The Exceptional Delaware No Response List

Over the past year, I’ve reached out to several people and organizations either for information on articles or to advocate on issues.  I usually get a response, but some flat-out ignore me.  Especially after I publish something in opposition to their stance or actions.  That’s fair.  But at least respond!  And no, anonymous comments made on here with different names do not count as a response!

The biggest one would have to be Dr. Paul Herdman with Rodel, which I made very public on here.  After he blasted me on my Rodel article in an email last November, I emailed him back and asked him to meet at any of the six priority schools.  I never got a response back from him.  I did introduce myself to him at the Senate Education Committee meeting a couple weeks ago…

I reached out to the Delaware Charter Schools Network last summer quite a bit in regards to special education and why they never really talked about it.  They did respond: by blocking me from their Twitter account.  I am not holding out hope they will respond to my latest email to them…

The DOE can be infamous for not responding, but I have to give credit where credit is due.  Penny Schwinn reached out immediately when I had questions about the whole Smarter Balanced/SAT debacle a couple months ago.  But I did call them out on a FOIA response a few weeks ago.  I requested one specific email that I know they sent regarding Senate Joint Resolution #2.  I was told they couldn’t find it but I could pay DTI $300.00 to search for it.  I emailed back and said they were lying.  No response.  I’ve reached out to the Exceptional Children Resources Group a few times and they are hit and miss…

I will say Donna Johnson with the State Board of Education is very quick to email me if I get something absolutely wrong.  I respect that and I will correct things in those situations if I see proof or it just makes logical sense.  With that being said, she has not responded to requests for meetings either…

Lindsey O’Mara, Governor Markell’s Education Policy Advisor, hasn’t responded two weeks later to an email.  After Jack gave a big speech at New America, I asked who pays for this and if the Governor gets any compensation for these speeches.  Zippo from Lindsey on this…

Even last weekend, I emailed the head of the charter school office at the DOE about their part-time charter school monitoring job.  I advised them my blog does about 3/4 of that work anyways, and if they added special education monitoring onto it and made it a full-time job with benefits, salary could be negotiable.  Updated: Just got a response!  And I will add that Jennifer Nagourney is very good about returning emails, even late at night or on weekends!  The charter school monitoring job email I sent was more of a feeler and not an official application.

I’ve sent a couple emails to Delaware Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf to get House Bill 61 on the agenda, no response.  But I have to say, most of the legislators do respond if it is very specific…

The blogger Kavips NEVER responds to any email anyone sends.  This is a blogger that is so anonymous I don’t think he/she knows who he/she is anymore…

The biggest no responder is none other than Governor Jack Markell himself.  I’ve emailed him numerous times about issues and requested meetings.  Nada.  Nothing.  Not even a “my people will get back to you”…

Will this trend continue?  Absolutely.  I’m not the News Journal, so they are under no obligation to get back to a spitfire blogger who doesn’t get paid to publish information.  However, it is always in their best interest to do so, because it makes it look worse for them when I do publish information and their lack of response becomes part of the issue.  In fact, I’m going to email someone at the DOE right now and see what happens…

Is The DOE Turning A Blind Eye For Governor Markell’s Friends At Freire?

Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and the State Board of Education will make their final decision on Freire Charter School of Wilmington, along with three others, on Thursday at the State Board meeting.  But did the Charter School Accountability Committee look the other way for Freire?  It is well-known in many circles that Governor Jack Markell wanted Freire in Delaware.  But why this school?

In my FOIA request to Markell’s office for emails between the Governor and Dr. Paul Herdman of Rodel fame, I got a very weak response.  However, certain things I read in there wound up giving strong hints of later stories.  Take, for example, this email from Herdman to Markell in February 2010 concerning Race To The Top.  Herdman was attempting to get Markell to meet with “top” policy leaders.  Included in this was one Bill Porter, a consultant for the Gates Foundation.  Yes, this is the same Bill Porter who was the former Head of School for Freire when he was ousted last month due to being arrested for assault and menacing charges concerning the March incident when he scuffled with some protesters outside the school.  (As well, this email also has Herdman wanting Jack to meet another “top” advisor, someone named Mark Murphy)

This is Delaware, so chances are the DOE can break the law and no one will care.  However, one of the Midtown Brandywine residents that is protesting the school opening in their neighborhood, had the following public comment at their public hearing the other night:

Below is my final Online Comment regarding Freire Charter School:
This has been a long and difficult seven-month struggle for me and many of my neighbors, in our efforts to be heard and responded to by CSAC and the State Department of Education.  I, and many others opposed to the location of Freire in our small neighborhood, have submitted many online and US mail comments; we have also spoken at several CSAC Public Hearings; so far, to no avail. 
It is my hope that CSAC, DOE, and the State Board of Education will pay careful attention to our neighborhood’s plea to revoke or delay Freire’s Charter due to non-compliance with the City of Wilmington’s Zoning Code, as well as with Charter School regulations. (Our issues re: the Zoning Code are being handled by our legal counsel, Richard Abbott, Esq.)
We have been requesting that the Department of Education require Freire to submit a Request for a Major Modification  to their Charter (BASED ON CHANGE OF LOCATION) since the end of last year.  This Request should be reviewed CSAC, DOE, and the State Board Of Education.  On December 28, 2014 a letter was sent to Secretary Mark Murphy by our Neighborhood Association President, Ben Cohen. That letter was never answered.  Nor were letters and requests  at CSAC Public Hearings by several neighbors.  
This past Monday, I again made this request at the CSAC Final Public Hearing.  I also submitted paper copies of all the oral testimony, online comments, and exhibits that our neighbors and local elected officials have provided to CSAC since February 2015.  In addition to a copy for CSAC, I submitted a hard copy for the State Board of Education.  That paper testimony fills a 2-inch loose leaf binder.
Here is a brief summary of why we are asking for this Major Modification Request:
Freire’s original Charter specified that they would be in a “Flagship” Building at 920 French Street, and everything from square footage to programs was written around that premise in their Charter application.  Apparently, a Public Hearing was held about that location, which is more than 8 blocks from our neighborhood, but we had never heard about it.  Then, Freire was rejected for that location, and chose our neighborhood.  We were never given the opportunity to attend a Public Hearing or object to the location before CSAC made a decision.
There is supposed to be Community Representation on the Charter School’s Board.  There are no members of this neighborhood on the Board.  There are only 5 Freire Board members, none of whom have attended any CSAC or School Board meetings, or responded to neighbors’ letters, until just this past Monday.  Freire refers to “community involvement,” but it has been non-existent.
On the Department of Education’s Website you will find the “Delaware DOE Charter School Modification Application” form.  That document clearly states and requires that Charters submit a Request for a Major Modification due to Change of Location.  This was actually required of the Design Lab Charter, but not of Freire.
Section H-2 of that form requests information about changes in siting; space availability; cost differences; safety; co-locating of programs, etc.  I can’t fully address all of those topics in detail here.  They should have been addressed in a Public Hearing re: the appropriate Major Modification Request that was never submitted by Freire.
Here are some of the changes that have resulted from the Change in Location: 
The school has a single small entrance on a narrow, one-way street.
Traffic is already congested, and child safety will be a concern.
There is no transportation plan; buses cannot fit down our small street.  Freire relies on DART dropping students off blocks away from the school.
There is insufficient parking, as required by City Code.
The school now has $2 million dollars in loans (Barclay’s Bank and McConnell/Johnson developers) and a $800,000 Line of Credit (Barclay’s Bank).
There is no longer a Gym as specified in the original application.
There is no longer a Physical Education program or teacher, till year #3.
There is no longer a cafeteria — but a lunch room and boxed lunches, instead.
There is a  business located on the 2nd floor (Freire will be on the 1st and 3rd floors).  They will be sharing an entrance, an elevator and a staircase.
There is no longer a Head of School; instead, there are two “Academic Heads,” each with only 4 years of teaching experience, and none in leading a school.
Once again, I urge CSAC, the Delaware Department of Education, and the State Board of Education to revoke or delay Freire’s Charter.
Sincerely,
Marilyn J. “Lyn”) Doto

Say, isn’t  physical education a mandatory course in Delaware schools?  If the State Board and Murphy actually don’t honor the state regulation in regards to charter modification and change of location, I hope these feisty residents sue the hell out of not only Freire, but the DOE and the State Board of Education.  What a crock!  And William Porter… a zero tolerance school and that… yet he still works for the organization.  Bill Gates would be so proud!

Rodel’s Dr. Paul Herdman & His Vehement Opposition To Parent Opt-Out Speech

Dr. Paul Herdman with the Rodel Foundation of Delaware gave a very long oppositional speech to parent opt-out and House Bill 50 the other day at the Senate Education Committee.  I’m going to post his full comment, and then I will react to it.  I will be posting various public comments over the next two to three days, and I will include the time stamps from my recording of the meeting to show how much time each speaker was allotted.

Paul Herdman, Rodel Foundation of Delaware, 32:49-38:28

So, my name is Paul Herdman, I’m with the Rodel Foundation. I’ve got three kids in Delaware schools.  I was a teacher myself for seven years.  I’ve worked for two governors in Massachusetts on education policy and I’ve been here for the past eleven years trying to actually bring public and private players together on accommodation around education.  And frankly, this is the first time I’ve actually come and spoken in front of this in eleven years.  And I oppose HB50.  I support the resolution.  What I want to try and to do is two things.  One, clarify the issue.  And then speak to some unintended consequences.  So to touch the issue, I think there is a lot of frustration around testing.  And I think this has become the focal point for a lot of different issues.  You have some folks who just don’t like Common Core, and they are supportive of this because it seems like it’s against Common Core.  You have some who see this as truly a parent’s rights issue.  That’s true, but I think one of the challenges is that some people are concerned about the Smarter Balanced test itself, but there are some who looking at this as a way to invalidate the test overall.  Senator Matthews, who was a sponsor, I mean Representative Matthews, who was a sponsor of the bill in the House, said to the News Journal a couple of different times, one, a teacher, legislator and a member of the House Education committee encouraged all parents to consider exercising their right to opt out of the Smarter Balanced test, and he says further, in a subsequent article, “Kowalko and I are hoping that enough parents are getting out of the Smarter Balanced test, that the data becomes invalid.” (at this point Rep Kowalko interrupts at 34:30)

State Rep. John Kowalko: Excuse me Mr. Chairman, I never made that quote and I never made that statement and I find it unfair that you’re going to quote out of a paper what I said I never said.

Herdman: No, I, Senator…

Kowalko: You said it…

Herdman: Yes, and I’m saying that’s inaccurate.

(little bit of back and forth between Herdman and Kowalko, Senator Sokola steps in, ends at 35:02)

Herdman: Representative Matthews said, I’m just quoting what was in the paper, but, so Representative Matthews, who was a sponsor of this, let’s leave Representative Kowalko out of this issue, Matthews says, that he hopes enough parents are getting out of the test that the data becomes invalid.  Now, the concern with that is that what do you do next?  Right?  So maybe we don’t like this particular test, who’s going to pay for and design the new test?  It takes, right, so how would that play out, because it costs millions of dollars to actually design a test, it takes year to actually do the pilot testing, etcetera etcetera, what’s next?  And the other piece is maybe you don’t want a test at all in terms of math and reading, but that doesn’t seem to work either.  The three unintended consequences that I would just like to point out are 1) virtually every civil rights group in the country and in Delaware have come out to say they oppose opt-out.  So you’ve got everybody in the United Negro College Fund (someone in the audience is heard saying “That’s not true.”), You’ve got the NAACP, you’ve got the Urban League, Latin Community Center, have said they do not support opt-out, and the reasons for that are if you make the test invalid for some students, it makes it invalid for all students.  And the concern is that, for civil rights groups on particular, they’ve been working a long time to make sure those students are counted, and there have been dark days when kids were encouraged to opt out to raise overall test scores.  So they don’t want to return to those days.  The second thing that is an unintended consequence is that if the test becomes invalid, that you undermine the trust in the public school system.  Now we spend a fill third of our budget on education, that’s over a billion dollars.  So the concern is that, that particularly in the business community, that if we do not have a valid test, you’re going to lose trusts amongst them.  In particular, there are folks who are concerned that they just may walk away, that they may not have enough confidence in the system, that in terms of passing referendums and things like that, it’s going to become more and more difficult.  We don’t have a valid test.  Trust in the system is the second piece.  The third pieces that I’ll just leave you with is that we get $90 million a year, in federal funds, for Title I students.  We get those dollars, with the commitment, that we will show how those kids are doing.  These are for low-income kids.  Now, the U.S. Department of Education has written letters to say that those dollars could be at risk.  And when we are facing a $100 million dollar deficit this year, it’s going to be worse next year, we can’t afford to risk losing any of those dollars going into the next year and there’s no, I guess my concern is that the current bill is more than a parents rights issue.  They could have broad implications for our most vulnerable students and could undermine the thing they trust in the public education system if we don’t have a consistent and comparable assessment over time.  So that’s my concern, and I do believe that the resolution could be a more thoughtful way to look at all of our tests and how they are used, cause I believe there needs to be some course corrections but I don’t believe House Bill 50 is the right way to go.  Thank you.

The first thing I want to say is Dr. Herdman is a very good public speaker in the respect that he can be very persuasive with an audience.  I have seem him speak on YouTube, and he masters the use of his hands in luring an audience to effectively listen to him.  During this speech, he used the word “Right?” after several of his points, as if to reaffirm his statements to which most people would say “Yes” in their head.  I didn’t because I have super powers to render myself immune to that sort of thing, but many people could fall under that spell.

I disagree with most of Dr. Herdman’s comments.  I don’t believe trying to link public and private players has provided a good outcome for education in general.  It has brought more inequity than not.  Dr. Herdman is paid very handsomely to promote the Rodel Foundation’s agendas for education, more than any state, district, or charter employee in Delaware, and by a very wide margin.

The very same civil rights groups Herdman talks about are the same ones that represent vulnerable students the Rodel Foundation of Delaware has helped to put in a position of segregation in Delaware with their constant advocating for more charter schools.

I’ve already gone through the financial funding threats so many times, but for the record, one more time, that’s if the schools opt kids out, not parents.  But let’s bring that old chestnut out one more time.  In regards to returning to those “dark days”, Rodel’s actions have brought much more of the actions of those days than anything parent opt-out (not school opt-out) could ever do.

I have no qualms with Rep. Matthews quote in the News Journal, which he did say.  If a parent is going to go to all the trouble of opting their child out of a three day test, it would stand to reason it is because they don’t like the test.  If someone doesn’t like a test, of course they would want it to go away.  It is also very logical to assume if enough students are opted out the data the Rodel Foundation and the DOE want so badly would be rendered inert.  This isn’t a leap in science, and I fail to understand why Herdman would paint Rep. Matthews as the bad guy here.  I guess every side needs a villain, right Paul?

“Virtually every civil rights group in the country…”  This is completely false Dr. Herdman, and you know it.  28 national groups wrote a letter to the U.S. Congress in regards to the ESEA reauthorization in January and touched very briefly on the importance of these tests for the minorities, special needs, and low-income children they represent.  But in the beginning of April, only 12 remained to voice opposition of parent opt-out.  And as Kilroy pointed out so brilliantly, how many of those very same organizations are at the exact same physical address where your office is?

“If the test becomes invalid, you will undermine the trust in the public school system.”  If the test becomes invalid, this would validate the complete lack of trust we have in the test-makers, the DOE, and Governor Markell in terms of education.  And yes, it would invalidate your 11 years of work in Delaware as well, and that is your biggest fear in my opinion.  If Rodel and the Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce are so concerned about potential deficits in Delaware, perhaps they could cash in their numerous hedge funds and actually fully support education, not just the ones they support for their own financial benefit.

Live From The Senate Education Committee Meeting Discussing House Bill 50: Parent Opt-Out

The Senate Education Committee in Delaware is about to hear House Bill 50, the parent opt-out bill.  The bill already cleared the House in Delaware by an overwhelming majority, 36-3.  This is the next stop on the bill’s journey.  There are lots of proponents and opponents of this legislation here today.  If it passes here, it goes to the full Delaware Senate.  If it is voted down today in committee, the bill is dead.

Who is here?  Representatives from the Delaware Department of Education. Governor Markell’s Education Policy Advisor, Lindsey O’Mara.  Dr. Paul Herdman with the Rodel Foundation of Delaware.  Red Clay Educators Association President Mike Matthews.  Delaware PTA Vice-President of Advocacy Yvonne Johnson.  Executive Director of the Delaware State Board of Education Donna Johnson.  Wilmington Education Advisory Commission Chair Tony Allen.  John Radell with the Faith & Freedom Coalition.  Bill Doolittle with the Delaware PTA and also a member of the Governors Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens.  And More!

House Bill 50 is up first.

Senator Townsend is speaking about how frightening this issue is for parents to be this worried.  He is upset there wasn’t years of research done on this issue and the Smarter Balanced Assessment has not been proven.  Parents want to see a test that works.  He wants us all to work together to decide the issues.  He has to go to another committee meeting but he will vote yes for releasing the bill.

Senator Lawson, one of the co-sponsors of the bill, is speaking about the bill.  “Parents should in fact have the right to opt-out.  This lays it out so they can under Delaware law.  Senator Sokola is upset this test is aligned to international standards.  He would put in an amendment to allow parents to get the reasons for the test.   He is talking about an email from a 3rd grade teachers about all the testing going on.  He thinks if parents can opt out of this test, they should be able to opt out of all of them.  This is why he introduced Senate Joint Resolution #2.  “We all want what’s best for our kids.”  He doesn’t like the amount of time between the actual Smarter Balanced Assessment testing and when the results show up.  He refers to No Child Left Behind as No Challenge Left Behind.  He said the DSTP (the first major standardized test in Delaware) did give him a little bit of heartburn.

Senator Dave Lawson is talking about how the test has changed 3 times and how $70 million from Race To The Top went towards this test and the desired results.  Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy is speaking about children’s “educational journey to excellence”.   He is talking about how we use this measurement to understand what’s working, how we allocate budgets, which schools need which resources.  “We are testing too much.”  He is now talking about the assessment inventory, and whether the tests have quality or if they are redundant.  “These assessments help to unlock doors.”  “We all need this information to move forward.”

State Rep. Kowalko came in.  He is going over the essential facts concerning House Bill 50.  He is talking about the lack of law on opt-out which is for or against.  “This is not an indictment against Smarter Balanced Assessment or Common Core.”  He and Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, President of the State Board of Education, had an interview with WHYY earlier today.  He told her and he is telling the committee how this test is not needed and parents see this.  “If a parent feels…this can harm (their child) psychologically, they have that right.”  “It’s about parental rights, pure and simple the rights of the parents.”

Sokola has a problem with the local districts and the amount of money they spend on tests.  He served on an international committee going over the assessments, and all the kids are taking these tests in the high-performing countries of the world.  In no country, other than this country, are they taking these tests every year.  “If kids aren’t learning, we have to figure out a way to teach them.”  Kowalko said “It would be disingenuous for parents to opt their child out of any test.”  There is no track record in place, he explained, but the bill does not say we are getting rid of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  “All we are doing is giving an opportunity for those who know their child best.”

Sokola asked why it was changed to just the SBAC.  “What happens in two years if we change to the PARCC?”  (Dear lord, no!!!).  Kowalko explained that he didn’t want to shut the door prematurely if a test is designed that will give the results that matter.  Sokola said this was why he introduced SJR #2.  “We have real important issues we have to change.”  This test is needed, according to Sokola, to help students that are having issues.  He said “We can get real good data from this.”  Kowalko spoke about the many emails he received from parents regarding the psychological damage done to parents and students over this test.

Bob Byrd with the Delaware Business Roundtable is speaking about their group’s opposition to this bill.  “We think this is the wrong thing to do at this particular time.”  He presented a letter from their chair, Ernie Dianastisis.  Lorraine Gloede is speaking about how her neighbor opted her child out and there was definite repurcussions for his child in opting out.  John Radell said every professional in the country are saying this test is not proven.  “It is a disaster around the country.”  “This is an experiment.”  He said children should not be guinea pigs.  “We don’t need more gimmicks!”  We are testing kids based on empty skillsets.  These kids don’t have time to be told six years down the road to find out this test doesn’t work.

Dr. Paul Herdman from Rodel Foundation is speaking.  He has three kids in Delaware public schools.  He has tried for eleven years to bring public and private education together.  He opposes HB50.  He said there is a lot of frustration around testing.  He is referring to House Rep. Matthews News Journal opinion piece and how he said “He hopes that enough parents are getting out of the test that the data becomes invalid.”  His concern is what’s next, and all the expense gone into this.  “Every civil rights group in the country has come out against opt-out.”  If you make this test invalid for one student, you make it invalid for all students, according to the civil rights groups.  “We undermine the trust in public education.”  He said we get $90 million dollars a year from federal funding for Title I students, low-income students.  His concern is can we afford to risk losing these funds when we are already facing a $100 million dollar deficit in this state.  “I don’t believe House bill 50 is the right way to go.”

The Delaware Chamber of Commerce spokesperson is speaking in opposition to the bill.  They oppose HB 50 and support SJR #2.  Mike Matthews is talking about how it is business group’s rights to talk about education, but they aren’t advocating for higher wages for the parents of low-income students.  Yvonne Johnson is speaking about how she has never received so many emails and complaints in her many years with the PTA as they have with the SBAC.  She is opposed to SJR #2.  She doesn’t think SBAC is the answer to our children.  HB 50 is a symptom to a larger problem.  “No one is losing federal funding.” I spoke next and railed against the whole Smarter Balanced Assessment and how it is dangerous. Senator Sokola cut me off stating I was repeating things as I brought up the never-talked about in this meeting letters from the DOE indicating how it was illegal to opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. He said they have other bills to hear. Dr. Teri Quinn Gray spoke about the need for this data and how she is there to speak for the students. She was not cut off as she was allowed to speak much longer than myself. Tara Greathouse spoke and was cut off by Sokola when she asked questions about what is best for her children.

Due to other committees in session, the bill is being circulated so we do not know the results yet.

**UPDATED** 5:02pm, still no word on House Bill 50 and whether it has been released from the Senate Education Committee.

House Bill 50 Back In The Saddle For Senate Education Committee Meeting 6/10/15, 3pm

As committee meetings were posted on the legis.delaware.gov website today, I kept waiting to see the Senate Education Committee meeting posting.  It is finally up, and it is just House Bill 50 and Senate Joint Resolution #2.  I expect, to borrow some words from the Delaware DOE, a lot of robust and rigorous conversation around these two educational matters.  I did hear Senator David Sokola tell State Rep. John Kowalko House Bill 50 would be heard first the other day, so I fully expect Sokola to keep his word.

I have not received a response to my request for House Bill 50 to be petitioned out of committee by any member of the Senate leadership, but given that the past couple days have been about Beau Biden’s viewing, I didn’t expect to.  Here is the official agenda:

Chamber: Senate

Chairman: Sokola

Location/Room: Senate Hearing Room

Date/Time: 06/10/2015 03:00:00 PM

Revision Num:

Agenda

SJR 2 DIRECTING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO STUDY STUDENT ASSESSMENT TESTING.
Sponsor : Sokola


HB 50 w/HA 1 AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO EDUCATION ASSESSMENT.
Sponsor : Kowalko


Comment: Introduction, Approval of Meeting Minutes, Agenda, Other items that appear before the Committee, Adjournment *Agenda Subject to change

Meeting Minutes:

I have to wonder if the same folks will show up.  I imagine there will be a lot more parents there since the agenda is lighter.  From what I understand, there were several parents outside of the meeting room the other day but were unable to come in because the room was at capacity.  I know Dr. Paul Herdman from the Rodel Foundation of Delaware was going to give public comment on House Bill 50 the other day, so it will be interesting to see if he returns and what he has to say about all this…

The Wolf of Delaware Part 1.5: Comment Rescue and The Wolf’s Intentions

Hope For Our Students had a brilliant comment on Part 1 of The Wolf of Delaware that I thought deserved it’s own post.  This is what Hope wrote:

“Globalization of the world market” translates to the U.S. invitation to join the Organsation of Economical Cooperation and Development (OECD) which today has 34 country-members (the United Nations has 193); so hardly a global market. The percentage of <18% may seem small, but *”OECD member countries account for 63 percent of world GDP, three-quarters of world trade, 95 percent of world official development assistance, over half of the world’s energy consumption…”

The rest of the summary is a corporate sales pitch using inaccurate PISA comparative test data to influence education policy makers of the need for education reform. This sales pitch has been regurgitated by education reformers ever since. Today, we know the data in the original reports was inaccurate for many, many reasons. Most importantly, the OECD recanted it’s original claim that poorly performing teachers and low standards were the most likely reason for poor performance of students in the United States. In 2013, the OECD issued this statement, “We know the best way to improve test scores is to lower child poverty rates and build a sense of “community” within a country’s citizenry”,

As far as the “Wolf” is concerned, he believed the sales pitch and bought the elixir from the traveling salesman like many, many others did at the time (within both parties). The problem is, he is still swearing by the product which he now knows was a hoax and it makes him look more foolish than ever. The question is, when did he stop being a victim of false advertising and perpetrator of the swindle on Delaware families? I am hopeful, The Wolf Part 2 will answer that question.

*http://usoecd.usmission.gov/mission/overview.html

I am very much inclined to agree with Hope in just about everything they wrote, with one major exception.  I do not think the Wolf was a victim of false advertising.  I think he was very much aware all along of the sales pitch.  Let’s not forget, Tough Choices was released in 2007.  The Wolf and his buddy over at Rodel were knee-deep in education reform two years earlier.  But I think the roots of this began before that.  He was just positioning himself to be at the right place at the right time when it did come around in full swing.  More on that later…

Parent Press Conference Went Very Well, Big House Bill 50 News!!!!

PPC#1

The Parent Press Conference on Delaware Education today went amazingly well!  About 25-30 parents came out, and many of the major Delaware media outlets were on hand as well.  Some parents from up north were unable to make it do a very nasty stomach bug making it’s appearance up there, but there were many familiar and unfamiliar faces there.  I gave an opening speech:

Thank you all for coming out today. My name is Kevin Ohlandt, and I am a proud father of a wonderful 5th grader in the Capital School District. I would like to recognize Delaware State Rep. John Kowalko and Delaware Senator Dave Lawson from the 148th General Assembly for joining us. As well we have State Rep. Kim Williams in the audience today. Both John and Dave are the co-sponsors on House Bill 50, which is the parent opt out bill. This legislation would codfify the parental right to opt out of the state standardized assessment, which is currently the Smarter Balanced Assessment. In the details of the bill, no student would be penalized for being opted out, and the student’s opt out data would not become a part of the school’s accountability ratings.

Since this bill was first announced, other legislators have made comments such as “This bill will never pass” or the Smarter Balanced Assessment is just a “little test”. When the opt out movement in Delaware began in earnest earlier last month, many parents were frightened or intimidated by certain school districts in our state. They received letters and emails from districts which included the following types of language:

-“Only students who have an extreme medical condition or a mental health can concern may be precluded from taking the assessment.”

-Making parents sign a waiver indicating “Despite this legal requirement for state testing, I elect NOT to have my child tested for the 2014-2015 school year and that my child will be counted as “absent” for purposes of testing.”

-“You will have to go to the DOE to get a form.”

-A superintendent saying “I’m the only one who can say who does not have to take the test.”

The reason much of this confusion began in the first place started with the Delaware Department of Education. In early December, they issued suggested guidance to school districts to handle the issue of parent opt out. This included having schools issue letters to parents indicating details regarding the Delaware state code and the state assessment. For three months, they watched school districts cite this code and knew it did not include parents in this part of the law. Parents felt intimidated and bullied by schools and the DOE let it happen. It wasn’t until the Delaware PTA had town halls concerning opt out that the Delaware DOE was forced to admit they can’t do anything to stop parent opt out. They said as a state they can’t legally do anything and it is up to the districts. There is no consistency among the districts in Delaware. Some have complied with parents in their requests, and some have flat-out said no, and that their child will test. I have seen an email where one director of curriculum stated he was afraid too many of the “smart” kids would opt out which would affect the school’s rating. As well, threats of Federal funding cuts to our schools are unsubstantiated based on other states not meeting the mandatory 95% threshold for testing participation in each sub-group. Over 40 schools in New Jersey did not meet these guidelines last year and not one single school received any cuts in funding. Continue reading

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.

Did Non-Related Transparent Christina Blog Post Affect Family Foundations State Board Decision?

On January 15th, the Delaware State Board of Education rendered it’s decision for Family Foundations Academy.  The vote was 6-1.  The sole “nay” vote came from Dr. Terry Whittaker.  I arrived as the vote was rendered, so I was unable to hear the earlier discussion.  I was very curious why Whittaker would have voted no, so I listened to the digital audio recording provided here, and the discussion around Family Foundations charter renewal starts about ten minutes into the recording here:

http://www.doe.k12.de.us/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&ModuleInstanceID=3985&ViewID=E324842B-E4A3-44C3-991A-1E716D4A99E3&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=12479&PageID=1770

A couple minutes into it, I noticed some back and forth between Whittaker and State Board President Dr. Teri Quinn Gray in regards to people sitting on multiple boards.  Here is a transcription of this part:

*Prior discussion about Eastside Charter board members coming to Family Foundations Academy to also serve as board members there.

Dr. Terry Whittaker: So they’re considered from two different charter boards?

Jennifer Nagourney: Yes

Patrick Heffernan: How many members are on the board?

Nagourney: At this point there are 7

Heffernan: Cause that’s usually in the bylaws, right?

Nagourney: In the bylaws, yes.

Gregory Coverdale: January 30th is the date the financial manager will be appointed?

Nagourney: That is the date we will need information about who that person is, yes.  As described in the January 12th letter the board is already kind of at work at identifying a transition plan, and obviously bringing the financial (Gray cuts her off)

Dr. Teri Quinn Gray: Was that the letter from Mr. (couldn’t understand name)

Nagourney: And bringing the finances into compliance is Priority 1

Whittaker: I still don’t understand the dual boardmanship role (Gray cuts him off)

Gray: So Miss Kershon, could you explain if there are any specific restrictions or… (Whittaker cuts her off)

Whittaker: Seems like it’s a conflict of interest (Gray continues not even acknowledging Whittaker’s statement)

Gray: …around any individuals serving on multiple or more than one charter boards?

Woman speaking: Under the charter school law a board member can not also be an elected board official in a local school district but there’s no prohibition about sitting on two charter school boards.

Coverdale: I guess it would be similar if someone sat on a bunch of non-profit boards.

Gray: So are we clear about the distinction?

Whittaker: I’m just trying to figure out possibilities of conflicts of interest. That’s my concern.

Donna Johnson: It’s my understanding, if you could clarify Miss Kershon, that that does alread happen, that there are board members who sit on various charter boards?

Miss Kershon: I believe that there are.  There’s no apparent conflict of interest here because the school’s aren’t competing or purchasing from each other or there’s not that kind of fiduciary relationship.  It’s an independent board so there doesn’t appear to be a conflict unless identified by someone.  The law doesn’t prohibit it.

Now where this gets very interesting, and you wouldn’t even make this catch unless you knew about a post by Transparent Christina on December 28th, 2014.  This article revealed that State Board of Education President Dr. Teri Quinn Gray sits on the board of the U.S. Education Delivery Institute.  Not a big deal, right?  However, this company received over $250,000.00 from the Delaware Department of Education as a result of Race To The Top funding.  It would seem to me that as State Board of Education President sitting on another board that DID have a fiduciary interest with the organization she supports as President of the State Board overseeing that department would count unequivocally as a very clear conflict of interest.  Did Whittaker catch this and without saying it outright, advise Gray he knew about this and he was letting her know that he knows?  She cut him off two times, and he made sure he got the words “conflict of interest” in there.

As if this isn’t enough of a coincidence, at the end of the meeting, Dr. Gray seemed very upset and almost stormed out of the room, looking visibly upset about something.  This could just be conjecture on my part, and I’m sure neither would confirm this, but it makes you think…  And it also makes me wonder how many board members benefitted from Race To The Top as a whole.  We all know Paul Herdman sits on various boards of the companies that got a lot of money from Race To The Top…

I can not wait for the February 18th House Education Committee meeting to go over exactly how Race To The Top funding was spent!

 

Rodel and Paul Herdman’s Vision For The Future

 

After reviewing my FOIA request to Governor Jack Markell, I started to wonder why I have more questions than answers.  Why was there such a disconnect between the Rodel Foundation of Delaware and the Vision Network in recent years?  It’s obvious Herdman runs the show for Rodel and Vision.  I began to question what the Vision Network has been up to. So I looked at the Vision Network website.  Take a good look at the Vision Leadership and Steering Committees.  Take a good long look at the names on here.

The Vision Coalition Leadership Team include members from a broad range of public, private, and civic groups. The members meet regularly to align efforts, evaluate progress, and sustain momentum. Membership on the Coalition’s Leadership Team has evolved over the past nearly ten years since its establishment, with all major stakeholder Delaware education organizations remaining committed to the plan and Coalition, and have sustained representation on its leadership group. Continue reading

The Governor Markell FOIA Release: Rodel, Herdman, RTTT, Common Core, and guess who’s coming to town…

For those who may not be aware, I requested a Freedom of Information Act request from Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s office on December 3rd, 2014.  I received it today, January 12th, 2015.  My request was for all emails between Markell and the following individuals: US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein (of Amplify) and Paul Herdman of The Rodel Foundation of Delaware.

Some things are obvious from this FOIA release.  Governor Jack Markell does not communicate big education matters via email.  At least not his official state email.  For a Governor that pushes education so much, you would think there would be more communication with his partner on the Education Blueprint.  Some questions that are answered in this: Continue reading

The Priority Schools FOIAs Part 2

Part 2.  These are long reads, but there is a lot of information in these!

The Christmas Legend of Jack and Paul: The Birth of Common Core

Many years ago, ten years ago to be exact, a legend began.  It was whispered to citizens of Delaware through the years but nobody ever knew if it was true.  When people would try to find out the truth, they were met with half-truths or outright denials.  This is the story, unverified with any credible source, and how I heard it from a stoned DOE employee at Firefly one summer.

One Christmas Eve, Delaware Treasurer Jack Markell and Rodel CEO Paul Herdman met at a tavern.  Markell wanted more from his political career, and Herdman had just been given a lofty position at Rodel.  They were both at a crossroads in their careers, and they decided to vent to each other.  This is the conversation that has passed down from teachers to students, from hedge fund managers to investors, from Comcast ticket vendors to charter school superintendents.

Jack: I don’t know what to do Paul.  I’ve been treasurer for years, and it’s all about the money.

Paul: Uh, yeah Jack, it kind of is.

Now Jack had arrived early at the tavern, and started drinking hours earlier.  By the time Paul got there, Jack was already three sheets to the wind.

Jack: I want to make my mark on Delaware.  I want to go down in history, like Santa.

Paul: I’m glad you mentioned that Jack, because I have a vision.

Jack: You’re from the future?  You know what’s going to happen?

Paul thought about it, and realized he could take advantage of this.

Paul: Yes I am from the future, and yes, I know what will happen with you Jack.  What if I told you me and some friends of mine have a 20 year plan to take over education, not only in Delaware, but across the whole country? We are meeting in a few weeks to get things going.

Jack: Just don’t make it on Minner’s inauguration.  I have to go.  Your friends, are they from the future too?

Paul: Yes, they are Jack.  Say, do you want another drink?

Jack: Oh yes Paul, I would.  Thank you Paul.

Paul shrugged and ordered another Zima for Jack.

Paul: You know this No Child Behind crap they’ve been peddling from D.C.?

Jack: Whose child got left behind?  Was this at Safeway?

Paul: No Jack, all the kids.  They deserve better in our schools.  What if I told you we can all become rich?  You, me, my buddies?  What if I told you we can bust the teachers unions, get cheap teachers fresh out of college, make kids take tests that make absolutely no sense, and you could be Governor one day?  All we have to do is make LOTS of charter schools.

Jack: But what happened to the kids at Safeway?

At this point, Paul realized Jack was incapable of fully understanding what the hell he was talking about.  He decided to get Jack some dinner rolls to soak up some of the Zima that was poisoning his mind.  Paul couldn’t figure out how much bread Jack would need to do the job.

Paul: Jack, you’re a numbers man.  How much bread would it take to get you sober?

Jack: If you take a whole loaf, divide it by 20, but only in groups of 4 and then add 5, that should tell you what year it was made.

Paul snickered in his mind.  This was exactly the kind of math his cabal wanted to get out there.  It made no sense at all, but they could brainwash parents into thinking this was what kids need to know for college and to compete against kids from China.  Paul ordered the bread, and after hours of talk about Safeway, and comparing it to Acme and Redners, Jack began to sober up a bit.

Jack: Did you say something about Governor Markell earlier?

Paul: Yes I did Jack.  The 2008 election is a ways off, but we can plant the seeds now.  Like I said earlier, I have a vision…

Jack: Cause you’re from the future, right?

Obviously Jack was still on the tipsy side, but not fully immersed in complete drunken foolery.  His mind was like play dough now, and Paul knew he had him.

Paul: Yes Jack, I’m from 2025.  All you have to do is do everything I tell you to do, and you will become a very important man. 

Jack: Woah, you’re the vision man!  Like the Avenger.  But from the future.  No matter what year we get to, you’ll know what’s going to happen.  Vision 2012 Man, Vision 2015 Man!  The education man! Future boy!  Ed25 man!

Paul: Those are great names Jack, but you are the public face.  You will lead the charge for education reform in this state.  We’ve been playing around with names for this new “reform”.  We’ve come up with Common Standards, Core Basics, and Education Vision.  What do you think of those?

Jack: You said core.  And when I think of education, I think of an apple.  And since I will be leading this, why don’t we call it Apple Jacks?

Paul: That’s a great idea Jack, but Apple Jacks is already trademarked. 

Jack: Dammit!  Let’s get back to the core idea.  We need something common, like a common core all kids can get to.

Paul: That’s it Jack!  You did it. We’ll call it Common Core!  Let’s get a drink!

As Jack got another Zima, Paul sucked down his mimosas.  The two were laughing and joking through the night.  As the two bonded and hatched their plans, the dynamic duo began slurring words.  Meanwhile, Santa Claus was delivering all the presents to the little boys and girls around the world.

Paul: You know what Jack, if you do my bidding, I will make sure you are WELL compensated.  I’m going to give you a piece of Rodel.  The prize will be yours!

Jack: A piece of what Paul?  What did you say?

Paul: A piece of Rodel.  A prize.

Jack: Did you say pizza?  Chicago has the best pizzas.

Paul: No Jack.  I said Rodel.  Piece.  Prize.

Jack: The Nobel Peace Prize?

Now Paul knew Jack loved to have his ego inflated.  So he knew giving Jack something he would never actually get would help his cause.  There had to be an end point to Jack’s wild imagination, and what would feed the ego more than the Nobel Peace Prize?

Paul: Yes Jack, you will get the Nobel Peace Prize!  It will take a while, and you will need to be very patient.  Many will oppose this, but if we get all the right people in the exact positions, we can make sure no one can stop us.  We have to present our ideas to the people, make them think it’s the only way to improve schools.  When we give these horrible tests to kids, we will use the scores to close down the poorest schools and we’re going to make them charter schools.

Jack: Did you say I have to make charts?

Paul: Yes Jack, lots of charts.  Lots of data.  You’re good with money, you can handle this. 

The two wandered off into the snowy night, and they saw a huge mound of snow the plow had just made. 

Paul: I’ve been trying to figure out how to get all the states in on my plan.  We have to coerce them into it, and then they have to trick all the school districts.  Make them think this plan is their only option. 

Jack: Why don’t we just tell them I won’t give them any money if they don’t listen?  I can do that you know.  I control all the money.  My friend Barack from Chicago told me the way Wall Street is going, there might a be a big recession in a few years.  His buddy Arne is a master at making people do things.  What if we do it then?

Paul: Yes, you’re absolutely right Jack.  You are a Zima drinking genius! 

Paul got distracted.  He thought he saw someone he knew down the street but he couldn’t see too well.  He needed a better vantage point. 

Paul: Do you see that lady down the street Jack?  I know her.  We should tell her about my plans.  Kendall, is that you down there?

Kendall: Paul, is that you, I can’t see you?  Where are you? 

Paul and Jack realized the mound was blocking her view. 

Jack: How are we going to get over that big pile of snow?  We would have to use a lot of rigor to figure out how to get up there.  Come on Paul, let’s race to the top!

As Paul ran, he smiled, and thought to himself, “Common Core” “Rigor” “Race To The Top”…

And this was the genesis of the Common Core.  Two drunken fools in Delaware, talking out of their arses about something that was so mind-boggling and confusing, with so many layers and levels, it had to work.  And the legend was born.  In the years since, Jack Markell is still waiting to be picked for the Nobel Peace Prize.  He calls his friend Paul every Christmas Eve, and asks him when.  Their friendship almost fell apart when Barack Obama received the prize, but Paul assured him it would happen.  One day…

Rodel’s Plan To Bring the Basis Charter Chain From Arizona To Delaware?

UPDATED, 12/8/14: I violated my own rule! I usually wait for two sources to verify the same information from different independent scenarios, but this one came from a source who has never been wrong. I’m not sure where my source got some of the specifics wrong, but the Delaware Charter School Network did not fly Delaware politicians to Arizona to tour Basis Schools. That was all the Friedman Foundation, who did fly some politicians from Delaware, including Deborah Hudson, to look at programs involving school vouchers.  However, it did lead me to some more Rodel connections to a very big chain of charter schools operating mainly out of Arizona, as well as San Antonio, TX and Washington D.C.

It was discovered today that the Delaware Charter School Network was flying a bunch of Wilmington, Delaware politicians out to Arizona tomorrow night to see “something very innovative”. Delaware resident and educator Superman, Mike Matthews, found out this adventure is so these politicians can take a look at the Basis Schools charter chain. When I heard this, I immediately thought of the Rodel Foundation of Arizona. Yes, Rodel isn’t just Delaware based, it’s also in Arizona. And take a wild guess who is on the board of Basis Schools? Yes, it’s Donald Budinger! One of the famous, wealthy members of the Budinger family of Delaware, who created the Rodel Foundation.

The Rodel Foundation of Delaware has even promoted Basis, going back to 2012: http://www.rodelfoundationde.org/daily-education-news-71012/ Continue reading

Two Weeks And No Response From Rodel CEO Paul Herdman @RodelDE @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @RCEAPrez @Apl_Jax @ecpaige @nannyfat @Roof_O #netde #eduDE #Delaware #edchat

It has been two weeks since I responded to Rodel CEO Paul Herdman’s email to me about my Rodel article (this one: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/delaware-race-to-the-top-hedge-funds-millions-wasted-the-story-of-rodel-markell-charters-the-vision-network-kilroysdelaware-ed_in_de-dwablog-apl_jax-nannyfat-ecpaige-delawarebat/ and https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/rodels-ceo-dr-herdman-sent-an-email-re-rodel-article-my-response-challenge-kilroysdelaware-ed_in_de-rceaprez-apl_jax/ ). I asked Paul Herdman to meet me at the six priority schools and Gateway Lab School to explain Rodel’s hedge fund activity and other discrepancies I found. Mr. Herdman has not bothered to respond at all. But I have heard he was very upset about the article and many people at Rodel and the Vision Network were sent an email about it. I have yet to see the email, but my invitation to Mr. Herdman still stands. Your call Paul. In the meantime, if my next article on Rodel occurs before you accept my invitation, feel free to address any irregularities I have found on that one as well.

A Christmas Poem For Governor Markell, Warning Signs All Over!

‘Tis the season for giving.  Yes, we have a Scrooge McLameduck wanting to take kids schools away for the holidays.  But I found this poem written by a certain Governor.  Not really, but it was fun writing it.

Twas the night before Christmas, in the DOE house, not a computer was whirring, not even a mouse.  All the teachers were hanging, by the Governor’s chair, in the fears that more charter schools, soon would be there.

The students were testing, all cramped like the dead, while Visions of rigor, danced in their heads.  And Murphy in his suit, and Markell on his throne, had just settled down, their faces like stone.

When out on the playground, a student said no.  Markell rose from his tonic, and said we have to go.   Away to the window, the other students looked, they all jumped out, Murphy’s goose was cooked.

The moon shone on the kids, with six feet of snow.  To all the parents, it appeared to be woe.  When what to Markell’s eyes soon did appear, but the DOE Horsemen bounded by fear.

With a fashionable driver, and a face like a German, he knew in a moment, it must be Paul Herdman.  More rapid than hedge funds, his money it came, and he whistled and shouted, and called them by name.

Now Blowman! now Schwinn!  now Ruskowski and Mieczkowski!  On, Johnson!  On, Watson!  On McLaughlin and Duncan!  To the school kids must go, get back to class!  Get back to testing, before I kick your ass!

As students ran, dollar signs soon appear; and Markell knew, this was his year.  His stock portfolio, he saw it grow; all the talk about caring, it was just a show.  So to the CEB Building, he made a bet; soon all my plans, they will be met.

Help the rich, screw over the poor; If you don’t like it, there is the door.  We have Teach For America, and a grad school called Relay; We get them much cheaper, it’s the start of a new day.

I let them all think, what we do is best; the parents and teachers, and all of the rest.  In my dreams, they all go to Hell; I’ve got Duncan, and a seat on Rodel!

The students will score, with utmost proficiency; the public school teachers, they get no leniency.  I’ll fire them all, kick them out of the school; I can’t help it, cause I’m such a tool.

To the students in the city, I’ll use discrimination; so what if it appears, like triple segregation.  I’ll send them to charters, by the city walls; I won’t get caught, Duncan owns my balls.

My state passed the bill, on political favors; it doesn’t matter, cause I got the waivers.  The parents may opt out; but that’s just a cop out.  Because of all this, I’ve got the bling; I just cash in, and I say cha-ching.

Schools must take the test, so they can get Smarter; school boards can kiss my ass, I’ll turn them to charters.  I’ve got my Secretary, my guy Mark Murphy; it could have been worse, by the name of Michelle Rhee.

Screw all the bloggers, especially Kilroy; I own the schools, they’re my little toy.  My president loves me, the name of Obama; Wilmington kids cry, straight to their mama.

I’ve got connections, especially Paul; public schools die, and I’ll watch them fall.  I know it seems, that I must be evil; try and stop me, it will be feeble.  I’ve got the money; but you have the test; kiss my ring, cause I am the best.

Some say it’s not right, and it’s not fair; you can all go to Hell, cause I rule Delaware.  Don’t think this is over, cause I’ve still got more; what can I say, I’m a Common Core whore!

 

 

Delaware Race To The Top, Hedge Funds & Millions Wasted: The Story of Rodel, Markell, Charters & The Vision Network

Dr. Paul Herdman  and Governor Markell have a long history in Delaware in the 21st Century.  Their collaborations have resulted in the biggest changes to education the state has seen in decades.  Name any education change since Markell became Governor, and Rodel’s been a part of it.  And they are making a lot of money off these changes!

As part of my blog, I find out information about education in our state, and recently Rodel had their latest Vision conference where they focused on personalized learning, with a whole education reform agenda yet to be revealed to the mass public, sponsored by a company called 2Revolutions.  Rodel has a long history in the world of corporate education reform.  But what if I told you they aren’t doing it for the love of education and students, but pure profit? Continue reading

THIS IS WAR!!! Rodel’s Plan To Take Over Education In Delaware & Dump Special Education, The DOE & Markell Letting This Happen

I received the below information today, and it is very disturbing.  From what I have heard at various DOE Board Of Education meetings the past few months and what I read about with the Rodel Vision ED25 “Performance Learning” after their conference the other day, I am convinced more than ever that Rodel is just assuming they can do whatever they want because Governor Jack Markell is going to let them.  This is the final straw, and I will be taking a very strong stand against this invasion.  EVERY SINGLE DELAWARE PARENT NEEDS TO AS WELL! 

The below are draft strategies Rodel and their ED25 Committee have formulated in regards to their personalized learning idea that 2Revolutions would be implementing if this goes ahead:

Increase student and parent ownership over learning experiences by creating individual student learning plans that track mastery-based progress from birth to career and clearly articulate skills and knowledge required to progress and graduate. Build on best practices in special education that engage families and students in plan development and make plans accessible online

Build capacity of an organization to support innovation statewide by investing in the development of new school designs or instructional approaches, evaluating what works, and identify mechanisms for scaling ideas with a track record of success. This organization would also be responsible for supporting the change management process for schools and districts and engaging with parents and the public on personalized learning

Support the redesign of schools that provide a broad array of wraparound services to students  (e.g., psychological, counseling, and behavior supports), engage partners to support the whole child and their families, and provide extended hours to expand student and family access to technology

Strengthen use of comprehensive screenings and provide interventions to address student needs and issues at a young age

Create multiple, rigorous learning paths anchored in key industries and the “North Star” and linked to a range of academic and career options that integrate educational and workforce experiences. Provide all students and families with ownership over selecting the pathway that best meets their needs and aspirations

Increase in-person and technology-enhanced counseling supports to engage students at an early age and help students and families navigate the system, targeting those at risk of falling off track or dropping out

Raise the bar on new teacher certification by strengthening pre-service requirements for content and special education expertise. Increase the number of teachers receiving special education certification.

Publicly share performance of teacher preparation programs, both traditional and alternative, and tie state funding of programs to performance. Incentivize programs to train teachers in high-need subject areas (e.g., math, special education) to enable the supply of graduates to better match school demand

Support teachers in developing cultural competencies by ensuring all pre-service teachers are exposed to different school settings during student teaching and providing high-quality professional development for pre-service and in-service teachers on family engagement and working with different communities

Support a robust and transparent evaluation system that enables continuous improvement and incorporates feedback from multiple parties, which could include peers, subordinates, students, and families in educator evaluations

Develop school, district, and state-level scorecards that track growth and performance, utilize multiple mechanisms for measuring performance, and are simple and easy to understand by the public

Incentivize the development of student and parent engagement models that include activities such as student led conferences, academic parent-teacher teams, and parent institutes for advocacy and information development. Moreover, encourage the use of communication strategies between schools and families that is two-way and utilizes a variety of in-person and technology based approaches

Require or incentivize employers to allow employees to take time for school engagement activities

Update student counting procedure to count students more than one time per year in order to better account for student transitions, to support student needs identified throughout the school year, and to incentivize attendance

Publicly share district and school budgets as well as key district/school financial performance metrics that are accessible and understandable to the public

This is it!  This is Rodel’s takeover of Delaware schools.  This is the overhaul the Delaware DOE and Governor Markell have been planning for years and Rodel is the waiter bringing it to the parent table.  But where is the legislative input on these ideas?  If every student has their own personalized learning plan, what does that do to the federally mandated IDEA Individualized Education Plan?  By essentially giving every student their own IEP they have just negated special education in one fell swoop.  Yes, these are drafts, but the reality won’t be much different.  I called this one last summer:

https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/special-education-in-america-where-is-it-going-spread-this-link-all-over-reblog-netde-edude-delaware-usedgov/

If you like your kid playing sports, or doing the school play, or playing an instrument in band, or joining a club after school, then you need to be against this.  Here’s why, and make sure you take the time to go the links and read about your child’s future.  The other day I posted this article:

https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/breaking-news-the-future-of-education-in-delaware-and-america-and-why-common-core-standardized-testing-are-only-the-first-part-kilroysdelaware-ed_in_de-dwablog-apl_jax-nannyfat-dianeravit/

This is just more evidence that Rodel & Markell want to do away with school buildings and make everything online and from home in the future.  And I am sure they will profit greatly from this endeavor.  Or allow their corporate buddies to.

All these groups in Delaware: The GACEC, PIC, Delaware PTA, DSEA and anyone who endorses this should be IMMEDIATELY DISBANDED!!!  You are here for the people, not whatever Markell and Rodel want.  You have been serving them for years, and it stops NOW!!!!  We don’t pay tax dollars and union dues so you can just drink the Kool-Aid and shove it down unsuspecting parents throats.

Every single legislator needs to convene and seriously consider impeachment proceedings against Governor Jack Markell and get rid of Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and cut state funding to all of these “non-profit” groups and education think tanks.  If not I will make it my mission in life to get as much support as I can and make sure this does not happen.

Here’s the deal folks, if you thought I was motivated before, that was NOTHING!  I will take this all the way to Washington D.C. if I have to.  We have spent millions and millions of dollars in this state on NOTHING but ideas that financially benefit groups like Rodel and all their idiotic Vision groups.  They have allowed you to think education is messed up to justify their money-making schemes.  Rodel and the Delaware Community Foundation are run by millionaires.  Look at all their boards and their staff.  They are all aligned together.  Markell is aligned with all of them AND the US DOE and Arne Duncan.

Their Common Core invasion of America has allowed them to put teachers in the crossfire over standardized testing scores and it monopolizes educators’ time with professional development and lesson plans based on a curriculum they ALL HATE!!!  Students hate it too.  Whenever you hear someone really enthusiastic about this crap it’s because they belong to one of these Markell groups whose sole purpose is to sell you on these agendas.  NO MORE!  SAY NO!

Go to these town hall meetings the DOE is planning and RAISE HELL!!!!!