ALL DELAWARE PARENTS, CHARTER, PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT, VOCATIONAL and MAGNET: OPT YOUR CHILD OUT OF THE SMARTER BALANCED ASSESSMENT.