I was really torn on who would get the coveted Exceptional Delaware Hero of the Year Award for 2018. There were so many great choices. I covered some of them in the Movers and Shakers posts I put up. But in the end, the choice was obvious! Continue reading
On August 8th, Delaware Governor John Carney signed Senate Bill #242 which allows the State of Delaware to enter into Pay For Success contracts. The legislation sets the parameters for how this will work. In a nutshell, an investor or organization pitches a program to a state agency and fronts all the money for it. If the program is a success, the state pays them. If it fails, they are out. How will this work in public education? Continue reading
Two bills closely tied with public education passed in the Delaware House of Representatives today which clears them through the General Assembly and await Governor Carney’s signature. Another bill passed but goes back to the Senate due to an amendment.
Senate Bill #234, which gives the Delaware Secretary of Education the ability to suspend a teacher’s credentials due to an arrest from abuse or other egregious crimes, passed the House with a 41-0 vote. As written in the synopsis of the bill, this will… “include situations involving felony crimes against children or where there is a clear and immediate danger to student safety or welfare“.
Senate Bill #242, which will establish Pay for Success programs in Delaware passed with 39 yes, 1 no, and 1 absent. The sole no vote belonged to State Rep. Rich Collins. An amendment placed on the bill in the Delaware Senate would create a working group to explore how Pay For Success would be implemented in public education, both early childhood education and K-12 education. I am still torn on Pay For Success but this would allow some time for the Working Group to really take a look at how this would work to make sure it didn’t conflict with existing federal laws (such as IDEA) and to set up parameters. Pay For Success is where an outside investor would come in, pitch a program with measurable outcomes, and if approved, would set out on this program. If the program works with those outcomes, the State would pay the company back. If it doesn’t, they wouldn’t. The bill sets up Pay For Success for all state agencies.
Senate Bill #172, which is meant to increase the transparency of education funds, passed the House but an amendment clarifying some language on the bill which causes it to go back to the Senate for a final vote (provided they don’t put any amendments on it). That bill passed in the House with 41 yes votes.
On the Senate side, they passed House Bill #268 which deals with Senior property tax credits, but due to an amendment placed on the bill in the Senate, it will go back to the House.
Finally, Delaware Governor John Carney signed both the budget bill and a bill giving one-time bonuses to state employees and retirees. Both the Bond bill and the Grant-In-Aid bill will come up for a vote on the last day of the Delaware General Assembly, Saturday June 30th.
Sometimes you just have to make some noise. But it turns out I wasn’t the only one. Last evening, before I even began writing my article about Senate Bill #242 needing changes, State Rep. Kim Williams and Senator Jack Walsh were already in discussion about placing an amendment on the Pay For Success legislation.
The amendment forms a working group to basically set the parameters for how Pay For Success will work in not only Early Childhood Education but also public education (K-12 schooling). While public education was not directly mentioned in the bill, it left it open. This amendment codifies and puts in writing how this will be moving forward. I am VERY pleased with this outcome and I salute Williams and Walsh for doing this! I don’t tend to get heated up over legislation like I did in my early blogging days. It took me by surprise but I felt it was important and I am very glad that others saw some of my same concerns and acted on it.
The amendment passed the Delaware Senate with 17 yes, 4 absent. Senate Bill #242 passed with 18 yes, 3 absent.
This Amendment requires that specific procedures be established for Pay for Success contracts that involve early childhood education or public education. This Amendment also creates a working group that will make recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget regarding these procedures.
This has been my biggest beef with the opposition of Regulation 225. So many of those who are full-throttle opposed to it do not want the State of Delaware dictating something that could deny them their parental rights. They don’t want schools making decisions on behalf of their children without their consent. But they have been doing this for years! And you have had the most powerful weapon at your disposal and have not utilized it!
Every year, the public school children of Delaware are forced to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment. It is a worthless test that really tells you nothing about your child. You don’t get the results until AFTER the school year is over. It doesn’t tell you what your child’s key strengths are. It doesn’t tell you anything. But you allow your child to sit in front of a computer over a three-week period and take a test. Based on Common Core which many of you can’t stand already.
If you stand for parental rights and deciding how your child should be educated, you can’t do it in small chunks. You need to do it full throttle, in ALL aspects. If you want to tell the state that YOU are the parent and YOU make the best decisions for your kids, do it all the way.
If you truly believe in parental rights, you will prove that by opting your child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment which starts in a few weeks in many of our schools. I have seen thousands of you oppose a regulation you believe is harmful. But I can guarantee you the Smarter Balanced Assessment has been pumping out data about your own child to education companies around the country. I can guarantee you it is a complete waste of time, money, and resources when our kids could be getting a more well-rounded education. But you let the State do this every single year. Some kids do bad on those kind of tests. It doesn’t mean they need extra intervention. Some kids ace those tests and may not get good grades. It doesn’t mean they don’t need intervention. Students with disabilities usually do terrible on those tests because the accommodations for them are horrible. Three years of this test and we are expected to believe it is a good test? The needle hasn’t moved at all. And it is based on Common Core.
Governor Carney wants more Math coaches in our schools based on his proposed budget. He wants those coaches in middle schools. Do you know why? Because the foundations of Common Core begin in the earlier grades. And it’s been around long enough that kids who were once in elementary school are now in middle school and don’t get the math! Our kids can’t stand Common Core math. Parents can’t stand it. If we need more math coaches in middle schools it is because COMMON CORE MATH DOESN’T WORK! But every year we let the state give our kids a test on it and then the state says “our schools need help” because of the test results. This is just one reason why I am befuddled with those who oppose Regulation 225!
You say you don’t want our schools doing this but you have ignored what they have already been doing for years. And here is the kicker: the schools hate these tests as well. They won’t tell you that, but they know it. It is state and federal driven, but behind that curtain is a whole bunch of companies that are profiting off YOUR kid based on the results of these tests. And don’t let anyone tell you we will lose all federal funding over opt out. It hasn’t happened in any other state. In New York and New Jersey they had more kids opt out than the entire population of Delaware. If you want to bring sanity back to education, it starts here. I don’t bemoan you opposing this regulation. It is your right to oppose something you don’t want for your child. What I do bemoan is parents not getting involved enough. When they are ignoring what is so clearly right before their very eyes.
If you REALLY want to send a message to the Delaware Department of Education and Secretary Bunting, you should opt our child out tomorrow or today based on when you read this. All you need to do is write a simple letter to the school:
Dear Principal ______, of (insert school name here),
I am opting my child, ________ __________, out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. I expect my child to attend school on the days the test is administered and receive educational instruction while the other students take the test. I do not want a call from the Principal or any teachers telling me why I should not opt my child out. As well, I do not want to receive any letters from the school or district based on the Delaware Department of Education template letter indicating I can not opt my child out. Furthermore, I will not tolerate any type of retaliation or punitive action against my child over my fundamental right to opt my child out. This type of retaliation includes, but is not exclusive to, any threat of summer school, holding them back a year, or any type of isolation activity.
Thank you for your time,
After you give this to the Principal of the school, as in hand-deliver it to them, have them sign an acknowledgment form that they received your opt out letter for your child. This way they can’t say later they never got it. It can be as simple as this:
I acknowledge that I have received an opt out letter from ______ ______, parent or guardian of ______ ________.
When you have done this, start taking a serious look at the enormous amount of data collection already going on with your child. Start looking at EVERYTHING and ask yourself “Is this what I want for my child?” If the answer is no, don’t stop with opting out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Educate yourself. Read. Learn. Don’t listen to what places like the Rodel Foundation and the Delaware DOE are telling you. Listen to what other parents and teachers at the ground level have been saying for years. Those who of us who have been in the trenches and calling our legislators and Governors out for their totalitarian approaches to education. Don’t believe the Delaware DOE is miraculously turning into a “support organization”. Because that support is designed to drive up test scores on an already flawed test. And just wait until they turn that once a year test into stealth assessments, throughout the year. Make your move now or your child and grandchildren will deal with the long-term consequences for the rest of their lives. This isn’t something you should hem and haw on. You shouldn’t mull it over. You should just do it.
There is so much going on tonight. First up is the first Town Hall meeting (which I filed a FOIA complaint against the Governor’s Office and Christina School District for a violation of the seven day notice) for the Governor Carney let’s screw with Christina School District one more time. Second is the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education meeting in which they pick up a new board member and tackle the resolution similar to the Christina resolution on sanctuary schools and all that. Finally, it is the Capital School District Board of Education meeting. My son goes to school there again so I have a vested interest in what goes on in their district. I can’t possibly attend all of them. So which one am I going to? Who gets the honor? Continue reading
In a shocking announcement, the Delaware American Civil Liberties Union wants to sue the State of Delaware over education funding. But the announcement was not made by the ACLU but rather a Capital School District Board of Education member at their meeting last evening. Continue reading
In the near future, Sony and IBM plan on putting all education eggs in one basket: the Blockchain Ledger. This is very, very bad. Especially when Sony wants artificial intelligence to analyze the information for the classroom.
Beyond making it easier to share information, Sony said also that the stored data sets could potentially be analyzed using AI to provide feedback and improvement ideas for educational institutions and their curriculums and management.
According to Techcrunch, this wouldn’t roll out until next year and it is in the experimental stages now. The idea is to use some school districts as a model. What would be in this digital portfolio? Test scores, diplomas, education records which I can only assume will include social-emotional measurements, discipline records, and health records. While the system touts itself as being the most secure on the planet, that also means all that data would follow a student from cradle to grave. In the article, they talk about how it can be helpful for future employment. My fear is children will be judged based on test scores and potential behavior issues they might have exhibited when they were a teenager. To me, this is a huge mistake.
I wrote about Blockchain and its capabilities in education a year ago. Delaware passed it into law for banking purposes earlier this summer. Both Delaware Governor Carney and former Governor Jack Markell wanted those laws to pass. While much of that was for the financial viability of the state in getting Delaware in on the ground floor, the impact on public education was sure to be a discussion point during these decisions. Governor Markell has always touted himself as the “education Governor” and pimps many corporate education reform companies in Delaware and across the country.
The future I’ve been dreading is coming to pass, right before my eyes. Artificial Intelligence should never replace human decision-making capabilities but our education leaders seem to welcome this corporate invasion of public education. I have no doubt I will be writing more about this in the future. While we can all agree public education needs some changes, this is not the way to go. Our children’s future depends on human interaction, not algorithm, data sets and artificial intelligence. This was why all the states had to create longitudinal data systems during Race To The Top all those years ago. It wasn’t setting up Common Core. It was setting this up. Are we machines or are we human?
This is a concurrent resolution, but an important one. For years, Delaware has been floundering public education in our state. Senate Concurrent Resolution #38 would seek the opinion of the highest court in our state to find out if we are even following our own Constitution with what has been going on. For some reason it was left on the table during consideration in the Senate, which means they will get back to it at another time. But this is timely and necessary. Sponsored by Senators Bryan Townsend and David Sokola and State Rep. Sean Matthews.
To read the full text of the legislation, please go to the below document.
I should have been paying closer attention. Delaware Senator Bryan Townsend introduced a bill on May 5th. It cleared the Elections and Government Affairs Committee on May 17th. Now it is up for a Senate vote today. Let me be very clear: for all intents and purposes, this legislation will eventually destroy public education. Continue reading
Today, the Rodel Teacher Council gave a presentation to the Delaware State Board of Education with policy recommendations for their Personalized Learning Blueprint. I’ve written about them before and actually received a bit of heat from a few of their membership. These aren’t bad people or bad teachers. I truly believe they have been brainwashed into the corporate education reform movement. Some may not even realize it. But what they came out with today for their State Board presentation literally frightens me and makes me wonder more than ever where public education is heading. I have to wonder if the State Board of Education would ever allow those who are against this kind of thing to give a presention to them.
This presentation has all the education reform buzz words in it: Personalized Learning, Blended Learning, Competency-Based Education, Micro Credentials, Seat-Time, Social and Emotional Learning, Waivers, Assessment, and Standards. To break it down, under these models the eventual goal is what is known as “stealth assessments”, the state assessment broken down in chunks at the end of each unit. The student can’t move on until they “master” the material provided to them from their digital technology. Predicting the future here, I imagine Delaware will eventually incorporate some kind of “digital badge” the student would get once they “master” the material (Colorado is at the forefront of this ridiculousness). Meanwhile, all the data from this ed tech is going to vendors galore. Personal and private data, every single keystroke.
So why are Delaware educators jumping on this bandwagon when it will eventually lead to the demise of the public school teacher? Your guess is as good as mine. Special standing, power, incentive for future mobility in their profession? Perhaps they are blind to how their actions today will lead to the end of their professional world as we know it. The fact that ANY Delaware school district teacher would get behind something with the Rodel name in it makes me suspect. Very suspect. The fact this council is going before the State Board of Education after they went to some legislators earlier this month makes me very worried. Worried that legislation is coming that will allow this Rodel Vision of Educational Paradise.
Make no mistake. This has been in the planning stages for years. And it will get a huge push in states once Blockchain Technology really gets going. And Delaware will be at the forefront of that initiative. People read stuff like this from me and some say I am wearing a tin hat or engaging in conspiracy theory. Let them. They said the same thing when I said Delaware’s Assessment Inventory Committee was just a big distraction from opt out and would produce nothing worthwhile. I said that before the legislation even passed which created that committee.
What is Governor Carney’s role in all this? I don’t think he has an original thought on any of this. I think his staff tells him what to do. Many of those staff members are fully aligned with this Rodelian future and have been for quite a while.
To read what the Rodel Teacher Council (aka Rodel) wants policy-makers in Delaware to subscribe to, please read the document below.
The Rodel Foundation of Delaware came out with a whopper of a blog article today over on their site. Entitled “Can Personalized Learning Defray The Cost Of Special Education?”, this article dares to suggest that personalized/blended learning can help save on special education costs. By daring to think Rodel’s version of personalized learning (a constant zombie state whereby kids are in front of a computer all day going at their own pace) is the Dante’s Peak of education, Doc Paul Herdman and the gang have just poked this bear again. I’ve stayed quiet with these absolute idiots for far too long. I am wide awake. Message received.
Why does ANYONE in this state swallow their absolute crap anymore? What happens when these students with disabilities, who are going “at their own pace”, fall even further behind? With this craptacular system, actual grades a student are in wouldn’t matter. And they still have to take the not-so Smarter Balanced Assessment. But in Rodel’s world, they want the stealth testing. These are standardized tests embedded in the digital technology slowly taking over the classroom in Delaware. Once a student masters the content, they can move on. So what happens when they don’t? What happens when they don’t get it? They fall farther behind. I warned about this public education hara-kiri for well over a year and half. Now, here we are on the cusp of it. NOW is the time for parents to stand up and say “Screw you Rodel” and to take back public education. Our policy-makers and state officials have been drinking the Rodel Kool-Aid for 12 years now. Enough. Rodel doesn’t own Delaware. We the people do. Kids gloves are off now Rodel! Fair warning! And Delaware DOE and State Board of Education, if you even think of pushing this crap in Delaware more than you already have, I will unleash the public education parent hounds on you! Fair warning to whomever wins the DSEA President: Back far away from this nonsense. Do not be a part of it.
A fate worse than death would be Jack Markell as the United States Secretary of Education under President Hillary Clinton. What Markell has done to Delaware education in less than eight years (twelve if you count his contributions towards Rodel’s plans) has been nothing short of a disaster. As one of the chief proponents of Common Core, Markell was the ringmaster for state accountability systems designed to perpetuate an endless cycle of high-stakes testing, school labeling, teacher shaming, and student rigor.
We now know Jack Markell really wants to be the U.S. Secretary of Education. John King is just filler until the next President. Town Square Delaware reported this morning that because John King stated Markell “has had his eye on this job for years” based on a Politico report about Hillary’s potential Cabinet posts. Granted, there are other contenders such as former Deputy Secretary of Education Jim Shelton, outgoing Chancellor of D.C. Schools Kaya Henderson, and even John King himself. None of those would be a good pick. If Clinton wins and picks any of these people, we will firmly know where she stands on education: she is a sell-out to corporations.
If Clinton wins and she nominates Markell as the next U.S. Secretary of Education, I will personally travel to D.C. to attend the Senate nomination hearing for Markell and testify against his capabilities to lead our country’s children. This would be a major step backwards, not forward. He is a corporate guy, not an education guy. He can’t stand parents butting into education, dislikes teachers, and goes back on his word constantly. This will not happen if I have anything to say about it. And I will not be the only one.
Do we really want a guy who allows state law to be circumvented by his administration. In the Chip Flowers FOIA scandal, Markell’s office is blocking sending out emails requested through a FOIA request because it has other legislators in the email. It’s called redacting those names! But Markell is shady, no doubt about it. But he is also good at covering up his tracks. Look at all the corporate tax loopholes he has created during his time as Governor. This is NOT the guy for education. The mail room for education? Sure. Not as the leader!
Just because The News Journal quoted John King as saying Markell has performed “nation-leading work” in early education does not qualify for him for this post. He has never been a teacher or even worked in public education. Think about that. Someone who only steps into a classroom to announce his latest agendas for corporate education reform…
I really can’t believe it’s been two years since I started this little experiment. I am more committed than ever to righting the wrongs in public education. With that being said, I need your help. What do you like about the blog? What do you hate? Is there something you want to see more of? Less? Am I too opinionated or not enough? Am I too mean or not mean enough? Do you like your stories to be journalistically based or with the flavor you come to expect on this blog? I came to the realization there is absolutely no way I can cover everything or please everyone. Education is a beast and growing by the day. There will always be heroes, villains, and those in-between. It’s getting very hard to understand motivations. As I’ve said before, I believe most people have “tainted decency”, meaning they are not 100% good and not 100% bad. I will have an article coming later this morning that will explore this notion. There are a few sides to this story.
Until then, thank you for the followers from the beginning of this blog, those who jumped on for the ride, and those who are just starting now. I appreciate all of you and your opinions, whether I agree with them or not. There are no easy answers with education.
This is a plea to Congressman John Carney.
You are running for Governor in Delaware. You haven’t officially filed yet, but you announced your intention last year. In Delaware, it seems like a certainty you will win the election in November. With that being said, I have some grave concerns with some of your education votes in the U.S. House of Representatives.
You voted yes for the following:
The Every Student Succeeds Act which yields to the states the ability to determine opt out procedures when parents don’t want their child to take the state standardized test. Even though ESSA states 95% of students must take the state assessment. The US DOE is ignoring the power given to states in this legislation.
You voted no for the following:
HR5: The Student Success Act. This legislation, the House precursor to the Every Student Succeeds Act, allowed for parent opt out for any reason and would not penalize schools for opt outs in their accountability report cards.
In Delaware, parents cried out to our legislators last year to act for their rights. While they were with us in the majority, when the time came for them to act again, many of them took the coward’s way out by not voting for a suspension of rules. Something many of them have no problem doing all the time. We don’t need another Jack Markell in Delaware. I think we are all done with him. His education legacy will be one for the history books, and not in a positive light in the long run.
Aside from attending Smyrna Day in the Smyrna School District and going to the Coding School in Wilmington, we really haven’t heard much from you on education. I’m sure you are relieved this hasn’t come up. But with ESSA regulations about to come out, it is essential that you let the voters of Delaware know your views on education matters. If you are to be the presumptive winner for Governor of Delaware, let it be a presumption with all of the facts.
As a son of two teachers, I am sure you have a high regard for education and the teaching profession. I would hope you don’t completely agree with many of the federal mandates from the past 15 years. It is very important that you let us know your thoughts. Let us vote with a clear idea of where you are coming from. I am hoping you lead us out of the education quagmire Governor Markell perpetrated on the First State. We want a Governor that supports parental rights as much as any other rights that you celebrate on social media so much.
I think you got a raw deal in 2008. Many Delawareans feel this way. Things could have been very different had you won back then. Perhaps high-stakes assessments wouldn’t become the bread and butter of all things education in Delaware. Perhaps our teachers would feel more respected by the state you hope to govern. Perhaps parents wouldn’t feel the need to opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment had someone fought Arne Duncan and the US DOE during the tumultuous Race To The Top years.
The time has come for you to speak about education in Delaware and what you are looking to achieve. If it is the status quo, which is not what Jack Markell states it is, but rather the complete sell-out of public education to companies who want privatization while funds seep out of classrooms and into the eager hands of hedge fund managers, then be honest and let us know that. If you want something different, something bold and a bit radical, let us know. Either way, your silence is deafening.
The Network for Public Education released their 50 State Report Card today and Delaware got a D. This is no surprise to me considering all the education policies Governor Markell has brought about in the last year. Frankly, I’m shocked we didn’t get an F. As Markell continues to tout his success with education, it becomes more clear how flawed his initiatives truly are. Below you can read the entire report card.
The United States Senate just passed the Every Student Succeeds Act. The controversial reauthorization of the Elementary/Secondary Education Act (ESSA) is now going to President Obama who is expected to sign the legislation. The US Senate has not released the roll call on this historic vote, but I will update this as soon as it is released. Meanwhile, Rep. Kline had this to say about today’s vote:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) issued the following statement today after the Senate passed a bipartisan, bicameral bill to replace No Child Left Behind and improve K-12 education:
Senators Murray and Alexander are to be commended for their leadership on a vitally important issue. They were the partners we needed in the Senate to get the job done. After years of delay, Congress is finally sending a bill to the president’s desk replacing No Child Left Behind with a new law that will reduce the federal role, restore local control, and empower parents. Those are precisely the kind of reforms parents, teachers, and state and local education leaders deserve, and I am grateful for all of the hard work of our House and Senate colleagues for helping to make these reforms a reality.
Known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (S. 1177), the bipartisan, bicameral bill will reform K-12 education by reducing the federal role, restoring local control, and empowering parents. The bill was approved by the House last week with overwhelming bipartisan support and will soon head to the president’s desk for his signature. To learn more about the Every Student Succeeds Act, visit edworkforce.house.gov/k12education.
And so it begins, again. Education is a very different world now, and we all know who we can thank for this. Welcome to the future of education, otherwise known as the death knell of public education.
At the State Board of Education Fall Retreat today in Dewey Beach, Dr. Steven Godowsky made his first big move as Delaware Secretary of Education, and it was not a good one. I have been writing the past couple months about the Accountability Framework Working Group and the Delaware School Success Framework. At their last meeting in early October, the group unanimously agreed not to have opt-out penalties where the proficiency rate of a school was multiplied by their participation rate for the school report card. They agreed to a lesser penalty whereby the school would have to write a report about how to improve the participation rate and no school could earn a status of “reward” school if their participation rate fell below the 95% mark.
Today, Dr. Steven Godowsky undid all the work this group did, their 14 months of meetings and discussion, and overrode their recommendations. That’s right, the same guy who told the New Castle County school boards at their combined school board breakfast just two weeks ago:
“It’s not a final decision, but it looks like from all levels of the department…that harsh sanctions will not carry the day,” he said. “There will be minimum sanctions that are required.”
So what made him override this? Looks pretty easy to me: he got confirmed by the Delaware Senate last week. If I had to guess, if he came across as the tough guy the Senate would have pounded him. I never thought I would say this, but thank you to Senators Greg Lavelle and Colin Bonini for saying no to this guy getting confirmed. All his lies about being more transparent and communicating better with the public. He just gave the middle finger to the public school system and parents in Delaware by doing this.
Godowsky is a water carrier for Governor Markell and his buddies at Rodel. He is NOT his own man, and he is a coward. He met with members of the Delaware Senate before his confirmation to talk about the changes he wants in the DOE. He will make no changes without Jack Markell whispering in his ear, I can guarantee that! This jacked up move of his assures the State Board of Education will vote on this and pass Regulation 103 which will put this into the books at their November 19th meeting. And now schools will be coming up with even more nonsense concerning opt-out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.
Delaware Parents: Just refuse the test now. Do not lie down and let this happen. Let’s beat New York’s 20% opt-out rate, and get it up to 50%, or higher! The only way this cockamamie test is going to go away is unless we MAKE it happen. That’s right, We The People! I was starting to believe Godowsky’s line of crap about making things better. I know he has his defenders, and I’m okay with the heat I’m about to get, but this man is a liar! He is worse than Mark Murphy, because he does have the experience, and he is still okay with putting the screws to the public school system. And he used to run a few of them!
If the 148th General Assembly doesn’t override the House Bill 50 veto by the equally cowardly Governor, there is going to be hell to pay for those who say no. And if the leaders don’t even let it get to a vote, they will NOT be re-elected. I will make damn sure of that! We have all been victims of Jack Markell for far too long, and now he is on the cusp of completely destroying parental rights and the voice of educators. The State Board is in Markell’s pocket just as much as Godowsky. So we need to strike NOW!
Email your legislators today and start pounding the State Board of Education right away.
Delaware State Rep. Sean Matthews has had enough! Something I think many of us agree on! As the Delaware DOE announced the long-awaited and much dreaded Smarter Balanced Assessment results, folks immediately started crunching the data to see what it all means. On Delaware Liberal and Those In Favor, graphs were made showing the relationship between low-income populations in Delaware schools and the Smarter Balanced results. These graphs were very telling, and show these high-stakes assessments are not doing any favors for low-income students.
This is what State Rep. Sean Matthews had to say about all this:
Enough already! The corporate education “reformers” keep pushing their “test and punish” agenda. It’s failed. It’s failing. It will continue to fail until we address the endemic poverty plaguing some of our students.
The millions we spend each year on standardized testing is nothing more than “cash in the trash.” If we just collected parent/guardian’s income levels, we would get the same data. There is a direct and enduring correlation between a family’s economic health and school performance.
Don’t believe me? Check out these 2 graphs. One from Red Clay School District and one from Christina School District. Keep in mind that within each district, the curriculum, teacher training and governing district polices are the same. The only major difference is the % of low-income students from school to school.
Rep. Matthews hit the nail on the head! None of this is about the kids. It’s about other agendas which results in schools being labeled and punished. We have seen this sad tale all over America, in Chicago, Philadelphia, New Orleans and New York City. Why is it so necessary to turn public education into something it’s not? These are the tough schools. The ones where teachers go to, day in and day out. They don’t have to teach in these schools, they want to. They want to help these kids. It’s not for a paycheck, or to have the summers off. Their unions can’t protect them too much when a school is shut down over high-stakes testing results. They want to be, if they can, the difference in some of these students lives. I hear so many stories from adults who came from poverty, and very often, they reference a teacher who made a difference in their lives.
When is America going to wake up and realize these kids don’t need the labels. They don’t need companies and management organizations coming into their schools to “fix” them. They need consistency. They need compassion. They need what they already have. But the education reformers don’t think that’s enough. They would rather test these children, all the while knowing the tests they are giving to them are designed for failure, so they can “turnaround” a school. It all comes down to money, and it makes me sick to my stomach that anyone would use children in this manner.
Someone genuinely asked me if they should continue to send their child to a school like this or send them to a “high-performing” school. Every time a parent makes a decision in favor of the latter, they are killing public education, one student at a time. And that’s exactly what the reformers want. The data in these graphs says one thing. These tests are great for those with money and very bad for those without. It’s not about the caliber of the school, or the teachers, it’s about the world these children live in. The reformers can’t grasp the notion that if they spent their vast millions upon millions of dollars on actually improving communities and creating jobs, that would do far more for these children than any standardized assessment would ever do. That would be the real reform our children need.
We keep hearing how the Delaware DOE needs this data, and that parents need it. What does it tell you? You won’t see these graphs on the Delaware DOE website. But they are more important than any amount of data they will ever put out. Thank you Rep. Matthews for saying what so many of us are saying. You have a powerful voice, and we need you to speak for a long time.
*Thank you to Delaware Liberal and Those In Favor for creating these graphs!