Governor Markell’s “initiative” to reduce state tests, Parents Are Still Going To Opt Out Jack!!!

Parental Opt-Out of Standardized Testing

Delaware Governor Jack Markell went to William Penn High School in the Colonial School District to announce his Oh my God, parents are actually opting out in little old Delaware a new program to take a perceived serious look at all the necessary unnecessary state tests in Delaware.  From the official website of the Governor, along with my remarks in green:

Emphasizes value of requiring key assessments to track student progress while saying schools should end other tests

Wilmington, DE – Calling for the elimination of repetitive and ineffective assessments, Governor Markell today launched a review of tests administered by the state, districts, and individual schools with the goal of decreasing the testing burden on students and teachers and increasing the time available for teaching. The effort, announced at William Penn High School, addresses concerns of parents and teachers about the amount of time spent on testing and how those tests are ultimately used.Testing Inventory

“Our educators, our students, and their parents all deserve the benefits of effective assessments that show when students are excelling and when they need extra support,” said Markell. “At the same time, tests that don’t add meaningfully to the learning process mean less time for students to receive the instruction and support they need. We are committed to finding the right balance, and this initiative is an important part of that process.”

Jack, students are prepping for the Smarter Balanced all year long.  The curriculum is tied specifically to this one test.  The curriculum is horrible.  You are right, students do deserve the benefits of effective assessments, so stop relying on national federally mandated proclamations designed to weaken and corrode our local education authorities from effectively education children.  Love how you got the word “balance” in there.  Smarter Balanced….yeah, we get it…

The Governor noted that some local tests may repeat the purpose of statewide exams, while others may have outlived their usefulness but continue to be offered because administrators haven’t had the time or resources to fairly gauge their effectiveness.

Yeah, but students get the results right away, and they actually help determine what a child needs, whereas the Smarter Balanced is a once a year test, not given at the end of the school year, and the results won’t be back until shortly before the next school year starts. 

To support a statewide testing review, each school district will receive financial and technical support from the Department of Education to take an inventory of all assessments given in each school. That includes funding to pay someone to lead the review over the next four months. The state will also provide assistance in communicating new testing plans to parents, families, and communities.

In other words, we are taking over the whole testing atmosphere because we can’t have parents opting out.  The districts can’t fight this, so we will.  And look, more money to review this.  Let’s get yet another contractor who knows nothing about our schools to judge us!

“This is a particularly timely moment for us to discuss the role of assessments in our schools as we shift to an improved and less time-consuming statewide test this year,” said Murphy. “We must also provide our districts with the support they need to evaluate all of their exams so we can assure teachers and parents that we are tracking students’ progress while maximizing instructional time.”

Oh look, Mark Murphy is in the house.  Everything that comes out of your mouth is the same.  You have outlived your effectiveness in Delaware.  Please leave.  Once again Jack, 70% of the students won’t meet standard.  How is that improved?  You’ve been tracking students progress for years.  We all know that.  The difference is, on the grand scale, education has not improved that much for students in Delaware but I’m sure your stock portfolio has!

The state’s new assessment, aligned to the Common Core State Standards, will be given only once a year, compared to the previous assessment, which was offered up to 3 times a year. While the new Smarter Balanced test is more thorough, it will still cut total testing time by up to seven hours and take well under one percent of school hours per year.

Who determined the test is more thorough, the DOE? The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium?  The test vendor in Delaware, American Institutes for Research, who was also the vendor for DCAS?  When you look at all the prep time, interim SBA assessments, and keyboarding skills, you are talking a marking period.  1% my opting out @$$!

For the first time, the state will test critical thinking and writing ability – two of the most important skills students will need to succeed in their futures – instead of asking only multiple-choice bubble questions.Testing Inventory

“Is there too much testing? Absolutely,” said Rep. Earl Jaques, who chairs the House Education Committee. “This effort to look at the 70 percent of the tests that we control as a state is a great start to address this issue. We know there are good tests that are necessary but also need to identify which ones are redundant and can possibly be weeded out. I look forward to hearing back from the group on their findings.”

Start with the biggest one Mr. I’m on Jack’s Good List So I’m Going To Do Whatever He Wants And I Really Hope He Brings Me With Him When He Is Done As Governor.  Get rid of the Smarter Balanced Assessment (that you voted for).

Emphasizing the value of continuing to support high quality assessments during the statewide review, Markell referenced his support for Professional Learning Communities during which teachers meet in small groups to review student data, identify struggling students, and review which lessons are most successful. He also addressed the small, but vocal group of advocates in the state pushing to opt students out of required tests.

You want to talk about a loss of instructional time?  Teachers get no breaks anymore, even though they need it and it is required by state law.  How can they review which lessons are the most successful when they have to adhere to the state standards?  You can only reposition a lump of crap so many ways.  It’s still crap.  The opt out advocates are NOT a small group.  We are getting bigger by the day, and we are legion. 

“Opting out would deny our schools a full picture of their students’ progress, and those who don’t take the tests would be denied the opportunity to receive additional support.  Students will fall through the cracks and be left behind.  That’s why the teachers, principals, and administrators I speak with, along with civil rights groups in Delaware and across America, are strongly opposed to this movement, and support universal, statewide, annual testing to make sure our students are learning and getting the help they need to succeed.”

Opting out stops you and your Rodel, Longwood, and Delaware Business Roundtable buddies from using our students as guinea pigs and lumping them into groups of effectiveness instead of the individual and creative minds they are.  Aside from the teachers that are a part of the corporate education reform movement that teach in schools on a short-term basis and work for fast-track certification programs like Teach For America and Relay Graduate School, can you name these teachers?  They are all one step away from the guillotine if they speak out publicly on these matters: teachers, principals, and superintendents.  Many civil rights groups are opposed to this test Jack.  Parents are strongly opposed to you even suggesting they don’t have rights.  We are sick of the incessant testing and want a return to true education, not this corporate agenda designed to make companies tons of money.

Deborah Wilson, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, attended the announcement to deliver a message reflecting a recent statement on assessments from the National Urban League.

“The National Urban League stands behind federal requirement and use of standardized assessments because this data is essential to hold states, districts and schools accountable for student learning and to address disparities and inequities where they exist,” read the statement. “However, we also acknowledge the outsized time local and district assessments take in today’s classrooms…States and districts should utilize only the most valid and useful assessments to ensure that the maximum amount of classroom time is spent on learning and reducing the time required to take and prepare for assessments.”

In other words, we are drinking the Kool-Aid, and we love being a part of the national corporate education reform movement.  Can’t wait to see how they benefit from this!  They are using the children you are supposed to represent to further their own sick agendas.  Shame on you!