Dave Sokola & Greg Meece Played All Of Us And They Are Laughing Behind Your Back!

Suckers!  Governor Carney vetoed the 5 mile radius bill.  Big deal.  We all knew he didn’t really have a choice.  But don’t think for one second Senator David Sokola and Newark Charter School Head of School Greg Meece didn’t plan all of this the second the bill went into circulation.  Did any of you think for one second Meece would give up his beloved 5-mile radius for NCS?  Come on!  This is Delaware Politics 101 folks!

This was never about Wilmington students.  This was ALWAYS about Newark Charter School.  They do NOT want anyone outside of their 5-mile radius crossing that line.  Sokola knew the bill had legs so he found the perfect amendment to kill it: exclude the Wilmington portion of Christina.  It would get all the civil rights activists going off and it worked like a charm.  Lest we forget, this is the same State Senator who messed around with the opt out bill every single chance he could.  How many of us were there when he scheduled many bills during a Senate Education Committee meeting and the opt out bill, House Bill 50, was delayed for a week?  Remember the whole “Assessment Inventory Task Force” crap?  That was him.  Remember the charter school audit bill which was fantastic under State Rep. Kim Williams’ original incarnation until he got his charter-dirty hands on it.  And what about House Bill 399, the bill that would have given teachers a choice of using the Smarter Balanced Assessment or other tests for their evaluations?  He put so much crap in his amendment and watered it down to nothing.  This is classic Sokola.

Don’t believe for one second that NCS had issues with transportation logistics.  They didn’t want the 5-mile radius to go away.  Period.  That’s all this was ever about.  I have no doubt Sokola was cheering me on when I wrote about how his version of House Bill 85 would result in a massive lawsuit against the state.  This is what he does.  He turns gold into poison ivy.  But all the clowns up in Newark keep voting him back in over and over again.

As for Meece, he is never going to change.  He loves the fact that HIS school is the “best” in the state.  He loves the fact it’s the biggest as well.  And he has stacked the deck with the sibling enrollment preference.  That way all his favorite families can keep bringing their kids there.  He might throw a prize our way by taking in some special education kids.  Make it look like he is trying.  But he isn’t.  He’s just playing the game.  And with Sokola by his side, he always wins.

Everyone on social media is talking about Carney and Wilmington.  How Carney did or didn’t help Wilmington kids with his veto.  Do you really believe Carney didn’t know what Sokola and Meece were up to the entire time?  See the game for what it is folks.  It isn’t about change.  It’s about the status quo.

Lucky for Sokola, he got to go on a cross-country bike ride with former Governor and good buddy Jack Markell.  They are somewhere in middle America right now, sweating their hineys off in spandex.  I have no doubt Meece is thinking “Yes, we win again!” while wondering if he should go for a threepeat on Blue Ribbon status so he can brag that they are 1 in 5 trillion schools who ever got the hat trick.  They played all of us for suckers, again.  And they will do it again.  As long as Sokola has his little amendment followers and enough whine to go with his charter cheese, this scene will play out again.  And again.  And again.  I don’t have a doubt in my mind that Meece and Sokola ever worried about this bill at all.  Gravy!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shut Up About Education Already Jack Markell, We Don’t Care About Your Failed Policies Anymore

Former Delaware Governor Jack Markell was supposed to go biking into the sunset.  That was an honorable move on his part.  But in the past week, Markell has been on a tear in the education world.  If he isn’t joining the board of Graham holdings with their very huge education ties, he is pimping for Campbell Brown’s ridiculous education outfit. Continue reading

Colin Bonini Would Not Have Vetoed House Bill 50, The Delaware Opt Out Bill

On the Rick Jensen show, Delaware State Senator Colin Bonini just told Jensen he would have signed House Bill 50, Delaware’s opt out bill that Governor Markell vetoed last year.  He agrees with many people in this state that the federal government is too involved in education and decisions are best left to the state and local districts.  Bonini said he doesn’t agree with getting rid of testing altogether, but the high-stakes involved are too much.  He thinks there needs to be some type of measurement to compare students and how they are doing.

He mentioned he will have a Delaware State Education Association interview next week but he doesn’t expect their support since he is a Right To Work guy.  Jensen joked that he could agree with everything they said but would still endorse a Democrat even if that Dem disagreed with them on different things.

Bonini said the recent bill passed by the Feds (ESSA) is a healthy thing, but I would encourage all candidates for any public office in Delaware to read up on the nasty regulations U.S. Secretary of Education John King is trying to roll out.  Which basically gives the feds a lot of the accountability power the bill was meant to get rid of.  This WILL be a major thing during the next four years, guaranteed!  I would also urge the candidates to look into the Delaware DOE supporting those regulations and their already shameful Delaware School Success Framework which was custom-designed for this legislation and the regulations King introduced.

All four Gubernatorial candidates in Delaware need to read between the lines on some of this stuff.  They will be facing whatever comes out of the Every Student Succeeds Act when it is implemented into law next year.  Wrong answers could, and most likely will, come back to haunt them.

Now Governor Markell Vetoes A Bill That Would Make It A Felony If Healthcare Workers Have Sex w/Patients

The veto-mad Delaware Governor Markell is pulling out his executive veto power once again on House Bill 130, which would make it a felony if a healthcare worker has sex with a patient. This is a bill that passed unanimously in the Delaware House of Representatives and Senate. Has this Governor lost his mind? Or is he that naïve to think nobody will notice? What is he trying to prove? My best guess is now that his power is diminishing, he will attempt to yield it any way he can. And since State Rep. Kim Williams has been one of the most vocal opponents of his education scams, he will strike whenever he wants.

This is the actual synopsis of the passed bill:

This bill creates a felony level offense for a person that is a health professional and in the course of providing professional health services to the victim, intentionally has sexual contact with the victim. This bill adds to the existing crime of unlawful sexual contact in the second degree and makes the conduct described therein as a felony offense, rather than a misdemeanor, due to the vulnerability of the victim as a patient seeking services from a health professional.

This is from State Rep. Kim Williams Facebook page:

I found out today that Governor Markell is vetoing a bill that I sponsored, House Bill 130, Unlawful Sexual Contact. It passed the House and Senate unanimously. The Criminal Justice Council voted in support of this bill and whose members are Delaware judges, AG Denn, and other respected folks. I never heard a word from the Governor’s office until the day he decides to veto the bill that his office had an issue with it. I filed this bill early May. The only group that I heard a peep from was the Medical Society and that was after it was released from the House Judiciary Committee. I spoke to them briefly and never heard another word from them. Currently, if a healthcare worker (person of trust) has sex with a patient it is a misdemeanor, this bill would make it a felony. If a prison guard has consensual sex with an inmate it is a felony but a healthcare worker who is treating a patient who has been sexually abused and the healthcare worker gains the individual’s trust and has sexual relations it is not a felony. This is unbelievable to me.

I am really beginning to wonder if Jack Markell has potentially gone insane. Or if he’s protecting someone. Or what the hell he is thinking. What’s next on his hit list? These are people of trust having sex with patients. It’s not alright Jack. I hope the General Assembly overrides two bills you have vetoed this summer.

UPDATED: You can see this further down in the comments, but I had to add it to the main story-

Instead of visiting the FFA/EASTSIDE’s BS PD (professional development), he should have been reading what Kim Williams’ bill actually protected….THE PEOPLE OF DELAWARE!
2017 can’t get here fast enough.

Rep. Kowalko & Senator Lawson Slam Markell’s HB50 Veto With Style & Facts!!

With permission from State Rep. John Kowalko to publish his letter that appeared on Delawareonline earlier this afternoon!

Markell Veto…..Opt-out or Cop-out

                It has been one week since we received Governor Markell’s message that he had vetoed House Bill 50 (the parental opt out rights bill). We feel it is our obligation, as responsible lawmakers, to thoroughly review and consider all aspects of Governor Markell’s stated reasons for vetoing this legislation.
Unfortunately, we found little if any reasonable logic to the Governor’s action and explanation. Quite frankly, there were a few questionable inaccuracies in the statement that lead us to believe that Governor Markell’s action was premeditated with little thought given to the overwhelming support from parents, teachers, administrators, school boards, and the General Assembly for HB 50.
We made every effort to grasp the argument that the administration was trying to make, but the indefatigable truth remains that he had no logical reason to reject the wishes of the parents and lawmakers and instead chose to diminish the seriousness of the “opt-out” movement with a series of unsubstantiated arguments.
The third paragraph of the Governor’s veto statement suggests that educators and school leaders opposed the legislation when, in fact, the reality is that HB 50 and parental opt-out rights are supported, unequivocally, by the DSEA and its membership and the Delaware PTA and its membership. There were also three of the largest and poorest school districts in the state–Christina, Red Clay, and Capital–who voted for and passed resolutions supporting parental opt-out rights. Also noticeable in its deliberate exaggeration is the Governor’s contention that the civil rights “community” opposed the legislation, while refusing to acknowledge that a larger portion of that community did not oppose “opt-out” legislation. Particularly offensive was the language in the fourth paragraph that stated, “if struggling students are disproportionately encouraged to opt out as has happened elsewhere, we may not be able to identify the children who need intervention to be successful.” Unfortunately, this type of hyperbole paints a false picture of the situation in many ways. There is no proof available or offered that a “disproportionate encouragement “of students to opt out has “happened elsewhere.” There is no evidence whatsoever that the test that will be used in Delaware does or will identify children who need intervention. Most importantly, HB 50 does not and cannot be used to encourage or discourage participation in the assessment test.
The fifth paragraph posits the unsubstantiated and unproven assertion that “students with disabilities and students of color have benefitted the most from the adoption of statewide testing requirements.” There is no valid data that would suggest this to be an accurate statement of fact. Out of respect for the office of the Governor, we will temper our comments regarding the deliberate misrepresentation of reality in that sentence and its intention to instill fear and doubt in the minority and disabled communities.
Governor Markell, in his veto statement, also suggests that HB 50 was a construct of those who feel that children are over-tested. This completely misses the point that the legislation is exclusively about parental and child rights to not participate in this specific, unproven, time-consuming distraction called the “Smarter Balanced Assessment,” which hinders their ability to learn expediently and prevents appropriately identifying their shortcomings and needs to succeed. The fact that this administration chooses to engage in the politics of distraction that could result in useful and proven tests being shunned to the detriment of students and educators speaks volumes against the Governor’s decision to veto HB 50.
In conclusion, after having thoroughly examined the Governor’s stated positions on parental opt-out rights and because of the enormous public support expressed for HB 50 by educators (DSEA), parents and families (PTA), school administrators (Capital, Christina, and Red Clay resolutions), and the huge majority of General Assembly members who supported HB 50, we have decided that it is our sworn responsibility to our constituents and all Delawareans to bring HB 50 to the floor in January for a veto override vote.

Representative John Kowalko 25th District, 14 Kells Ave. Newark De. 19711    302 547 9351
Senator Dave Lawson 15th Senatorial District  302 270 1038

Jack Markell, The People Of Delaware Spoke Out On Your Veto & Their Judgement Is Harsh! Legislators Beware…

A week ago today, Governor Jack Markell earned the wrath of thousands of Delawareans by vetoing the controversial House Bill 50, which does not ALLOW for opt-out, but HONORS a parent’s right to opt-out their child from statewide and district-wide assessments.  They can already legally do this, but this legislation would have stopped the school intimidation and bullying to parents requesting opt-out and would have eliminated the opt-out students from school accountability measures including Annual Yearly Performance and the standardized assessment portion of teacher evaluations.

Reaction to Governor Markell’s veto was fast and furious.  On Facebook, hundreds of parents expressed outrage at Markell’s actions.  A very small amount of parents supported the veto.  This is in sharp contrast to the News Journal’s continuous reporting of “a small but vocal minority” in describing the opt-out movement in Delaware.  Larry Mendte, with NewsRadio 1450 WILM, conducted a poll and 9% agreed with the veto, while 91% disagreed.  The following are Facebook comments from the original News Journal story on the veto, and Governor Markell’s own post about it.  I would say the people have spoken Jack, and they are overwhelmingly saying one thing: YOU SUCK!

Politicians need to stay out of the classroom and let teachers teach something other than how to take a test. I’m disappointed with him to say the least.

Amen!! I’ve lost all respect for him. He’s proved he’s all about the $$$ and nothing else!

Keeping his friends pockets fat while the children suffer.

Like I stated previously, of course he would not approve. Politicians are in bed with the testing companies and he would lose a large piece of the pie when it came time for pay outs. These politicians are getting very rich at the expense of your child. Sickening.

Those stupid tests need to stop. Kids are not learning anything except how to take a test. I know quality of education is important but you don’t need all of those tests. It is overkill. Kids don’t even have time to be kids anymore. Too much stress on the kids. The “No child left behind” law is a joke. More kids are going to be left behind because of it. Not to mention the emotional issues that are now cropping up. They lack “basic skills” which is a disgrace.

Wonder how much money he got for doing this to our kids.

Oh please, like standardized tests are going to make kids smarter and save them from being burger flippers. Did you read that this test is designed with a 70% fail rate. How does that help anyone. Have you even taken a practice Smarter Balanced Test? Do you know what they are asking of 8 years olds. They are not you old Iowa Tests of Basic Skills. They are not even the old SAT of my high school days. Take one of the tests and then see what you think. Or better yet have one of your children or grandchildren take the test.

…my daughter is a straight A student. I don’t need some test to tell me or her teachers how she is doing or how smart she is. Please explain to me how this test exactly helps students.

Do you not realize our children aren’t being taught in school anymore due to these tests? All they learn every year is what is on the tests. My kids know nothing about history, social studies, science, English, literature, or even how to write in cursive!!!! These tests are garbage!

you can’t compare those test. 2 help you get into college. what do the cc tests do. nothing for the kid. it is a test that is hung over the kids, parent, teachers, and schools head. a duh do well on this test and we will give you money… but if you fail the kid is stupid, the teacher is bad and the school is bad. cant compare SAT And ACT to Common Core.

That’s funny. Because, none of the private schools use this type of testing, and all of those students pretty much compete “globally.” I know, because I went to a private school, and testing/practicing for testing wasn’t anywhere in our curriculum. Now, I teach in the public system, and practicing for testing is really all that is going on in the classrooms. I feel sorry for parents and students who have to succumb to this type of schooling.

its horrible. i feel so bad for some of the kids who have to take these tests. and i hate that my kids have to sign something saying they can’t and will not talk to anyone about the test. well i am sorry that don’t fly with me. i have a RIGHT to know what my kid is doing. and again i should have the right to see the test. never have… cause its not allowed. Bologna! We are the parents it is our right to see EVERY little thing our kids does in school. because ultimately WE the parents are responsible to the child. not the phoney bolognas up in dc.

 If you let teachers teach them what they need to know instead of teaching the test they could compete globally.

Thanks Markell! He doesn’t care at all about the kids. One test does not fit all children.

How about you sir go on line and take a ‘practice’ test and then afterwards post your score! Oh……but you can’t post your score bc a human being has to grade the test and that person is probably still being sought by the testing co. As the ‘graders’ of the tests ARE NOT educated teachers they are ONLY temporary workers.
And also, you probably can’t sit still long enough to complete a test. It takes hours and hours for 1 test!!!!

If you researched this particular test and asked your teacher friends about it, I believe you will find that a test with a pre-determined 70% failure rate with results not even released to teachers until after the school year ends so they can’t even help these kids learn from their mistakes a big waste of time and money. Don’t you see that there will be pressure to keep the low-scoring kids out, and fudge numbers so administrators don’t lose their jobs? This bill wasn’t even about dropping this sub-standard test…it was about giving parents the right to determine what is best for their children. My child will not take this test…period.

 Oh, the test is also a big problem…see where I wrote “pre-determined 70% failure rate”? How is that any bit helpful or encouraging to children? We’re not talking about 10-12th graders taking SAT’s….they start with the little ones. And they will not make enough necessary accommodations for children with special needs.

These students have NO stake in these tests whatsoever. Therefore, some choose not to take them seriously. There is NO consequence for them. There are only consequences to outside forces, like myself, schools, and districts. Any scientist knows that a test where the subject being tested have no vested interest is not going to measure anything.

Not to mention, that the test is graded by temporary workers hired from Craigslist for $12 an hour. All they need is 48 college credits. I am a teacher, and I am not even ALLOWED to see the questions that my students answered incorrectly! How is that helping anyone?

Just another example of how the governor does not understand education or what is going on in our schools today. It is nice that he has lunch with a select group of “teachers of the year” on one day, but he knows nothing of the day to day goings on in schools. Tests are but one snap shot of what is happening and if happens to be a bad day for a student, than that snap shot is not going to be good. What if his political career was judged by one day?????. I’d like to pick that day, the one he cut our (teachers) salaries. He failed.

Did we really expect a different outcome? He doesn’t care about our rights to decide what’s best for our youth. It’s all about the money…..always has been n always will be. 

Where to begin with this jacka$$ and DOE? I’m a single parent of three, my oldest is 17 years old and I have twin 8 year olds. My 17 year old has been a straight A student since elementary school. She has taken ever state test and they come back stating the same thing. She meets the standard for the state, district and school. Every year she has mini panic attacks before and during these stupid tests. As a parent I don’t like seeing my kids stressed out over a damn test. It’s bad enough that’s all they are being taught about during class. Once these kids graduate from school and move out into the world. Their not going to be able to understand how to function. Hell I had to teach all 3 of my kids how to count money, balance a check book, and cook. Why, because the schools are NO LONGER teaching this in classes. So I’ll ask our so called governor… are these tests still important for our youths? To me all these test do is determine how the federal funds are divided between the state, districts and schools. They don’t benefit my kids education. So my kids won’t be taking them no matter what! I don’t need a test to show or tell me how MY KIDS are doing statewide, district wide, or amongst their school. That’s why I get a monthly interim report and report cards quarterly.

When’s the final vote gonna be?? My son has issues, PDD/ADHD still in question that would not allow him to take this test and be effective.

This testing nonsense takes time away from actually learning things the kids need.. LOL dumbass, he thinks we need to pass a test but not learn how to:
1. File Taxes.
2. Get a loan for a house or car.

3. How to write checks.
But by god, the kids can REALLY do a test!

How about start with going back to how math was taught back in our days? This whole testing bs is just for bragging rights for the schools and districts. “Oh our schools are better than yours.” How about they just let the teachers teach the class instead of putting so much emphasis on these stupid standardized tests? I wouldn’t want to be a teacher these days and I give them credit for continuing to be there for their students.

You didn’t have to take these tests. The smarter balanced tests are new… My child gets straight A’s. What is the purpose of the grades if they’re intelligence is evaluated based on a test score? What is the test teaching them?

How is it that only 5 out of 67 comments agree with his decision, and those that agree have children who graduated 4-5 decades ago?? (this was posted earlier in the day on July 16th)

Can you please explain to me why you feel this way? I have a child in our public school and can’t for the life of me understand why you support Markell taking away my right to decide what’s best for him? What do you know of this test that I don’t?

This has nothing to do with kids or education, it’s about money. First, the state receives money for every kid that tested from the feds. Second, this is a political payback to the companies that make and develop the test. My kids WILL NOT be taking a test and we get enough people to back this it’s time for a lawsuit.

They spend all school year scaring the kids and holding the tests over their heads. I hate it!

Exactly!!! It’s Ridiculous and has nothing to do with our kids….it’s all about the monies and recognitions that are to be received. ..it has nothing to do with the welfare or self-esteem of a child…therefore the school system is just as corrupt as some major bank or company trying to stay afloat….only at a much higher cost…

Many school districts passed resolutions at the district level in support of “opting out”. Check with your district. Christina, Red Clay and Colonial did, to name a few. (Editor’s note: Colonial had no formal resolution, only a brief discussion about it during one of their board meetings.  Capital was the first school district to pass a resolution on opt-out back in October.)

Says the Gov.: “HB 50 would undermine the only objective tool we have to understand whether our children are learning and our schools are improving.”
First of all, *any* one-size-fits-all standardized test by its very nature is far from objective. Sec
ond, and most importantly, the aim should not be to develop an *objective* assessment tool, per se. Hear me out: instead, an *effective* tool is most critical to ensure academic excellence is appropriately measured. We have thousands of such effective assessment tools working hard in every district and school in the country.
They’re called *teachers.*
Enough with the hyper-focus on using standardized tests as high-stakes assessment tools. When we stop treating students as data points and start letting teachers teach and assess content that matters, the students will learn in ways that matter.
Novel concept.

I’ve been saying for years – even wrote to the Governor when my kids were in school suggesting it, -please read the whole thing before you jump to conclusions – that we should have these test to teach the children. It’s important that they get a feel for what it’s like to take tests like that so when they take the SAT’s they are so ready for it. But to make standardized testing the beginning and end all of a child’s school year is just ridiculous! He’s right it takes all the tools out of the teachers hands. They end up teaching the whole year to a single test instead of the way they should which is to their individual style teaching the syllabus for that grade year. I know I used to love going on field trips with my kids classes, I know I was lucky to be able to do that, but if the teachers have to teach a school year to a single test how much history are our kids going to be taught in the future not to mention science, art, music when these tests are Math and English. These are just as important to make a well rounded child become a well rounded adult.

 Standardized testing is a waste of time. Once kids realize they don’t count towards grades, they don’t put in effort.

This is NOT for the people by the people. Typical sheeple move Markell. Trust me, this is about money, agenda and bureaucratic pressure from higher federal government. Has zero to do with whats good for students or what the people actually need and want….

 Well said!!! Completely agree! Teachers and parents are the main focus regarding the education of our kids…most importantly all kids learn differently…excel in different things…these tests prove nothing but certainly do box/label a child in as possibly not being smart/good enough…it wreaks havoc on their self esteem and self worth….that’s the last thing a child needs or parent needs for that matter…I have 4 children, all are very different and there is a bit of time between the first 2 and the last 2….what is now expected of my 9 year old sometimes boggles my mind!!!! The pressure is absolutely unreal!!! She is now supposed to learn things that my other kids learned well into Middle School!!! She sometimes comes home with spelling words I have a hard time pronouncing let alone explaining to her what the word actually means!!! It doesn’t only frustrate and stresses her out…it stresses me out as well!! What the hell is going on!!! Are we trying to catch up to the Japanese where it is normal for these kids to go to school 6 days out of the week and they get a 2 week break…with homework??? My child came home one day from school…beautiful day out side…she wanted to ride her bike but she was too concerned about her homework on paper and homework on the computer…..she is 9 years old!!!! I told her..go ride your bike baby and after dinner we’ll sit down and do all this homework…get some fresh air and relax…be a kid….as a parent I have a hard time with that….but we really don’t have a choice do we????

You do not need anyone’s permission to opt out. Just complete the opt out request letter for each of your children.
A test that 70% of students will fail, graded by $10/hour employees with no education background, provides absolutely no gauge of my
child’s intelligence or what he has learned this year. The teachers are teaching kids to pass the test, not to enjoy school and learn and be creative.
My son was opted out for the 5th grade test and he will not take any smarter balance test ever, nor will my daughter.

Looking forward to seeing the veto overturned in January!

Does he ever make a good decision?! who votes for him?!?

And this is why I will homeschool or send my kid to a private school if needed. Standardized tests need to go.

$$$$$$$$$ That’s all that went into this decision

 I’m not surprised. Still disappointed though.
There are A LOT of parents in this state. Never try to come between a parent and their child. Parents will always fight back!

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker

Do away with this common core crap

(in reply to the above comment) There’s too much money involved. He can’t. Lol

I think Indiana just did something similar to allow students not to have to take it here. Those tests are horrible. Hey don’t make any sense and are not a good tool for prediction.

So glad I don’t have children in these schools.

Don’t need your approval to tell me that my children are intelligent. How much did you pocket, Jack?

 Let’s see if 3/5 of both chambers have the gravitas to override and ignore Jack and the educrap lobby that wants these tests to stay. In the absence thereof, I suggest that students bag the tests, enter as many wrong answers as possible. The powers that be can’t hold everybody back. IOW practice a form of that Civil Disobedience that Dr. King spoke of. Besides, a college degree isn’t the golden pathway that it once was.

I hope that if enough of us like-minded parents opt our kids out, they’ll listen!!!

I didn’t vote for him, but maybe those who did will finally see the light!

It’s too late now, Smilin’ Jack is on the way out next year, but wait it will get worse if another “establishment” candidate gets in.

What an idiot!!!! You suck.

So what’s your plan, Governor? We’ve had test scores for 15 years showing deficiencies in our schools. Nothing in seven years of policy and leadership from you has shown any serious interest in addressing the deficits WE ALREADY KNOW EXIST! So, again, I ask…what’s your plan? Specifics, please. I’m a teacher. I will demand the same from you that I do from my students.

Well said sir. I know there are many teachers that feel that way and I’m grateful

All of the money he puts into testing could better be spent lowering class sizes and giving resources such as reading and math specialists at every school! That would make more of a difference than a test that takes 4th graders 10 days to complete! Yes, at the school I teach at it took students 10 days to complete testing!

Ridiculous! I have many friends that are teachers who are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs. They all say the same thing.. Too much testing. I know my kids were exhausted of it.

Boo, Jack!! Seriously!!

It’s all about money.

No surprise. You get what you vote for. So much for freedom.

All of the arguments against opt-out are based around one major FLAWED assumption. That standardized tests accurately measure anything. All I saw in the argument was one economic reason after another…. Poor reason to veto a bill so overwhelmingly supported by so many.

 Here’s the thing: We did elect legislators who wanted meaningful reform. They voted overwhelmingly for HB 50. The governor vetoed it.

Glad my parents taught me always to question, especially those in authority, lest I be ruled by the likes of Mussolini. Luis, I hear that there’s a new Jim Jones in town, and he has *the best* Kool-Aid. You should try it!

I see the comments are running 100% to 0% against you here Governor. Out of touch much? This is what happens when you send a screed of lies to the Legislature for the sole purpose of scaring them. We all see through you on this. We are patient though….and we already opt out. (this comment was made within an hour of Markell’s posting, and while it didn’t stay at the same odds it was well above 90%)

Jack Markell, your statement clearly demonstrates that you do not understand what motivated parents to support this bill, so how can you adequately begin to address those issues. Furthermore, Smarter Balanced is not the ONLY objective tool we have to measure student growth and learning. As a matter of fact, it isn’t even an objective assessment, nor does it measure student knowledge, skills and abilities.

You are a joke. Your minions in the State Board of Education, the Delaware DOE, and Rodel are a joke. We have NO faith on you whatsoever, and NO CONFIDENCE. You made a crystal clear decision today: To hold corporate interests over children. You are a mockery and a stain on the state of Delaware. But thanks to your veto, our resolve is even stronger. We are no longer opting out, we are REFUSING THE TEST! Here’s how: For all the awesome parents on here who supported this bill, I am sorry to say, opt-out is dead. it is now time to REFUSE THE TEST DELAWARE! (I will take proud ownership for writing this comment myself)

The SBAC should be on the table for discussion with SJR 2. The tests that districts give which also take up time are a direct result of jumping through the hoops of the SBAC. By the way, the end of course U.S. History exam is a waste of time considering we do not receive the results from that testing (and yes, the most students know this fact) and perform as one would expect when there is no accountability.

For Delaware families that are interested in transparency and learning more about your child’s public school education or haven’t seen these videos yet and would like to, it is well worth the time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVn1y7jqTcA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Si-kx5-MKSE

With 2 of the 5 biggest lobbying groups being education, I think we all know why Markell didn’t want this bill to pass. He and his cronies are making big bucks $$$ from the corporate education schemers. http://www.delawareonline.com/…/lobbyists-dover/30193959/

 My children, my choice. I don’t need anyone’s signature.

Gov. Markell’s idea of fixing education was Race to the Top, a federal welfare program for millionaires, billionaires, and hedge funders. This does not count as “what’s best for kids,” Governor!
http://dianeravitch.net/…/the-big-idea-behind-race-to…/

You’re a pathetic Governor! Remember when you actually stood for something?

Wrong choice!!!! Parents Rights for a proper education over the government getting money that never seems to make it to the children!!!!! Stop testing the children and actually get back to teaching kids!!!!

We took tests during the school year with our teacher and at the end of the year we had ONE state test. My kids now are tested constantly and told that the teachers jobs are on the line. Teachers now have to rush through lessons because they have to hit X mark for the test, if the kids don’t understand, they don’t have time to help.

I understand the dichotomy this puts education reform in but as a parent, when your 9 year old writes a poem about what her view of a better world would be and #2 on her list is less tests, it breaks my heart. Is this amount of anxiety that small children feel and the effect of that anxiety on their interest and commitment to learning worth the numbers? I’m not dismissing testing and I don’t pretend to have the answers but you might want to include some students in that discussion. They might be children but they have a voice.

(in response to the above comment) The “dichotomy” you refer to is “manufactured”. This is not a bona fide testing program.  If there are people who think testing is a legitimate part of teaching (and not just out to “monetize” public education, why don’t they use the federal tests that have been used forever and are deemed “the gold standard”, namely NEAP National Assessment of Educational Progress. It is proctored by federal officials and conducted under strict standards. (No Cheating)

(also in response to the above comment) Your words are awesome! Children do have a voice, and Markell ignored them today. No honor, and no respect.

Teachers, students, and parents seem equally aware of how poorly our current testing and even standardized testing in general actually assess a child’s progress, so why can’t our governor see that? Disappointed.

The test in itself is redundant and has obviously proven to be unsuccessful. I haven’t heard a single teacher in support of it.

Standardized testing accurately measures only one thing – the ability of students to take tests. It is neither a yardstick of student progress nor a reliable gauge for teacher accountability. Independent studies have shown this, over and over again.  Standardized testing benefits only the testing companies, not students. Parents should be allowed to opt out.

Standardized scores don’t fix public schools, these schools, according to abundant research, are doing pretty well considering the contexts they are working in. The problem is income inequity and rising % of kids from low income families in public schools. Tests don’t fix this. They do allow people seeking to profit from schools develop a currency that represents education to the public and legally – develop measures that can be scaled – then suck funds out of the public tax pool both through tax write offs and pushing job training off on public education. Teaching to the test is cheap – see the work of Yong Zhao on why the US does not want to replicate China, and David Blacker on the NeoLiberal agenda. If anything standardized tests are making schools intractable legal battles as people fight and panic over the high consequences.

And to be fair, I am posting the comments the supporters of the veto wrote, which ran from normal all the way to the downright bizarre!  I will put them in red:

No wonder so many kids are Whiney and don’t want to follow rules. Parents need to Get over it. keep them home, but when they can’t pass the SAt or any generalized job aptitude test don’t blame the schools or the DOE… It’s just a test, throw the results away and tell your kids they got above average if you are that worried about it. Cry baby parents don’t always win. Good for him!! My kids hate the test. I tell them too bad, do your best and learn test taking skills, they will serve you well!!

Most Standardized testing is a good measure of academic achievement!! Will parents opt out of the SAT and ACT? We need to know that our children can compete globally…

Good, finally the Governor has done something worthwhile. Teachers and their unions and the progressive liberal politicians are poisoning the waters by standing in the way of standardized tests. The reason is simple really, a standardized test presents a credible measure of the educators success at their job. Which is teaching … By the way.

You all are pretty much saying that your schools can do without extra federal funding to help buy what the school needs to educate your monsters. You all should be more than happy to have your children take that test and you should push them to try as hard as they can or your child’s school will end up like some of the schools where I live where students must BRING YOUR OWN CHAIR in order to sit down at school. You people aren’t smart at all.

You people are mean. Governor Markell is very nice and cares about education. He just wants what’s best for kids! He doesn’t have the power to force education reform. He did what he could by decreasing the amount of testing, but it would be silly to eliminate it altogether if the legislation doesn’t include an alternative. You need to elect legislators who will develop meaningful reform if you want things to change, not blame the Governor when he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Shame on you for questioning the Governor’s ethics! He is one of the most ethical men in this country and would never let money prevent him from making the right decision.

Should we also let children vote when deciding if they should eat vegetables or not? Don’t confuse the testing these bills were about with the generic testing that schools do. If you think there are too many tests, talk to your teachers!

Got to make the kids good little liberals so they all vote for liberal commies like Obama and Hillary.

So there we have it Jack.  I could have gone a few more hours doing this, but I hope you get the point.

And as for all of you legislators who are up for re-election next year: how much louder do you think these parents will be when the scores come in on this test?  And if you fail to override the veto, remember this: next year’s Smarter Balanced Assessment scores will most likely come out right before Election Day.  Do you want to have a no vote on a veto override following you directly into an election?  And I’m not worried if you don’t see this article.  I’m emailing it to all of you!

 

Deconstructing The Myths of Governor Markell’s Veto Of House Bill 50

Delaware Governor Jack Markell took his stand on the opt-out bill today and vetoed it.  But he didn’t stop there, from the looks of it he went on a press junket to collect quotes from all the Kool-Aid drinkers in Delaware.  Especially the sell-out traitor from Milford, but I’ll get to that one later.  For something this big, I have to give my thoughts on the utter stupidity and lack of understanding of the Governor and his reformer friends.

Governor Vetoes Opt-Out Bill, Signs Legislation to Reduce Testing for All Students

Date Posted: Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Considering I know for a fact he didn’t receive the bill until this morning, he sure had a lot of time to put all this together and collect all these quotes and come up with a three page statement to the House of Representatives.

Emphasizes importance of annual statewide assessment for improving schools, while saying the state must move forward with reducing time spent on other tests

This was all concocted by your Education Policy Advisor Lindsey O’Mara, yourself, the DOE, State Rep. Earl Jaques and State Senator David Sokola (who I will have much more to write about VERY soon).  It was one of your first responses to the opt-out movement and House Bill 50.  It was shady then and it’s shady now.  But I have a voice recording coming from Ms. O’Mara indicating the Smarter Balanced Assessment would be included.  I will make sure no one forgets that public comment during the Senate Education Committee meeting on June 3rd 2015.  I have yet to see one shred of data how the Smarter Balanced Assessment will improve schools, especially since it was announced today by Penny Schwinn and the gang over at the DOE the scores won’t even be in until September now at the earliest.  Way to go Jack! Real timely data!

Wilmington, DE – Governor Markell announced today that he has vetoed House Bill 50, which would allow for any student to be opted-out of any state or district assessment, while he signed Senate Joint Resolution 2, which aims to eliminate unnecessary, ineffective, or redundant tests required by the state, districts, and individual schools.

House Bill 50 never “allowed” students to opt-out.  It codified and honored a right that is ALREADY there.  The ink on SJR 2 was probably dry months ago.  We all know you waited until the equally disrespectful State Senators Coons and Carper voted no on an opt-out amendment yesterday.  You are all cowards!

In his veto statement (full text below), the Governor expressed agreement with concerns raised by parents and educators about the need to reduce the amount of time students spend on testing. However, he said he could not support encouraging opt-out of the annual state assessment, which provides information for teachers and school leaders to determine areas in which students are excelling or need additional help. It also represents a vital tool for evaluating the effectiveness and ensuring the best use of the more than $1 billion in state funds directed to the education system.

The only parents who expressed agreement with you were…I don’t know? Who were they? I remember one parent giving public comment in Legislative Hall against House Bill 50.  One.  The rest were teachers, charter cheerleaders, and your corporate buddies, and oh yeah, the very misguided and misinformed civil rights groups.  The information it provides is which schools can we turn into priority schools again and hopefully convert into charters.  Cause you have to fill up the old CEB Building in Wilmington, right Jack?

“HB 50 would undermine the only objective tool we have to understand whether our children are learning and our schools are improving. It has the potential to marginalize our highest need students, threaten tens of millions of dollars of federal funding, and undermine our state’s economic competitiveness – all without adequately addressing the issues that motivated many to support the legislation. That is why educators and school leaders have joined the civil rights community and business leaders in opposing the legislation, and why I am returning the bill unsigned,” wrote the Governor in a statement delivered to the House of Representatives.

So many falsehoods in this paragraph it’s disgusting.  First off, if you only have one objective tool to measure progress, then that’s your problem.  For being such an education minded Governor, you sound like a complete jackass saying that.  We will see how the high needs students are truly marginalized when the scores come out in…September…October…November…whenever.  Why the long wait?  For something we sunk millions and millions of dollars into, where is the timely data which is required by Delaware state code?  In terms of the federal funding cuts, look no further than HR5, passed by Congress, which eliminated federal funding cuts based on federally mandated standards and assessments.  Nice try again Jack…you lose!  In terms of Delaware’s economic competitiveness, you have been so obsessed with education that you let many key businesses leave our state.  Your state budget is in shambles and most of the legislators have no faith in you and can’t wait until you are GONE!  All these excuses are things you created and threw out there as an obstacle to House Bill 50.  You just can’t support parents, just admit it and stop hiding behind excuses.  The reason parents supported this legislation is pure and simple, and I said this on Rick Jensen’s radio show today on WDEL…it’s a craphole of a test.  You know it, I know it, and all of Delaware knows it.  The only “educators” who support your veto are listed below, the very same ones that gave their “expert” testimony at education committee meetings and the one traitor who gave what I perceive to be completely false testimony at the Senate vote.  Oh yeah, the Sussex Academy lady, can’t forget her.  Where are the voices of opposition?  You don’t have enough bandwidth to cover all of them Jack!

“I have heard the concerns of some parents and teachers that our students are experiencing too much testing. I agree… And that is why I have signed Senate Joint Resolution 2, which will bring together teachers, parents, civil rights leaders, and legislators to help us review our required assessments and eliminate those that are unnecessary, ineffective, or redundant.”

You got this from Sokola about hearing from all these parents.  And a few other legislators that have been “promised” something.  Once again, and please get the wax out of your ear Governor Veto!  Parents didn’t want to opt out of any other test but YOUR Smarter Balanced Assessment.  I never once heard a parent say “I want to opt out little Jack from DIBELS or MAPS.”  I can’t wait to see who is on your little assessment inventory committee.  We all know this was an added bonus to get rid of non-Common Core aligned tests and keep the ones that are.

SJR 2 builds on an initiative started by the Governor earlier this year, when he announced an inventory of all required state assessments, and support for districts to take stock of assessments required at the local level. The legislation signed today brings legislators and other key groups into the process of reviewing the inventory results and making recommendations about what assessments should be cut. In addition to requiring completion of the inventory, SJR 2 will:

  • Require districts to report the results of the inventory, including assessments that will be eliminated;
  • Require the Department of Education to do the same thing at the state level;
  • Require the Department to publish the results of the inventories to the House and Senate Education Committees, and to the public; and
  • Require the Department to convene three members each of the House and Senate Education Committees, along with representatives of the state teachers union, the state’s superintendents, the civil rights community, and parents, to review the inventory results and make recommendations about assessments to eliminate, with final results reported publicly by June 2016.

Because it takes a year to figure all this out?  How much is Achieve Inc. getting paid for all their “hard work” on this?  The company that started so much of this Common Core crap?

Civil rights groups and Delaware employers, along with the State Board of Education and teachers and school leaders, applauded the Governor’s decision:

Like they didn’t know about it ahead of time? Please, don’t insult us…

“We strongly support Governor Markell’s decision to veto House Bill 50 because we must know if our children are learning, and we cannot fix what we cannot measure. If too many children opt out, we’ll lose perspective on how our children are doing with achieving the proficiency most important to succeeding in today’s world. We’d risk being unable to make meaningful demographic comparisons and track progress in relationship to other schools, districts, states, and countries.

How about cleaning up the mess in your own backyard before you try comparing the students in your area with ones that get more resources, have less crime, and more money.  Talk about an inequity gap!  How about we stop comparing everyone and look at each individual student and see what their individual needs are.  The children in your city, that you are so proud of and want to protect, will not do well on this test.  Let me hear from you then after years of data show SBAC was more about the money than improving their lives.

“If a school misses its threshold on participation, it also has implications for school accountability and funding, potentially harming the most challenged in our communities: particularly families of color, families struggling with poverty, and families who need special education services or are learning English. While we support reducing the number of tests and the total testing time for our students, opt-out is not the way to accomplish this goal. We thank the Governor for recognizing this and understanding that we need to know where our children are on the learning curve in order to hold those responsible for teaching our children accountable.”

The very Governor you praise was on the steering committees that helped to perpetuate the very things that are holding students back.  He has been involved in this for a long time, before Common Core even had a name.  This was a long-term plan and all of you folks espousing civil rights fell for it hook, line and sinker.  Who else sets up accountability systems based on standardized test scores and when they fail to meet these insane proficiency marks in the schools with the highest populations of low-income, minority, and special education students they are punished (priority schools) or shut down (Reach, Moyer).  All in your city!  How did that work out?

– Deborah T. Wilson (President and CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League), Maria Matos (President and CEO of the Latin American Community Center), H. Raye Jones Avery (Executive Director of the Christina Cultural Arts Center, Inc.) and Jea P. Street (New Castle County Councilman for District 10)

Yup, the same four you always trot out…

“As employers in Delaware, as supporters of Delaware public schools, and as parents, we thank the Governor for his veto of House Bill 50. There are better ways to deal with legitimate concerns about over-testing, and we support the effort by the Administration and General Assembly to reduce testing for all students through Senate Joint Resolution 2.

Said from someone who probably hasn’t been in a classroom for more than two hours in the past twenty years…

“We must have a way to determine how our children compare against others in their school, the state, and the world. Opt out would damage that process. It signals to businesses and the families that we shouldn’t strive for all of our students to graduate ready for college or the workplace. The results of the annual state assessment inform families and educators on student progress, and will provide lawmakers with a better view of how millions of tax dollars are being spent. As business leaders and as parents, we need our education system to support each and every student and school in our state to help them succeed.”

If these all-important assessments don’t determine retention or graduation, and the scores come back AFTER the student has advanced to the next grade, how is that valid and reliable and timely data?  I can tell you how millions of our tax dollars are being spent: on crap like this and all the vendors the DOE contracts out to “fix” our struggling schools based on the same standardized assessments they helped to create.  It’s called a close circuit.  Opt-out is the means to cut that vicious cycle.

– Mark Stellini (CEO Chair of Delaware State Chamber of Commerce), Rich Heffron (President Delaware State Chamber of Commerce), Mark Turner (Chair of Delaware Business Roundtable), Ernie Dianastasis (Chair of Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee), Bob Perkins (Executive Director for Business Roundtable)

I’ve never heard of most of these people.  Who are they again?  Whatever…  They must be the same people who make sure advertisements get in the News Journal the most so the newspaper can’t do real investigative work.

“We have openly and repeatedly shared the Board’s opposition to this bill, which we believe will do real and lasting damage to both our education system as a whole, and our goal of ensuring that all of our students – irrespective of their gender, race, or socio-economic background – graduate from our schools ready for college, career, and citizenship.

Jack, this is coming from your hand-picked State Board of Education.  Do you think you are fooling anyone putting their quotes in here?

“Should HB 50 become law and parents simply decide to opt their child out of the assessment, teachers and administrators will be unable to collect and use the data to address necessary improvements to the curriculum, as well as identify specific areas where students are struggling and where they are excelling. This is especially important information for our most vulnerable populations who may need additional support and assistance. Furthermore, we will be at risk of not complying with federal requirements with regard to test administration and school accountability, potentially jeopardizing millions in federal Title I funding, which directly impacts those children and schools that need support the most.”

Dr. Gray, you are so boring.  I think I covered everything you said up above.  I can see why Jack picked you to be President of the State Board.  You are just his mini-me.

– President Teri Quinn Gray and Vice President Jorge Melendez (State Board of Education)

“I believe the opt-out movement has been driven in part by many misconceptions about the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  The main misconception about the assessment is the amount of time it takes to complete it. The math portion of the test is made up of 35 questions along with one performance task. In my class of special needs students, the test takes up a minimal amount of time compared to past state assessments. It is also aligned to the curriculum and standards teachers are using, so there is no need to do anything special to ‘teach to the test.’ The results of the state assessment provides teachers the necessary data to help their students and I appreciate the Governor’s opposition to House Bill 50.”

– Jesse Parsley (teacher, Milford School District)

THE TRAITOR TO PUBLIC EDUCATION! I’ve talked to a few of your peers and they truly think you have been bought or you are living in a fantasy world.  Your “appreciation” of the Governor’s opposition came with something, didn’t it Jesse?  What was it? A position? A title? A seat on another Rodel council? Money?  I’m sure we will find out soon enough.  I talked to teachers in YOUR school about how great the Smarter Balanced Assessment went, and it was horrible for them.  Along with the rest of the state.  So how is it that your ONE classroom, out of the thousands in the state, had such a Mary Poppins dream-like ease with SBAC?  You are either lying or smoking something…

“I understand the concerns that have been expressed over the stress some students experience in taking tests. However, my experience has been that students benefit when we challenge them to meet a higher bar – when we give them the chance to see how well they can perform.  Further, my experience is that our teachers are on board. They are working hard to make whatever adjustments are necessary to ensure that students are learning and that their learning is measured.

If the teachers don’t they get bad evaluations across the board and they get fired.  That’s an environment that is toxic and dangerous.  It’s like having kids jump in a pool when they don’t know how to swim.  I hope that doesn’t happen in your Schell brothers donated pool!

“One primary mechanism to measure that learning is through standardized tests; right now the test is “Smarter Balanced.” I believe that we will make the necessary adjustments to meet the demands of this test. We have a responsibility to give our children the best possible education, and these tests are an important measure to gauge that education and the  academic progress of all students.”

– Patricia Oliphant (principal, Sussex Academy)

“The necessary adjustments to meet the demands of this test.” That is the problem, isn’t it.  The actual test can’t change, everyone else has to change.  The best possible education does not equal a high-stakes standardized assessment based on the Common Core State Standards.  Only those who profit from this ideology (charter schools, Governors, DOE, Rodel, yada yada yada) would dare to say such a thing.

“Strong educators at every level assess students constantly. The state assessment is an important piece of the puzzle as it can help us understand how our students are performing and their progression from year to year. Test results also help push us to make the necessary changes to ensure students aren’t falling behind and help us reflect on instructional choices. Whether or not you support opt out is a different question than whether students are over-tested. We should still do more to evaluate the volume of tests, or the value of the existing ones, and I urge the Governor, the Department of Education and the General Assembly to keep an open dialogue with teachers, parents and stakeholders so that together we can solve even the toughest of testing questions.”

– Courtney Fox (Head of School at First State Montessori Academy and former State Teacher of the Year from Brandywine School District)

Ah yes, Ms. Fox, the former Pearson teacher of the year (funny how that website disappeared after I published it).  The ONLY charter school leader or teacher who publicly opposed House Bill 50 until Ms. Oliphant’s above statement.  And how much do you get paid for your head of school position up there?  And which Rodel council are you on this month?

 ___

Governor Markell Statement to House of Representatives Vetoing House Bill 50:

July 16, 2015

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

OF THE 148TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY,

Pursuant to Article III, Section 18 of the Delaware Constitution, I am vetoing House Bill 50 by returning it with my objections to the House of Representatives without my signature.

Just out of curiosity Jack, what took you so long to veto?  It’s obvious to all this was your plan.  Why now?  Oh yeah, Carper and Coons.  Riding off their votes, trying to make yourself look just that little bit better (you don’t, you look like more of a jerk than ever to Delaware).

We have no higher priority as a state than providing all of our children with a world-class education, and ensuring that they are prepared to compete in the increasingly global economy.  Every child, no matter his or her family situation or income or background, deserves the chance to reach his or her potential.  Their future, and the future of our state, depends on a quality education.

I agree with everything you say, except your definition of a world-class education.  Common Core and SBAC it is not, but you don’t care about that.  You are already getting for your post January 2017 position.

House Bill 50 would not help prepare our children, or our state, for success in the economy of tomorrow.  To the contrary, HB 50 would undermine the only objective tool we have to understand whether our children are learning and our schools are improving.  It has the potential to marginalize our highest need students, threaten tens of millions of dollars of federal funding, and undermine our state’s economic competitiveness – all without adequately addressing the issues that motivated many to support the legislation.  That is why educators and school leaders have joined the civil rights community and business leaders in opposing the legislation, and why I am returning the bill unsigned.

This was already said up above…yawn…

Universal statewide assessments provide our teachers, parents, and education officials with objective information about how children are doing – not just in their classrooms, or in their schools, but relative to their peers across the state and the country.  These test results are the clearest way we can evaluate whether our efforts to improve Delaware schools are working.  The state spends more than one billion dollars on education every year, and we all deserve to know whether those resources are spent well and whether our students are making progress.

And out of that one billion dollars, how much is spent in actively reducing classroom sizes, getting funding for basic special education services for K-3 students, and how much is spent on DOE salaries, and contract after contract with studies and reports and complete waste?  How much of that one billion gets spent by charter school leaders who think a school bank account is their personal ATM card?  How much goes to admins in our districts and never reaches the classroom?  These are the hurdles, not parent opt-out.  We know those resources are NOT spent well, but you do nothing about that.  Our students superficial progress based on high-stakes assessments are as fleeting as a feather staying in one spot during a wind storm.

If the test results don’t paint an accurate picture, particularly if struggling students are disproportionately encouraged to opt out as has happened elsewhere, we may not be able to identify the children who need intervention to be successful.  That is why civil rights groups in Delaware and across the country – including the NAACP, the National Urban League, the United Negro College Fund, the National Council of La Raza, and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund – strongly support universal testing requirements and oppose “opt-out” legislation.   Low-income students, students with disabilities, and students of color have benefitted the most from the adoption of statewide testing requirements.  Those tests help us identify individual and groups of students who need more support, effectively focus additional resources on preparing our young people to reach their potential, and hold schools and districts accountable for ensuring that all of our students are learning.  That is also why federal law requires us to assess at least 95 percent of our students to receive millions of dollars in federal funding – it’s that important.  The loss of those federal funds, which disproportionately support low-income and high-needs students, is a risk I am unwilling to take.

And yet you never mentioned parents in this paragraph.  If schools and educators are “disproportionately encouraging” students to opt-out, that is against the law and you should enforce that.  But to base a veto on legislation that is about something PARENTS are doing shows you never listened to the conversation.

I have heard the concerns of some parents and teachers that our students are experiencing too much testing.  I agree.  While I believe strongly in the value of a universal statewide assessment to tell us whether our students are making progress, the first priority of our schools must be to ensure that our students have the time they need to learn.  But to address that concern, we should not be encouraging certain students to opt out of a test that provides valuable information – we should eliminate entire tests for all of our children and put that time to work in the classroom.

Ah, now your using the DSEA’s latest mission statement, “time to teach, time to learn”.  Very crafty Jack.  Who is encouraging “certain” students to opt out?  I encourage all students to opt out IF that is what their parent chooses. See, you are all about choice when it comes to charter schools.  You support that choice.  But when it affects your bottom line, your reputation, you can’t support our choice.  You can’t pick and choose your battles like that in a choice war.  It either is…or isn’t. 

That is why the Department of Education is conducting an inventory of all required state assessments, and providing districts with financial and technical support to do the same at the local level.  And that is why I have signed Senate Joint Resolution 2, which will bring together teachers, parents, civil rights leaders, and legislators to help us review our required assessments and eliminate those that are unnecessary, ineffective, or redundant.

Why is your PR person repeating the same stuff you wrote above?

I also understand, and have taken action to address, other frustrations that have led some parents and teachers to support HB 50, including concerns about the design of the Smarter Balanced statewide assessments and the use of student data for teacher evaluations and school accountability.  We asked for, and received, permission from the U.S. Department of Education to delay using Smarter Balanced results in teacher evaluation for two full years, while we all adjust to the new test.  We use many other measures to evaluate the progress of our students, and the effectiveness of our teachers, because we understand assessments are only one snapshot of our students’ success.  We have approved a process to allow schools and districts to pilot new educator evaluation systems.  We are continuing to provide feedback on Smarter Balanced to help make it better.  And we don’t require our students to take or pass the Smarter Balanced assessments for advancement or graduation.

Cause if you did, there would be a lot of students either not graduating!  And failing their grade.  Nobody wants to be in 8th grade at 31 years old!  Tell me more about what you are addressing with SBAC and how you can fix a sham of a test?  Oh yeah, it was designed that way.

I am committed to working with our entire education community to continue to address those concerns, but HB 50 is not part of the solution.  This bill does not reduce testing and does not say anything about how the state uses test results.  The only effect of HB 50 would be to establish a process for individual parents to prevent their individual students from participating in the Smarter Balanced English and math tests and any district assessment, which doesn’t solve the problems that our parents and teachers have named.  However, it can undermine our ability to identify students who need help and to measure our schools’ improvements.

Are you done yet?  By writing what you wrote in this paragraph, you have shown you don’t care one iota about individual parents.  The process is already established.  We give the school a letter, tell them our kid is being opted out, and we want them to receive some kind of education while the other kids are taking the test.  House Bill 50 would have stopped schools from being bullies about it though.  That was the heart of the bill.  And the accountability factor.  But the fact you made such a big stink about it catapulted opt-out into a front-page headline on numerous occasions, all across the state.  Your very opposition to a very easy to understand bill prompted more opt-outs in this state than anything I could have ever written.  Sure, I reported on it time and time again, but you gave me the words to write Jack.

In today’s economy, opportunity is increasingly tied to the quality of one’s education and our schools are the key to giving all of our children – especially those from struggling neighborhoods – the best chance to realize their potential. But we can’t make that possible if we find out too late that students have fallen behind.  If House Bill 50 becomes law, we will not know if many of our students really are on track to graduate ready for college or the workplace.

Sure you will.  We’ve been doing it for the past hundred or so years.  This high-stakes testing craze doesn’t make kids college worthy.  Neither does Common Core.  Students went to college long before this testing craze, and they will go long after it is a footnote in a textbook or some out-of-date website.  Students will reach their potential if they believe in themselves and they have good teachers and safe schools.  Boom.  That’s it.  The rest is just nonsense.

I cannot support a bill that runs counter to our efforts to ensure an objective, consistent, and reliable measure of all of our students’ progress. Without it, many students would be too easily forgotten.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is neither objective, consistent or reliable.  It is not progress.  It’s a step into a time when students were put into sub-groups and labeled and schools were punished and our Governor looked the other way when parents needed him the most.  To step up and say “I believe in what you are saying.  You do have rights.  I understand your concerns.”  But instead, he gave the same tired old excuses we have been hearing about for the past 15 years.  We call this point in time the Markell administration.  And July 16th, 2015, was the day you sealed your legacy in Delaware.  And every single lie, abuse, fraud, and sin you have committed as Governor of OUR state, as well as your time as State Treasurer, will be exposed.  All in due time Governor.  If not by me, than by the next one.  But rest assured, we will leave NO stone unturned.  Your days may be numbered, but your sins are immense.  But REFUSE THE TEST DELAWARE is your creation.  Own it!

Sincerely,

Jack A. Markell

Governor

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*All redlines editions of Exceptional Delaware are a blatant rip-off from Transparent Christina who mastered this technique.

*If you want to join REFUSE THE TEST DELAWARE, please go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/387537074787803/

Delaware Governor Jack Markell Vetoes House Bill 50, Parent Opt-Out Legislation

I’m hearing Governor Markell has just vetoed House Bill 50, the parent opt-out bill that overwhelmingly passed the State House of Represenatives and State Senate in June.  The 148th General Assembly can still override the bill when they return to legislative session in January 2016.  More details to come.

Listen To Governor Markell Say He Will Veto House Bill 50, Kowalko Response On WDEL Coming NOW!

WDEL has put up a podcast of the arrogant and condescending comments made by Governor Jack Markell today in an interview with Rick Jensen.

The part about his Alan Jackson email address begins at the 7:00 mark, his remarks about opt-out and common core begin at 12:16, and his BIG remark about the veto starts at 18:03 with the “Yeah”

To hear the report by WDEL’s Amy Cherry on it, you can listen here: http://wdel.com/story.php?id=67882 but note the part where Markell clearly says the word “yeah” in the podcast does not appear on her report.  In my estimation, his yeah is confirmation he would veto the bill.

Meanwhile, Delaware State Rep. John Kowalko is on WDEL with Allan Loudell, right at this very moment.