Kenny Rivera, an Assistant Principal at Brandywine High School, recently embarked on an incredible journey to India to explore different schools and systems in education. I interviewed Kenny this week. While he was in India, I saw his Facebook posts filled with pictures of schools and students. Kenny has graciously allowed me to use those pictures in this article. Continue reading
Delaware education funding is out of control. It is unsustainable!!!! Something is going to have to give. Kids can’t take any more hits, so it is going to have to come from the adults. I hate to say this, and teachers, principals, administrators, and superintendents will want my head on a platter, but your pensions and benefits are skyrocketing through the roof. Every time you get a step raise, your OEC (benefits and pensions) go up as well. When these OEC amount to 44% of your pay, we are having serious issues keeping up with it. I know you want raises, but you actually get raises every year because your benefits keep going up. For those who aren’t state employees, our insurance rates keeps going up as well, but we pay for much more of it than you do. It comes out of our take-home pay where yours are not like that. I hate to ask this, but would you be willing to pay more for insurance if it meant the resources and lower-size classrooms could happen because of that? Something to think about.
In the meantime, taxes keep going up. Not at a state level. They are adamant about not raising those taxes. So who takes the hit? Every single school district when they have to keep raising taxes every single year. It makes the state look like heroes. It is unsustainable!
The Delaware PTA just unveiled a press release to their members on their views of the recently announced Smarter Balanced Assessment results. These are questions everyone in this state should be asking, especially our legislators. They voted this into state code, and as far as I’m concerned, they can vote it right out!
On Wednesday September 4, 2015 the Delaware Department of Education released the overall results of the Smarter Balanced Assessments in Math and ELA English Language Arts). Overall, the proficiency rates are exactly where we expected they would be, especially for schools with a higher concentration of at risk populations.
We have long maintained that an assessment is only effective when weighed against its intended use and purpose. The true purpose of assessments should be to determine gaps in learning and ensure that the state is directing the appropriate resources to the students and schools that need it most. As parents, it is our responsibility to make sure that any assessments our children take serve this purpose and this purpose only. Testing outcomes used for any other purpose, have no value for parents, teachers or students.
In the next two weeks, parents across the state will begin to receive their student’s SBAC assessment report.
When looking at these scores, parents should be asking the following questions:
1. What does this score mean for my child at the classroom level?
2. How is the state ensuring resources are making it directly into the classroom to help my child and other students?
3. How is the state supporting districts and teachers in using this information to make instructional changes?
4. How is your district using the SBAC scores? Are they using them as a single indicator of student success?
We always encourage open and ongoing communications between home and school. This is also a great opportunity to engage your district leadership, school board, as well as the Delaware Department of Education on exactly how and why this test will help your student.
Look for additional PTA communications on how you can become involved and support our advocacy efforts to secure and protect your rights as parents; and ensure that assessment data is used to support, not punish our schools.
Delaware PTA Executive Committee