Ron Russo’s BOLD Plan Regurgitates Old Plans And The Worst Ideas Ever In Delaware Education

Ron Russo, the former Head of School at the Charter School of Wilmington, launched The BOLD Plan today on Facebook.  Using the tag “Education is a business”, Russo managed to take the most horrible ideas ever from the past three decades and put them into a single pile of absolute garbage.  While I don’t think this plan will go anywhere, it is symptomatic of the very same corporate education reform think tank crap that has proliferated American public education and turned Delaware’s school system into a very bad joke. The whole plan can be read below. Continue reading

Predicting Delaware’s Assessment Inventory Report

SJR2DOE

By June 30th this year we will all know what is in the final report from Delaware’s Assessment Inventory Committee.  This is when it is due to the General Assembly.  I have made predictions in the past about the end result: that district assessments will go the way of the dinosaur in favor of more interim assessments for the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  When Senate Joint Resolution #2 was announced, it was at the height of the 2015 opt-out movement.  Governor Markell spoke about it at Howard High School last March.  I immediately saw it as a response to opt-out.

A week before the legislation hit the General Assembly, I had the opportunity to see a DOE email stating that Senate Joint Resolution #2 was the answer to opt-out.  The House and Senate Education Committee Chairs in Delaware sponsored the legislation.  During the Senate Education Committee meeting in June, it was brought up before House Bill 50, much to the consternation of several people.  Governor Markell’s Education Policy Advisor, Lindsay O’Mara, when asked at the meeting, said the Smarter Balanced Assessment could be a part of the assessment inventory but it depends on state and federal regulations.  The Assessment Inventory Committee officially began in November.

To date, no minutes have been posted on the General Assembly website or the DOE website.  The group first met on November 16th and then again on December 16th.  The only place it shows up is on the Delaware Public Meeting Calendar and it must be put there seven days before the meeting as per Delaware state code.  In looking at that website, there are no scheduled meetings showing up anywhere in 2016.  In fact, on the list of committees and task forces in a different section of the General Assembly website, there is no listed Chair of this committee.  No meetings show up on the Department of Education calendar part of their website either.

I am going to predict now that the Smarter Balanced Assessment will definitely be a major topic of discussion at this task force.  It will not be a part of the assessment inventory to be kept or removed.  But someone will say something to the effect of “We need to do an evaluation of this test.”  It may even be one of the few members on the task force who has vocally opposed it.  Politics is often suggesting something to someone and making it seem like it was their idea.  Someone will whisper it into their ear and they will think it is a great idea.  When it comes to education, great ideas can seem like a good thing but they are loaded with snares and traps.  Like I said before, this committee is top-heavy with Markell sympathizers.

There will be some other carrots in this final report.  One teachers will love will be a recommendation that standardized tests not be used for the purpose of teacher evaluations.  Teachers will support this emphatically and will then support anything the committee recommends.  If Governor Markell doesn’t sign an executive order or no legislation passes prior to this report, there will be a very strong recommendation that high school juniors not take the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  This is something ten Democrats in the House of Representatives wrote to the Governor about three days ago.  The reduction in district assessments will not specifically say “get rid of this or that”.  There will be a recommendation that no student receives any type of “interim assessment”, whether it is the Smarter Balanced Assessment or something like SRI, SMI, MAPS, DIBELS, or any of the other assessments districts use in Delaware more than once in any given marking period.  There may be certain assessments ditched, but for the most part it will be up to the local districts.  There will most likely be language either requiring or strongly suggesting the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment be given at least once during the first or second marking period.

The evaluation of the Smarter Balanced Assessment will be done by a third corporate cousin of one of the many vendor companies the DOE utilizes for pretty much anything that generates a report.  The evaluation will come back and find that the Smarter Balanced Assessment is effective.  Bloggers and teachers will rip it apart and say the report is not valid.  The state will most likely pay this vendor anywhere from $50-$100,000 for this report which will show some issues with the test but not enough to render it invalid.  When all is said and done, we will pretty much have what we’ve always had but a little bit less of the district assessments.  Smarter Balanced will still be here.  Parents will still opt-out.  The big question on everybody’s mind will be if our legislators honor that right by overriding Governor Markell’s veto of House Bill 50 or if they side with the test and punish corporate backed privateers who are hell-bent on continuing their agendas.

 

ESSA Part 2: Assessments & Opt-Out

The Every Student Succeeds Act is very clear about expectations for state assessments as well as participation rates in those assessments.  Some of this may surprise you, including the mechanism by which every single student can be opted out in certain conditions!!!

ESSA13

Once again, no social studies requirement.  Are these assessments the same as the current wave including the Smarter Balanced Assessment and the PARCC tests?

ESSA14

If you thought standardized tests were going to disappear from this legislation, you were wrong.  They are still there.  Who needs to take them?  The below language clearly defines the expectation on the school or school district’s part:

ESSA15.1

ESSA15.2

There is a lot thrown into these two sections.  The word “all” does not mean all students have to take the assessment.  This law stipulates schools must give the test, but it does not define the responsibility of the student to actually take the test.  The words coherent and timely need to be more defined in my opinion.  One of the biggest arguments against SBAC and PARCC was they did not provide either, nor were they considered valid and reliable.  Having the results come out after the school year ends, or even into the next school year does nothing for students who advance to the next grade.  By the time parents see the results, most have long since moved on from the prior year’s assessment.

ESSA18.1

This is the big one.  This is the heart of the legality of opt-out.  Those two words define what the school has to do, not the student.

ESSA18.2

The above defines what the school needs to do with assessments.  They must “provide for”.  I can provide chocolate-chip cookies at a bake sale, but I can’t make everyone buy them.

ESSA19

Welcome to stealth testing!  This is where personalized learning rears its head in this legislation, but not overtly said.  The future of standardized assessments will be embedded into end of unit modules on student’s computers.  Instead of the “once-a-year” assessment, or even 2-3 times like in the past in some states, these will be constant assessments.  This law allows schools to come up with a summative score based on all these little assessment.

ESSA27.1

ESSA27.2

Yes, adaptive assessments.  What we currently have in the once  a year assessment, but set up for personalized learning and competency-based education.

ESSA28.1

Here is the loophole, and one of the reasons these tests are so dangerous.  The adaptability allows corruption in the data.  The programmers of the assessment can manipulate them in a way that certain students have a disadvantage.  When a student gives an end-of-unit test, all students are given the same questions.  Why should a standardized assessment be any different?  But this law allows that!

ESSA29

Here is the snake in the grass.  How can a student be determined proficient for current school year instruction if they are given items on a test that are above the grade level?  I can understand items below the grade level.  If a student is behind, you would want to know what level they are at.  I get that.  But to go above like that…it leads to all sorts of issues.

ESSA30.1

This is the clincher!  And I love they put the words “local law”.  Does a district board of education policy honoring a parent’s right to opt-out of the state assessment count as local law?  If a state’s accountability system has opt-out penalties which could harm a school’s rating, would this not completely contradict this part of the legislation?  And if it is a state law to honor opt-out and not punish, then there is nothing anyone can do about it!  Which is why the legislators in Delaware need to override Governor Markell’s veto of their opt-out legislation as soon as possible!!!!

ESSA30.2

Another big thing going on right now is “assessment inventory”.  I believe this will wipe out many of the district assessments in favor of the state assessments.  Especially if the future will be stealth mode on assessments…

If You Thought Delaware Had Issues, Check Out The Monstrosity Created By AIR In Florida!!!!

I love posting guest articles.  It is always refreshing to get other opinions out there.  This one hails from Deb Herbage down in Florida.  I’ve known Deb for a couple months now and we share many of the same thoughts.  Her post is based off the Florida state assessment, the FSA.  While it isn’t the Smarter Balanced or PARCC, it was created by the very same vendor Delaware has for the Smarter Balanced Assessment: American Institutes for Research!  We need a hero, and Deb is already one of them!

280 Days

Written by Deb Herbage

11/18/2015

 

It has been 260 days and 8 months since my daughter sat for the FSA (Florida Standards Assessment) at her elementary school here in Florida and we still have no scores.  260 days and 8 months  ago she took the first of many tests that were supposed to tell her teachers where her learning deficiencies are.  A test  that was supposed to show academic improvement.  A test that was supposed to show  performance data.  A test that was supposed to show us, her parents, results.   What we received was appalling.   What we received was not a report telling us about her learning deficiencies, academic gains or performance.  What we received was deeply disappointing.  Two  sheets of paper (stuffed in her backpack) showing her “percentile rank” – one for ELA and one for math.  THAT’S IT.  This test that was supposed to revolutionize education.   This test that we paid AIR $176 million dollars is an embarrassment and a flop.  It’s worse than a flop – it’s an epic failure of monumental proportions.  A big disappointment.   A rip-off. 

We are now into our second quarter of the new school year and we STILL have no scores.  I do not know how my daughter scored on the FSA and I probably never will.  Her teachers do not know if there were any learning gains or deficiencies but it would be a moot point at this stage of the game considering the test was 8 months ago.  All the empty promises of a cost-effective test, a test that could be scored instantaneously, a test that provided immediate results, all just that – empty promises.  This test was written and designed for one purpose and only one purpose – accountability.  This test was designed to evaluate my daughters teachers, school and district.  This test was never about the students.   The Superintendents in the state of Florida called the accountability system “severely flawed” and “lacking credibility and validity” after the validity fiasco.  Governor Scott and the FDOE are moving ahead with the “severely flawed” and “incredulous and invalid” test results to grade our schools and evaluate our teachers.  It was never about the students.  That is quite evident now.

As a parent – I am deeply concerned at the current state of education in the state of Florida.  I am deeply concerned that my daughter is not getting the education that our tax dollars support.  I am deeply concerned that the damage being done to her and all the students in the state of Florida will be unmeasurable and hopefully not irreversible.

The FDOE, the FL senators, Governor Scott and the FL legislators seem to think this is okay since they are the ones that put this in place.   They seem to think that leaving our kids, teachers and schools in limbo for 8 months and using “invalid and incredulous” results to hold our kids, teachers and schools accountable is okay.    It’s time to man up.  Stop pointing the finger of blame at our teachers and schools and take responsibility for your failures and clean up the horrendous mess you created.  We didn’t ask for this – it was forced upon us.

If I am to believe the test scores that have been released across the country– then Florida will fall right in line with the rest of the country and fail either 54% or 70% of our students next month when the cut scores are set.   All across the country the SBAC/AIR and PARCC (testing consortia) results have been slowly released –  trickling in and they are not good.  Another big disappointment.  Another epic failure.    They are going to tell us our kids “failed”.  They will want us to believe our kids are not “college or career ready”.  They can tell us that because they control the numbers and make them what they want them to be.  The only failure I see is the test.  The big disappointment, epic failure of a test.   260 days for this?

How bad does it have to get before someone, ANYONE does something to put an end to this?  How many more kids will be labeled as failures before someone acts?  How many more hours and days of real, quality instructional time will our kids have to miss for unnecessary test prep and test taking before someone does  something?  How many more kids will be labeled and sorted before anyone does something?  How many more teachers will be driven out before someone does SOMETHING?  All it takes is one.   A coward hides behind lies and deceit.  We need a hero because we have a lot of cowards.  Who will be our hero? 

If the folks in Tallahassee think for one second that parents are more concerned with “percentile ranks” than they are with their child’s education then clearly they are not listening to parents, teachers, the public or students.   They should be ashamed of themselves for labeling our kids as failures when that title deservedly goes to them.  Time to end the malfeasance and man up and stop hurting our children.  Maybe we will have our test scores by then, until so we will continue our act of civil disobedience by opting out of the test so we don’t have to wait another  260 days.

Deb Herbage

Save The Date: September 8th, Dr. Peg Luksik Teleconference To Talk About Cut Scores & Common Core

Last winter, Dr. Peg Luksik from Founded on Truth, was part of a presentation on the Common Core standards. Many parents who participated in this even said this was what truly opened their eyes to what is happening in education in America. Many joined the opt-out movement in Delaware as a result.

On Tuesday, September 8th, Dr. Luksik will be giving a free tele-conference for folks wanting to know how “cut scores” tie in to the Common Core agenda. Cut scores are the benchmarks in the high-stakes testing that put a student on a track of “proficient” or “not proficient”. The details are here:

Join Dr. Peg Luksik for a free Teleconference call on September 8!

When: Tuesday September 8 from 8pm ET to 8:30pm ET
How: Call 641-715-3580 with code 249-850 to join!
What: A 30 minute class on When The Tests Lie (Part 2).

Learn about the fallacies behind the concept of “cut scores” and how they are used to manipulate results to achieve the political agenda of Common Core.

Delaware Smarter Balanced Results: Who Cares? It Really Doesn’t Matter

I’m sure if you go read the News Journal or any of the other Delaware media right now, you can read all about the release of the Smarter Balanced Assessment results.  But guess what?  None of it matters.  That’s right, it doesn’t matter.  It won’t impact your child (they are in a new grade), it won’t count against teachers (they got another skip year from it counting against them on their teacher evaluations), and it won’t count in the state’s School Report Card (cause it’s the first year).  So really, does this have any bearing on your child’s education?  No, it doesn’t.  These tests never did.

It’s all about the companies getting the data, and telling us “Your schools are failing.”  And how we need to fix them, and close the proficiency gaps, and get our kids college and career ready, and and and….blah blah blah

I have no clue what these results are going to say because  I wasn’t invited to their embargoed press junket yesterday.  I can only guess what they are going to say.  I can picture Governor Markell saying something like “Most of our teachers were rated effective last year, but as we see with these test results, our students are not getting an effective education,” or his usual “There has never been a better time to be a person with the right skills, and never a worse time to be a person with the wrong skills.”  He loves that one!  Whatever he says, whoever he wants to blame, know that he doesn’t know any better.  He has been swallowed by greed.  He doesn’t care about your kid.  He truly doesn’t.  He cares about his buddies, the ones that are making money hand over fist at the expense of your child, or your student.  He will smile for the camera, and write his big words, and take his tough-guy stance, but at the end of the day, he’s a snake.  Inside, he is coiling and hissing, and waiting to strike.  He already gave Eve the apple, and he’s just slithering around waiting for his next victims.  Don’t believe a word he says, cause it’s all a pack of lies.

The Delaware DOE and their accomplices over at American Institutes for Research (AIR) are just as guilty as Markell.  The DOE has no skin in this game, they are just “following policy”.  Policy they helped to create.  If Markell is the snake, they are the worms eating away at the apple that is public education.  And the testing freaks over at AIR, who scare the living daylights out of me, they are the embodiment of evil.  They set everything up for this moment, this time.  When their decades of education “policy” got them to the exact place they wanted to be.  They put the sticks in the pit, threw some gas on it, and waited.  Now they have struck the match, and they are watching it all burn.  Which is what they have wanted this whole time.

It doesn’t matter what your kid scored on this test.  All you need to do is stop having your kid take this test.  You can REFUSE THE TEST.  Don’t let these companies (and the DOE is a very big company with lots of high-paid employees) turn your kid into something they don’t want your child to be: data.  Your child is a living, breathing, unique gift on this planet.  Your child is different than everyone else, because they are their own person.  With real thoughts and emotions.  They want to take that away from your family.  They want to standardize your child.  Don’t let them.  Don’t you dare!

My son won’t take the Smarter Balanced Assessment this year.  He is safely tucked away somewhere outside of the battle, and things like Common Core and standardized assessments, they don’t matter for him, at least not for a long time.  So if this is the case, why do I care?  It’s simple… I do.  I care about all the victims of this grand larceny of public education.  I care about the teachers and the schools.  I care about the parents, most of which don’t have the first idea about what is happening to their child 180 days of the year.  But most of all, I care about the kids.  The ones who can’t speak for themselves.  The ones who don’t have enough voices speaking for them.  The ones whose hopes and dreams are drowning while the adults who should know better plot and scheme and say they are the ones “doing it for the kids”.

I’ve been writing about this stupid test for fifteen months, and fought the DOE and the Governor every step of the way.  And I will continue to fight this until this test is gone, along with all the greed and fraud that came with it.  For fifteen months, we’ve been on the defensive.  Now we have the ball, and we are taking it all the way down the field for the biggest touchdown of all.  Our next move will be the one NOBODY saw coming!

President Barack Obama, Arne Duncan & Delaware Governor Jack Markell Pull The Race Card Over Education

President Obama, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Delaware Governor Jack Markell continue to pull the issue of race into education.  Every time they talk about the proficiency gaps in low-income schools, they fail to mention the very mechanism by which these gaps are allowed to flourish: standardized assessments.  It’s a Catch-22 for a lot of folks.  If you disagree with them or their minions, you are accused of not caring about black kids.  If you agree with them, it looks like you are selling out traditional public school districts.

As Civil Rights groups speak out on the ESEA reauthorization, we already have veto threats by President Obama on either the House or Senate acts.  He has not come right out and said it, but he is given strong notions he doesn’t support either legislation.  Arne Duncan is pulling the Urban League president to support not getting rid of standardized assessments.  Delaware Governor Jack Markell openly said he “doesn’t like” a parent opt-out bill that would codify a parent’s right to opt their children out of the state standardized assessment, citing as one of his reasons that minority children would be disadvantaged.

I take great issue with even the tiniest implication that I don’t care about minorities.  As my son is a special needs student, he already is a minority just by the very nature of his rare disability.  Many of the children in the schools that need TRUE help the most, have all three: poverty, disabilities, and a minority status.

The bottom line is this: there is far too much federal and state control in education.  The result of this is students who are tested incessantly, teachers who are judged based on these test scores, and an out of control charter school industry that doesn’t play by the rules and the states and feds allow it.  By openly stating the bottom schools aren’t doing well in the environment Obama, Duncan, and many state governors created, is all the proof we need that what we have now just isn’t working.

As Smarter Balanced and PARCC scores start to trickle in from assessments given in Spring, we are seeing these great tests are no better than what came before.  It will show standardized assessments with high-stakes are not a true measurement of student’s abilities.  But it will show they need improvement, allowing more state and federal dollars to go to “consultants” who will “fix” our schools.  And the cycle does on and on, unless Congress finally steps up and does what is truly right for America’s public school students.

The first step they need to take is implementing all promised Title I and IDEA funding as originally approved.  Until they do that, nothing is going to improve for low-income, minority, and students with disabilities until they get the proper resources they need: lower classroom sizes, more special education services tailored for their individual IEPs, more education regarding these issues to educators and staff, and true educator-parent-student relationships with a collaborative effort.  It doesn’t matter what you call a curriculum or a standard, if you don’t have the basics down in terms of having an equitable school, nothing else matters.

The People Speak On House Bill 50, And The Vast Majority Want Governor Jack Markell To Sign It

In Delaware, there is one place folks can visit to get a true barometer on the overall feeling about an issue, and that is the Delawareonline Facebook page.  This website for the News Journal draws a crowd, and some of the commenters aren’t so nice.  Now that House Bill 50 is sitting on Governor Markell’s desk, I have to wonder if he is bothering to see the state mood on this subject.  These are the comments I was seeing on Delawareonline’s Facebook page based on their June 26th article on the Senate vote, but without the actual poster names for obvious reasons of privacy:

Education needs to be brought back to the classrooms. My kids do not need to go to school everyday to be taught how to study for these state tests. To much focus is on them.

I agree with this measure mandatory standardized tests have taken the creativity out of the classroom. Teachers are now forced to teach to the test.

Teachers will still have to do this

Unfortunately I know. I think they need to reevaluate this system for all students

Exactly..totally agree..most teachers I know hate these tests now!

Those of you that don’t agree with opt out should be in my classroom with the kids who are crying, stressed out, and feel defeated when they have to take a test that is full of flaws. Seriously. I am not against testing. Many give great information. I am against kids who barely speak English being forced to take a test. I am against kids with special needs being denied accommodations they get everyday that they can’t have on testing day because it isn’t on an approved list. I’m also against a test that does not give me results until AFTER my class is gone. How does that help anyone? Before you judge, come talk to the children.

My experience of state standardized tests in school were stress inducing nightmares…

If you ask the frontline teachers what they think about this year’s standardized test, you’ll see why why we fought for the right to opt our children out. Doesn’t mean we will in every case, but my kids won’t be subjected to a test that was predetermined to have a 70% failure rate. Can you imagine the pressure the schools will be under to produce good numbers? There is just too much incentive for schools to exclude low-scoring students and fudge numbers. I trust the teachers who told me about SBA test and until the come out with a better version, my child won’t be taking it. Go ask the teachers…you trust them with your children; trust their opinion of this current testing.

Too much time spent teaching for tests vs teaching how to be productive in life.

The Common Core-associated standardized tests do nothing for the student or, in most cases, the teacher. It’s not really a question of dropping new standards – it’s a question of testing with purpose.

The Feds need to get out of education and return it where it belongs….and where it excelled…to local control

Standardized testing, in its present format, Smarter Balance is a nightmare. I speak as a mother of both a LD and non LD child. Weeks of times wasted on pre-tests, post tests then the actual test. And common core, don’t get me started…Nothing more stupid then taking simple math and trying to turn it into rocket science. Education in DE is a train wreck. My kids didn’t take the SBA this year, and I will exercise my right to opt them out again next year if the same test remains. 

it’s been a train wreck ever since the state seized power from the local school boards, and started dictating what’s best for us.

Standardized testing is horrible. It’s quite clear that it benefits nobody and stresses kids out because teachers pretty much have to drill the information in. There a very specific way things have to be taught to pass that test. I was in Indiana for majority of my school career. I took the standardized state testing in 1st, 3rd, 5th, 9th, and finally 10th which by the way the 10th grade IStep is the test that determines whether you graduate on time as if students at that grade level aren’t already stressed out enough. Curriculums are fine. Tells teachers what they need to teach now how they need to teach it. Not everyone learns OR tests the same. Standardized testing is only beneficial for the student with the brain that understands everything right away. They suck. Get rid of them. 

It started with NCLB, rolled into RFE, now SBA. They’re all just throwing something at the wall to see if it sticks. Guess what, it’s not sticking.

They want us to differentiate instruction but then turn around and give the same test to everyone. I don’t get it! Just let me teach!

I’m a conservative libertarian and a teacher, (non-union, thanks for asking!) The theory that using excessive, arbitrary testing improves education is ridiculous. All it does is poke at a symptom, it doesn’t solve the problems you think need solving (quite the opposite.) As in, teachers tenure and, ‘inability to be fired regardless of performance’ is another symptom. Schools that are not performing is a symptom of a much greater set of problems. Testing the bejeezus out of kids with different strengths, different learning styles, etc. to try to prove that a teacher is bad, is useless in the grand scheme, as it would be if a manager of a large company assumed that every worker under his care did everything exactly the same way. It only measures one VERY finite, tip of the iceberg skill: do these children take this particular test well? That’s it! Want to raise the standards? Let teachers TEACH! Which clearly the woman quoted in this article doesn’t think is possible, because apparently the only way one knows of a child is struggling is low standardized test scores…. otherwise, oh no, they’ll, “fall through the cracks!” Apparently, teachers are incapable of knowing when students are having a hard time otherwise. To clarify: this doesn’t mean allowing unions to dictate, (or the state to dictate, or the fed to dictate.) It means allowing TEACHERS in their classrooms to guage the abilities, strengths and weaknesses of the kids, and go from there. Otherwise, homeschool for goodness sake!

Follow the $$$ and see who sells the tests to the state and what politicians they support

I opted my children out. For four weeks my daughers were to either sit in the office or library and read. They do not give opted out children assignments or instruction time. When I found out after the first day, I put together things for them to do. My oldest needed help strengthening her math skills so I had her do that and my youngest her reading. Both significantly improved which would not have happened if they were testing. These test aren’t days, they are weeks now that expand half the day where nothing is being taught.

So then what’s the point of enforcing Common Core?

Common Core is terrible.

Make your voices heard! Tell Markell how you really feel about the standardized tests!!!

Standardized testing is a joke. Kids past first or second grade know it doesn’t count towards their grades so they don’t take them seriously.

Look at U.S. on a global scale people.. making excuses about why kids are failing isnt gonna help.. yes all kids are different but the knowledge should be the same.. more and more kids focus on social lives instead of education for the future.. maybe just maybe its not the tests fault they fail.. it rest on the teachers and parents to teach and the kids to learn if any of those aren’t doing their part of course they will have trouble where others don’t

stop making excuses for children that cant keep up with the standards,, you are only lowering the standards of our education system.keep dumbing down our children and we will have the next generation of Burger King fippers…

Why would anyone want their kids to opt out? That is so stupid. I took all the tests I could. They were fun!

There are a lot more test now than before, some taking weeks out of instruction time. If you have children be grateful that they aren’t disabled. I opted out my disabled daughter because she has struggled taking these tests. Her learning style is different than her peers. They do not cater to children that need certain accommodations.

And I understand that. Obviously they are catering to your disabled daughter due to her special needs. I have two step daughters who are also disabled. They are grown now, so I do know what you are talking about. I just think it is not right for “normal” kids to opt out. Where will that leave them when they are required to test for positions later in life?

This is for opting out of the yearly standardized testing. They still have to take all the regular classroom tests and exams. A standardized test prepares them for nothing and is a waste of classroom time

The results for the smarter balanced won’t even be out until mid-summer sometime. How is that helpful? And kids aren’t allowed to brag anymore. My son couldn’t be given his honor roll award in class because other kids might feel bad…

Here is all I can say. The school does not cater to children who have a learning disability by automatically opting them out. My daughter has taken them before and it took me to contact the superintendent to finally get her to stop. Even after several IEP meetings I still had to go above the school. Like **** states, regular classroom test are the best way for teachers to see how each individual student is doing. I opted out my other child who is not disabled. While her peers spent weeks taking a test she took the time to strengthen skills that she struggled with. She now excels and may not have if she had stopped to take a test that puts even more unneeded pressure on her. Kids are learning more advanced skills earlier than when I was in school. I understand we have different perceptions, as your children are now adults, but with children currently in elementary trust me, things have seriously changed. I think if you did a bit of research you will be surprised about how much it has.

My daughter is in the Autism Spectrum. High functioning. The state tests stressed her out unnecessarily. Her mainstream teacher said she felt it was an ‘insult to her dignity’. I opted her out.

the tests don’t lead to any success for the children. There is no relation between this type of testing and the required testing later in life. Those types of tests are more like you and I took in our school years. Just take a deeper look is all I ask. 

Veto the bill, Governor. Let’s stop letting the losers win.

Markell is for himself not DE (Delaware) be glad when he is gone.

We need to get back to teaching.

NBC 10 news just reported that Markell would veto the bill. (Editor’s Note: No they didn’t.  If fact I reached out to their Delaware reporter Tim Furlong who thanked me for letting him know the bill passed but he was on vacation.  There has been zero reporting of Markell even speaking out on House Bill 50 since it passed on Thursday.)

It’ll come back to haunt him if he does. I want to know who has him in their pocket and what is he getting for supporting a sub-par test. The truth will come out when some investigative reporting shows the money trail.

Our kids can’t be standardized so why should we use a standardized test to judge them, their teachers, and schools?

Isn’t that what their grades are for? Requiring an honor roll student to take a standardized test is a waste of time

Like law makers don’t have better things to do. Parents have known the test is crap and has controlled teaching for 30 years.

State tests were a waste of time in the 50’s & 60’s, let the teachers teach, the students study and get rid of at least 50% of the useless so called administrators!!!

This (is) dumb. It lets the teachers know where the kids stand!

Actually, most teachers I have talked to are against these new tests.. its all politics now..and the teachers have to teach to the test instead of having the creative freedom they used to have

As a teacher my classroom assessments tell me way more than any standardized test will. These standardized tests are written knowing that 70% of students will not be proficient. And kids don’t have any incentive- they are not tied to grades, grade promotion, or graduation. So they click through and randomly answer questions. This absolutely does not tell me what they know!!!

Let the people speak

Why bother, kids can fail every class and still get promoted to next grade. Why even go to school??

Oh thank you dear masters and overlords for allowing us to have the teensiest say in our childrens’ lives.

I took those dumb test and they did nothing for me. Except give me stress of if I was going to pass or not. It didn’t help for anything outside of school. Honestly who looks at these test scores? Any place I’ve tried to go to college at hasn’t asked me about these dumb tests. So why take them?

As it is plain to see, people don’t want this test, agree with opt-out, and a rising number of voices in Delaware don’t want Common Core either for their kids.  If you listen to the News Journal (who survives on advertising revenue from many of the same groups who opposed House Bill 50) and commenters over on Kilroy’s Delaware, it is a “handful” or “some” parents who support opt-out.  They have always wanted to lessen the impact of opt-out because of their own vested interests with these matters.

Markell has three choices: Veto the bill, sign it, or allow it to become law after ten days (legislative days which would bring it into January).  I say this:

SIGN THE BILL JACK!

Opt-Out Refuse The Test Revolution Is About Action Not Discussion

I’ve heard a few folks say opt-out legislation is useless if there is not legislation to get rid of high-stakes standardized assessments like the Smarter Balanced Assessment or the PARCC.  I question this line of thinking for several reasons.  Standardized assessments of this sort have been around for a long time, closing in on twenty years in some states.  It hasn’t been until the introduction of Common Core about seven years ago that this matter really got national attention.

Parent opt-out is not about waiting around for politicians to discuss whether or not standardized assessments are necessary.  It’s about parents already realizing these assessments are not right for our children, and we are exercising a right we already had to control our children’s educational outcome.  I fully support opt-out legislation because of how it has been created.  Opt-out is a force, an action.  It is something people see, on the tv, on social media, and in our very schools.  Talking about it really hasn’t changed anything.  Knowing others have done it is inspiring other parents to take a look at what is going on and make their own choices for their children.  Politicians see this, and the smart ones know which way the wind is blowing.  These are voters, and if an overwhelming amount are saying “We want change, and if you don’t do it, we will do it in our own way.”

Opt-out is making people notice what’s going on in education and it is opening the conversation for policy-makers to take a hard look at the impact education reform is having on our children.  ESEA reauthorization has been talked about for 8 years now.  There are no actual signs of anything happening this year.  So parents are doing what is necessary.  They are changing the conversation.  And we will keep doing it.  So for those who want these tests gone, take a hard look at what is happening: parents are opting out all over the country.  Our children aren’t taking these tests you want to disappear.  It isn’t perfect, but we are closer to getting rid of these bad, disruptive education policies than we have ever been.  That didn’t happen because we talked about it.   It happened because we took action.

Delaware Father’s Passionate Email To The House Education Committee

This is why I blog.  Not for myself, but to get the word out to others.  I asked parents to email every single member of the Delaware House Education Committee to show their support for House Bill 50, the Parent Opt Out legislation.  One father took the baton and ran with it.  What David Brenton said in this email is nothing short of amazing, and I highly encourage every parent to come up with their own words from the heart and email every single member.

State Of Delaware Legislators,

I have 3 children in the Delaware Public School system. I am a former Delaware Public School student. Like many of your constituents, I spend a lot of time trying to make ends meet. My head down and nose to the grind stone. I and many like me have trusted you to see our children’s education is the best it can be. You have before you an opportunity to earn that trust. HB 50. Please pass it.

I have been paying attention lately. I have been to many meetings to listen to other parents, teachers, principals, and my representatives about Smarter Balanced Testing. I listened to a DDOE official tell me about the value of assessments and the data that this testing will provide. About the money we will get from the Federal Government. About how rigorous these national standards are and how they will help our children compete in the global economy. I’m sorry, I don’t agree, here is why:

Assessments, I expect a certified teacher to have the skill set to assess my child. I expect the school principal to have the skill set to assess their teachers. I expect the superintendent to have the skill set to assess their principals. If this is not the case, Someone is not doing their job!

Data Collection, At my Delaware school, I was told the difference between The USA and the USSR was freedom. “That in the USSR the young children had to take a test in school, and the results would plot their course to employment. Here In the USA you have the freedom to aspire to any type of employment if you worked hard”. I didn’t think it was a good idea then. I don’t think its a good idea now. Please forgive me if I don’t trust others with data to manipulate my children.

Money From the Federal Government, I pay taxes, I pay school taxes, I don’t care if Delaware has excepted a bribe from the DOE to set up yet another bureaucracy, It all comes from the same pocket, mine.

Rigorous National Standards, These standards were not created by educators, there was no task force that scoured the globe in search of the best educational methods and standards. In fact educational scholars refused to endorse these standards. They are not proven at all! This is experimental education and I don’t like my children used as guinea pigs.

Compete in the global economy, My generation’s education went to the moon, invented computers, internet, cell phones and much more. This is a definition of not competing I’m not familiar with. I have opted my 3rd grader out. I will opt out my older children soon. I need your support. HB50.

Proud Father David Brenton