Red Clay voted for the MOU… Christina is still debating.   Red Clay caved to power…

I’ve been thinking over how Christina should handle this… And I believe it is well on its way to doing just that.

And power has a lot to do with it.  The billion dollar question is this:  whether it is better to “go along to get along” and always be the slave to whatever gets passed down, or to fight for the freedom to do what’s best for children, and make the other side have to listen to what you say for a change….

And the crux of that argument comes down to this: (which as is usual in a democracy) boils down to how its effects parry across those people who are directly affected by this decision.

The question: is whatever action soon to be taken by Christina in the future, the best option for all the children who will pass through its doors, as well as the best option for all the residents who fork over half their property taxes to fund these schools?….

History shows that what is best, is decentralization… Especially letting those involved who have to deal with the consequences of life-or-death decisions be the ones to determine those decisions in the first place. Things usually work out better that way.

In all cases where centralization has occurred, when poor policy gets decided at the top, it gets forced downward through intimidation or stealth…

Let us examine the state’s record over these past 6 years.   The extra $119 million given by the Feds for education, was squandered…  Where are the new books?  Where are the new classrooms?  Where are the new supplies?  They are not there…. Instead all Delaware has to show for the money, is a $119 million dollar test, one that the entire nation is now up in arms over…  This one little test is all we have to show for $119 million…

Not a proper track record to be given for taking over public schools… I and most Delawareans think someone else should be in control.

The University of Delaware’s report shows 2 priority schools are doing extremely well. This report is a very good case to highlight exactly what is going on here.  These schools were put on probation several years ago, and under the Christina District board, they appear to have tackled the problems so well that according to experts of the University of Delaware inspection team, they have made excellent progress….

It is like firing the coach of the University of Delaware team after they’ve won the championship… (like that would ever happen). But that is exactly what Penny Schwinn implied… That since they happened to be the “coaches” who were hired back when the teams were rebuilding, they can’t possibly remain the head coach now that after all taht hard work, they are in a winning season….

Everyone knows the reason they are being fired, is that like K. C. Keeler, they have a new coach already picked and have already promised her the job.

If the University of Delaware football team can be used as a good example, firing a really good coach and replacing them with a close personal friend, is not the best thing for either a competitive team, or for a school district…

But that is exactly what is being done… This year’s Delaware’s Fighting Blue Hen record was  a dismal 7–5 (4–4 CAA) btw…   yet after the 86 wins and the 2003 National Championship, a good coach was canned to be replaced by this at best mediocre 7-5 coach.  Likewise, after bringing two schools back, those principals are being sacked to make room for someone who doesn’t have a similar track record of success….

If the Christina board succumbs and says to the state DOE, “we will do it your way”, then mediocre must be the best one can ever expect out these students.  It appears the best option is to now stand by those who have done well, and work to better those who can improve…

So if the Christina Board says no to the MOU and puts the ball into the state’s hands, there are two further alternatives. One is a legal injunction; the other is legislation negating the authority of the DOE.  Both bring outside eyes to the entire takeover and make them highly public affairs….

Like sacking K.C. Keeler, if the DOE does override the district and fire principals, teachers, and bring in someone else, the entire world will be micromanaging that person to see if she succeeds or fails… With the entire world looking at her down the wrong end of the telescope, fail she will.

As every mis-step is broadcast across the blogs, WDEL, WDDE, thereby forcing the News Journal to tell the truth for once as well, there is no way the DOE wins… They fired a winning coach and put in a loser. In fact, their very visible missteps here could remove all future DOE interference in public schools for years to come….

Christina District has two options.  Accept the terms being forced upon it and lose all, or, take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them…

Only the latter choice creates any resolution. It may not go your way, that is possible, but you can never be blamed for the corporate selling of the children in your charge, back into slavery. They were taken from you.

“With school choice policies, the reality is that in the absence of a plan for diversity,school choice plans, for many reasons, tend to increase stratification by race and poverty and undermine diverse neighborhoods. If communities and state and local policy makers follow a set of civil rights policies in their choice systems, including charter schools, the outcome can be very different. The key steps are very good and accessible information to all groups of parents,genuinely valuable educational options, no screening or testing for entrance to choice schoolsfree transportation so that choice is not limited by family income, and a plan for lasting and well-supported diversity.”

Yesterday a very worthy demonstration against Republican sponsored racism was held in Wilmington and was approved by all worthy citizens of Delaware..  Police shooting children because they are black?  No right minded person should ever defend such atrocities.

Protesters with the blessing of Governor Markell, Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, Mayor Dennis Williams, County Exec. Tom Gordon, and every citizen of Wilmington, New Castle, and Kent Counties, lay down in the middle of the road and pretended to be dead…..

The thought occurred to me, that if we as a people were solidly behind protesting the loss to society over these dead black children; how much rightfully we should solidly be behind protesting the loss of educational opportunity for black children who are still alive?  And in far greater numbers?

There is a movement to stifle Black Academic accomplishment.  It is called the Educational Reform Movement.(ERM)  It privatizes education inside untouchable charter schools where racism can flourish and thrive privately beyond the reaches of all law or government….

Now, even the most blatant racists won’t admit they are racists… and asking them if they are, is silly.  But watching them gives you all the evidence you will need.

When you put blacks in a charter school and then close it down, but put whites in a charter school and then give them $1000 prizes, things are not equal.

When you move to privatize poor performing black public schools forcing their children into indentured charter-ship, but do nothing to the poor performing white public schools because of white public backlash, .. things are not equal.

When you create a standardized test that is written in an obscure white mid-western dialect that only mid-western whites can understand, and then whisper blacks are stupider because they perform less well, … things are not equal…

When you move to separate blacks from whites, and then put more money into white charter schools and take that money out of black public schools…. things are not equal…..

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Now if you are willing to lie down in a city street to protest harm done to dead children…. why are you not willing to keep your child out of school during the SBA testing…. to protest the harm done to live children?

In opting out, you actually are doing your child a favor.  These un-Balanced tests are the equivalent of those oppressively hard poll tests designed to keep blacks in the South from voting…. These tests are designed to keep real education and jobs with real money, out of their reach…

If as a parent you allow your child to take these tests… you are not helping any more than if you kept sending him back to the polls in 1950’s with correct answers to harder and harder questions…. The entire point back then was to keep “the Negro”  in 2nd class status… As you became smarter, they made the questions harder.. Their goal was not to allow smart Negroes to vote. Their goal was to keep Negroes in their place. Make them passive and harmless. Now welcome to the 21st Century version of the same…..

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is the worst thing that can happen to a child this year. In fact, if one was shot and killed before taking the test, there would actually be an argument over which child had it worse…. the dead, or the living. The truth of that saddens me with the realization of how far back we have slid.

T

There was once a king of a little duchy.  He wanted to win a gold medal in the Olympics. He knew with his small population (who were only there to do his bidding) that the gene pool was too small to develop a world class athlete.

So he decided to make one.

First he visited the world class athletes in the nations around him, even flew his plane overseas.   He asked them how far they could jump, how fast they could run, and how far they could throw a shot put…. He deduced that to be Olympic ready, his athletes would have to jump 8.9 meters,  run 200 meters in 19.3 seconds. and throw a standard shot putt 22.5 meters…. 

That became his standard…. All subjects were required to jump 8.9 meters, run 200 meters in 19.3 seconds and throw a putt 22.5 meters….

He found none of them could.  Therefore he devised he would have to develop his world class athletes from his subjects’ children.  So he worked backward.  At 18 years, if one must jump 8.9 meters, then at age 17 one should jump 8.4 m; at age 16 go 7.9m, and back off half a meter for each year one went back… It charted out like this:  (18) 8.9m; (17) 8.4m; (16) 7.9m; (15) 7.4m; (14) 6.9m; (13) 6.4m; (12) 5.9m; (11) 5.4m; (10) 4.9m; (9) 4.4m; (8) 3.9m; (7) 3.4m; (6) 2.9m; and kindergarten…(5)… 2.4 m.  That was still 7.87 feet…. So the need for intensive pre-school was apparent… At (4) 1.9m; at (3) 1.4m; at (2) .9m…. and at a babies first year… they should be able to jump 15 inches… After all the king could jump that blindfolded on one foot… How hard could that possibly be? He broke down each task incrementally and set bench marks for each year….

People said it was not going to work.  The king scoffed… He tweeted: Keep the bar high:No student rises to low expectations.

But the king realized that without severe consequences, his subjects would not take the contest seriously since it did require a herculean amount of effort….

So the king decreed that those coaches of children who failed, would be publicly executed.  He decreed children who did not make it would be ground up for dog and cat food.  The king sadly knew some children would not make it, but also realized that if he didn’t hold a very real punishment over alll children’s heads, he would never get his medal he so wanted…  It was just what had to be done…

Many said his actions would eliminate his white subjects since everybody knows:  white people can’t jump.  He scoffed… Blaming race for poor performance was a cop-out he said.

A corporate business suddenly mushroomed around getting children ready for the trials… In return for “a lot of money”, the king’s court now pretending to be trainers, would coach the children into excellence… However it quickly became apparent that all those coaches for-hire, were only teaching those children who could meet those challenges naturally. Those who couldn’t, were shunted to the scum of the coaching profession since they would all be executed and ground up anyway.

As the trials approached the people were beside themselves over what to do… Many knew their children would die… It was impossible to expect them to jump long at 19.4 feet while at age 11….

They came up with a plan…

On the day of the trials… no children showed up… They were nowhere to be found… Not in the homes… not in the churches… not in the schools… They had all mysteriously disappeared…

The trials had to be canceled.  The king was furious… But there was nothing he could do…. He didn’t know how to react.  If he randomly killed children he couldn’t know whether he was killing a grunt, or one of his future star athletes.  If he randomly killed coaches, he had no way to know if they were they the great ones? He knew that if he randomly killed members of his population, even his security guards would turn against him….  So he hemmed, and hawed, and swore that next year, there was indeed going to be a contest….

But there was one problem….  No one wanted to do all the work knowing full well that they just didn’t have to show on the next year’s trial date and again there would be nothing the king could do…  Really, who wanted to spend 8 hours a day just jumping as far as they possibly could, or running as fast as they possibly could, or throwing a shot putt as far as they could and doing absolutely nothing else?

For you see, over that entire year… no reading got done… no mathematics got done… no science got done… no extra-curricular activities got done…. All time was focused on 3 things, over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and to be quite frank, everyone was tired of it…

They talked among themselves.

  • Why are we doing this to ourselves just so the king can get a medal?
  • What possible use can all these tasks be put to, after the medals are awarded?
  • Aren’t there better things to do with our time as in before all this began?
  • Isn’t it time we run things and get the king completely out of our children’s lives?

And one night, after 4, they all quietly gathered and met in front of the king’s palace…. They stormed the gates, the king’s security ran and hid, and they quickly found the king playing with himself in the bathroom and dragged him to the highest wall of the castle….. There they brought to him a shot putt ball… and gave it to the king with this request….   “Sir, here is a shot putt ball; since you set the minimum standard at 22.9 meters… Throw this to that level or we throw you over the wall.  The king refused, and the crowd gathered to toss him… Then the king changed his mind…  “Really, how hard could it be to throw a shot putt only 22.9 meters?  He was a grown man… It shouldn’t be that hard at all, especially since he was on a tall wall…  He tossed…..  it went 5.9 meters…..

The crowd picked him up and threw him off the wall.  He landed in the stone street, breaking 5 ribs, both arms, one leg, and sustaining a massive blow upon his head, cracking his skull which spilled out his gray matter, killing him instantly… The crowd roared its approval… They were so overjoyed and happy that every parent then took their turn and tossed their heavy shot putt balls down from the high wall onto the carcass lying in a pool of blood below, causing great red splashes to fountain up each time a lucky hit occurred.  The balls piled up and were left there as a monument to remind this to all people who would in the future, gaze upon it: .. Folly in the minds of the elite… is still folly.

Some things make no sense no matter who thinks they do……..

Mark Murphy is Delaware’s Secretary of Education. The words in black below are his original argument.…  Many facts are twisted, and to get the proper balance, a first-time reader must read his words within proper context….

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When children at some of our schools are not learning, we have an obligation to act.

And yet we’ve cut state funding per students’ needs across this past administration, despite receiving a bonus of $119 million in federal money for Race To The Top…. State funding for all public school districts was cranked down. Failing students weren’t a priority then, but now that the local wealthy have a new charter toy in Wilmington, suddenly failing children are now important?  Why weren’t they important in 2013? 2012? 2011? 2010? 2009?

Three months ago, the State announced a commitment to improve educational opportunities for children in our state’s six lowest-performing schools. Our Priority Schools initiative has received heavy criticism from those who fear an overhaul of the status quo. And we have heard poverty used as an excuse for why students haven’t achieved.

The Priority Schools initiative has received valid criticism, but not for reasons specified above.  Here are We, The People’s concerns:  misplaced money. incompetence, falling behind achievement levels of what currently exists, becoming a worse educational environment, robbing resources from necessary educational needs to be given to “friends” of the DOE in higher salaries…. Plus, add the fact that some of these schools were rated by an independent  educational-expert auditor, as working very well. Primarily the proper criticism lies with the administration’s shaming of only 6 schools closest to the new charter schools which last year had a very difficult time signing up the minimum number of students interested in attending. 

But we remain committed to this effort because we know that students from even the most disadvantaged backgrounds – many of whom grow up in desperate poverty and violent neighborhoods – can overcome these circumstances and succeed “if given the opportunity”.

“If given the opportunity”.. Already mentioned above were the funding cuts.  Furthermore none of the principals in these “failing” schools have been there over the 3 year time required for this designation. One actually started the day before his school was classified “priority”. Thirdly, increased Charter School enrollment allowed entrance into these two districts, siphons money out of these 6 schools.  They also siphon off the better students.  If in a class you have 7 good students and 3 not so good, you pass with 70%.. If a charter steals 1 of your top students, and refuses to take any bad, you fail with a 66%.. Some of these classes in Wilmington have lost the equivalent of 3 of their top students to charters. So whereas education may be just as good or better than before, due to shifted numbers, one has lower scores, all because of the blooming idiot who chose to let charters into our system.  Scores have very little to do with rating schools.  They simply tell you how many of what class of students you have and that is all.. 

And we don’t have to look far to see what is possible for these children.

Look to the Indian River District where public schools have made great strides among poor Sussex Countians, many who didn’t originally speak English… (There was no pre-built mega charter school donated in a corn field.)

At Lewis Elementary in Wilmington, only 25 percent of students could read and do math at grade level in 2011. This year, that number increased to 60 percent. During the same time, Eastside Charter increased the percentage of fifth graders proficient in reading from 15 percent to 66 percent. And Booker T. Washington in Dover boosted the performance of its students – closing the gap between the number of low-income and non-low-income students who are proficient from 37 percent to eight percent in just three years.

Charter Schools control all who enter… “Got good scores? Sure come on.  Got bad scores, nope, sorry Bud, didn’t make the cut this year.” Elementary Schools are tested grades 3-5.  Which means in 2011, those in 3 grade by 2013 were in 5th. Those above were already in middle school. The new students were selected to be better students.  In 2013’s test, grade 5 would have been in 3rd, grade 4 in 2nd, and grade 3 in first. So factor out selection, and it is hard to prove that scores rose through “dynamic leadership”… (Notice none of these did it in one year, implicating the scores grew over attrition rates, not good teaching).  This would be easy to verify by tracing these schools grades from 3rd through 5th across 3 years and comparing that to the school’s posted score averaged for these schools.  This info so far has not been disclosed in FOIA requests and was earlier removed from the DOE website. 

All of these schools serve a high proportion of low-income students of color – in some cases higher than at our Priority Schools. And not long ago, their students struggled as much or more than their counterparts at the Priority Schools today.

Aye, but it was not the same students who struggled.  Students who were culled from better minority homes replaced those from what most of us would call “no real home” and those rejects got kicked back to public school.  All that happened was (under great leadership) these poor scoring student were replaced with better scoring students solely to give their schools higher scores.  Since Standard University has showed us that charters consistently under-perform public schools, sadly, these culled children lost an opportunity for real quality education because of this.

Each school’s turnaround strategy was different. Lewis became a world language immersion school. Booker T. Washington implemented an extended school day, which includes recreational and community service activities. Eastside started a rigorous support system for staff with constant feedback and evaluation.

All those are effective. But they all can work in the public system as well. And do, in many public systems if those public systems are funded adequately.  Naturally most of the successful schools occur in wealthier neighborhoods… The high-need children come from the poorest and therefore least adequately funded schools in the system.  If funding was made available at similar levels to public schools, all those programs could exist in public schools today.  The funding IS being made available to these charter schools… East Side Charter spends far more per student than does Warner,,, kind of hard to make a fair comparison when you starve one child, and bulk up another, then put both into a wrestling ring… The actual facts can be found on “tests of accountability”, where charter schools across the board do worse than do public… Always have… Always will. 

But the schools also had some things in common – most importantly, a dynamic school leader who received the authority and flexibility to implement creative programs and to rally their faculty and staff around a vision for helping their students learn.

Dynamic School leaders also predominate our public schools.  Yet they were also present in those charter schools being closed down by this DOE… “Dynamic leadership” is bunk. Another word-game that means nothing… Go ahead… Describe “dynamic leadership”… Is it screaming?  Is it yelling?  Is it saying “my way or else?” .. If so, then Pencader would be a top rated school right now.  Because that is what it had.  The words “dynamic leadership” need to go away… It implies you are asking for a movie actor; not a result driver… Based on outside experts, (people held a million times more trustworthy than any corporate puppet groomed and plucked to follow orders), dynamic leadership already exists in two of the six schools slated for being castrated, lynched and hung up for all to see as future warning. 

And now would also be a good time to put to bed the idea that having roving lunatics (disguised as leaders) running around our schools with hands up in the air, will do us good.. Someone given no oversight. Someone able to do what ever it was he wanted…Having no one looking over his shoulder,and if someone did, they were given a rubber stamp.  Wait!!!!  Tower Hill had a headmaster just like that…

Now anyone who has studied Management 101 or levels higher, knows the prime reason we have “management” is because “lack of management” does not work long-term…  We have too many people running our DOE and above, who all seem to have gotten their alleged brilliance from watching episodes of “Saved By The Bell” … 

The situation at our Priority Schools is unacceptable. In some grades, less than 30 percent of children read and do math at grade level, and much less than half reach their individual academic growth goals each year. These students begin each fall well behind their peers, and drop further behind during the year. Many of them graduate high school unable to read or perform basic math, if they graduate at all. And the situation is not improving.

First, what is completely ignored above is that these students are BORN well behind their peers and drop further behind each day, long before entering our school system. No one believes shoddy work should be venerated, worshiped and the problems passed on!  Based on test data, (again not FOIA’d for these 6 schools), these children allegedly did poorly… The proper opening of that paragraph should read more like this:  The situation in our Priority Schools is unacceptable; but miraculously in some grades, already 30% of its children can pass a test most American adults, including professionals, would fail… Something miraculous here is working right!”

This would be a good moment to refresh.  Like the recent reference to Washington State’s schools, these schools were cruising fine, spitting out some good students, some bad, like schools everywhere. However, with the advent of the mega-charter school and the lack of interest by Wilmington families unwilling to sacrifice their only children for a profiteer’s monthly margin, something had to be done to get students to go to the mega-charter or it was doomed to fail! Next year it would fail.  Hence all the hoopla over something that would have been completely ignored this fall but for filling that new school.  

Most adults cannot pass a third grade Smarter Balanced Assessment.  Most engineers cannot pass the 7th Grade Smarter Balanced Math Assessment.  It is not the math that is hard; it is a test that is written so poorly every adult gets thrown by what is being asked… Yet, WE are using this to rate schools…  And furthermore, the ELA tests come out of the knowledge-pool of Mid-Western America which is primarily stocked with German and Scandinavian ancestry…  Which is why the Mid-west and the North-east tend to do better than Southern, Western, or Urban cultures.  The tests are a “rural white litmus” test and if one grew up in that environment one has an edge on having a higher score….  But if one grew up where the dialect was based off one of accented Old English, as are many Appalachian cultures, former slave cultures, or just the old Southern plantation culture, then one always guesses the allegedly wrong (???) answer because it seems far more natural to ones ear, than the one a Midwesterner would choose.  Both are right in their own cultures, but on a standardized test… one can’t have two right answers.

And yet….. 30% of inner city Wilmington’s students were able to succeed…. Indeed, a miracle. (remember no adult you know can pass these tests) Why? Because they were taught well in our public schools… The question needs to be:  how can we get more inner city children exposed to mid-western culture? Why can’t we get an urban test? What can we work on?  What is working?  What can we do better?  

So we have asked the districts to work with us and help these schools develop new plans based on what we know works for these students.

Actually no…  Your boss pulled a press stunt, announcing they were becoming priority schools and if they did not come up with a plan, you were going to privatize them… They originally had no choice, and the only reason they were given the option to make their own plans and not use yours, is because they fought back and the ENTIRE EDUCATION STRUCTURE of students, parents, legislators, teachers, principals, and school board members of this state, were solidly behind them.  You had no choice but against your wishes, than let them pretend to develop new plans that suddenly become obsolete once the mega-charter opens.  

It starts with a school leader who has a track record of working effectively with youth in high-need schools, and who has the authority to carry out a plan that fits their individual schools’ needs, free from unnecessary restrictions and mandates. We must empower these leaders to make the changes that have worked elsewhere in Delaware and beyond – changes that some of our existing district rules prevent – like extending the school day and school year, providing after-school tutoring for struggling students, and/or offering social services in their buildings. And we must hold those leaders accountable for their schools’ results.

No, it doesn’t.. We already covered that those successful school leaders were actors who simply kicked out bad students and recruited good ones, something public schools cannot do.  The real dynamic leaders are already here, today, in Delaware’s public schools and public school boards and public superintendents. For they have shown improvement despite having a hostile boss, despite decreased funding due to a poor economy, and despite a new insane curriculum called Common Core… This current crop are true leaders… They got things done not by juggling “acceptance criteria”, but by working with whatever they chanced to have.  Now… if you were to let these people rid themselves of the Common Core curriculum, then “that type” of authority would be welcome.  Somehow I doubt that is what you have in mind?

The State has made an initial investment of $6 million to support this process and help ensure the schools have the resources they need to change course. That’s equivalent to a ten percent increase in funding per student per year, and we remain dedicated to finding every way we can help these schools succeed.

But zero of that funding goes to impact any student activity.  It goes to hire friends of the DOE to a) plan ($40,000), and b) “act” like a leader ($160,000)… Furthermore, that money causes less to become available to help students… It takes away from what already was. Schools in 2 years will have less funding overall due to charters, despite the yearly $200,000 promised…. Which is why there is so much hostility to this opaque takeover attempt; it’s a money-steal… There is nothing here to help kids; there is a lot to help those well connected to this administration.  And we haven’t even covered it’s real reason: to bust the DSEA teachers’ union by firing every teacher and rehiring only 50% back and replacing them with substitutes out of the sub-teacher pool. (I think that pool is still called Teach for America.)

We want – and expect – that just as Lewis and Booker T. Washington and Eastside have chosen different approaches to helping their students succeed, each of the Priority Schools will develop a plan tailored to its students’ needs. While the state released guidance to assist Districts in the planning process, we have also accepted alternative ideas proposed by District leaders that accomplish the same objectives. We only insist that their plans include the key elements that are essential to successfully support our most disadvantaged students.

Key elements?… .  This is funny… I would point all readers and those listening in, to this administration’s track record of “working with” school districts… If you have any questions or need enlightenment, contact John Young of the Christina School board. Now, here is Sec. Murphy’s unsaid key element upon which he is working with local districts to implement to which Murphy just referred…. 

1) forcing necessary changes to the collective bargaining agreement within 75 days. (essential to support our most disadvantaged students?)

2) removing these schools completely from all district oversight and responsibility, so they are responsible only to the DOE, yet while taking a large portion of those local districts’ current funding… (essential to support our most disadvantaged students?) 

What has happened in the Priority Schools over the past decade has not worked. We need a sense of urgency about the fate of our children, recognizing that today, they do not have a fair chance to work their way out of poverty.

Falsehood.  According to the NAEP, these schools have improved over decades. According to the DCAS and DSTP, they are were not going backwards, up until Charter Schools began stealing their top students.  Most of us, if we lost our heads, would have a hard time functioning… Same principle applies to when top students get pulled out of a public school system…. So if Secretary Murphy is implying the entire Charter Program over the past decade has not worked well, then we are in surprising agreement. But his past actions make me inclined to doubt that is what he is implying.  There is only one way out of poverty. Privatizing education is not it. Attacking the basic reason for poverty, is… These children of which he speaks so disparagingly of today’s schools, are far better educated than Jea Street, Mayor Williams, Tom Gorden, Stormin’ Norman, and all the eloquent pastors Wilmington has, as well as you and I.  We did not get this good quality of an education when we were young. Yet we turned out amazingly well… Education has gotten better over 40 years!  What is different here is that a very stupidly-hard test is being used to separate society into two halves… You’re ok; you are not.

We should find inspiration in the success of schools in our state that have achieved results. And we should expect nothing less for all of our children.

On a personal note,… am I really the only one, who thinks “the children” are the least of his concerns?

20 U.S. Code § 6311 – State plans

Inside this statute, well know to all in educational circles, are the key interpretations that give parents the right to opt out of this year’s experimental testing being done by the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

*(3) Academic assessments

(C) Requirements

Such assessments shall—
(iv) be used only if the State educational agency provides to the Secretary evidence from the test publisher or other relevant sources that the assessments used are of adequate technical quality for each purpose required under this chapter and are consistent with the requirements of this section, and such evidence is made public by the Secretary upon request;
The Department of Education has yet to respond to any FOIA requested for this information….
Language above clearly states that such assessments (Smarter Balanced) can be used only if…. such evidence (of its goodness) is made public by the Secretary upon request.  
We know from sources inside the DOE that the previous test, DCAS, pinpointed large year to year decreases in all the Common Core pilot groups and maintained increases in all the old-school taught classes…  thereby showing that the new college-and-career-ready curriculums are in fact, just the opposite….
There is considerable doubt as to whether this curriculum is beneficial to students. And there is overwhelming evidence that is it harmful… Most states who signed on to Common Core for the money, are now backing out in fear over the damage Common Core will impinge upon their children.
The current Secretary of Delaware’s Education not only has failed to adequately convinced parents of the “excellency of his tests”, but has obfuscated, and blunted all FOIA attempts to seek out truth.  Currently a gag order is on his department allowing them to speak to no one about the hard data proving the capriciousness of these new assessments.
Therefore under the “No Child Left Behind” language in this bill,  the words “Only If” would make the current usage of the Smarter Balanced Assessment illegal under this section of 20 U.S. Code § 6311
*Secondly: (in same section)

(C) Requirements

Such assessments shall—
(vi) involve multiple up-to-date measures of student academic achievement, including measures that assess higher-order thinking skills and understanding;
The Smarter Balanced Assessment is the sole single measure.  The framers of this law well knew that one test score on a bad day could destroy a child’s life.  They insured multiple measures would be in place.   Under the accountability clause of Title 14 of Delaware law, however, it clearly holds the Smarter Balanced Assessment score as the single method to measure each student, measure each teacher, measure each principal, measure each school, each district and each charter. This puts it directly opposite of the intent of this law.
A test that is against existing law, can not be forced on children.  It can be offered voluntarily, but parents certainly have the right to opt out just as they currently do for brand new experimental vaccines which similar to this test have no data to back up their claims..
*Thirdly: (in same section)

(C) Requirements

Such assessments shall—
(vii) beginning not later than school year 2005–2006, measure the achievement of students against the challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards in each of grades 3 through 8 in, at a minimum, mathematics, and reading or language arts…..
This is 2014.  We have a brand new test. Brand new curriculum. We are 6 years overdue. By law we should be using the old tests, the ones we used in 2005-2006.  The “No Child Left Behind” Act requires that ending this year 2014, ALL STUDENTS TEST AT PROFICIENT OR ABOVE.  Over 70% will fail this year, whereas over 70% passed last year. Because we changed the test. If we’d had the same curriculum and same tests and had honed our skills on teaching and taking them for 8 years, it might have been possible to have achieved that lofty goal of close to 100% proficient on those same old standards. However we changed tests once after 4 years, (still on the old standards) and now, the very year we are accountable, we are changing it again on brand new untried standards… We are doing this 8 years after the law says we should have had one in place.  Since this is a brand new test on a brand new curriculum, there is considerable legal argument present to say that the current test is too untested to be used for any accountable purposes what-so- ever. The Smarter Balanced Assessment was implemented after 2006 and is therefore illegal.  All parents have the right to opt out of an illegal test.
*Four: the law further dictates in the same section.
(ix) provide for—
(II) the reasonable adaptations and accommodations for students with disabilities.
(III) the inclusion of limited English proficient students, who shall be assessed in a valid and reliable manner and provided reasonable accommodations on assessments administered to such students.
(X) the local educational agency may make a determination to assess such student in the appropriate language other than English
All accommodations have and are currently being illegally stripped out under the new Smarter Balanced Assessments.
*Fifth: in the same section…..
(xiv) be consistent with widely accepted professional testing standards, objectively measure academic achievement, knowledge, and skills, and be tests that do not evaluate or assess personal or family beliefs and attitudes, or publicly disclose personally identifiable information;
There is considerable debate that Common Core is consistent with widely accepted professional testing standards… Those making money off Common Core do support it and say it will do great things.  However, these salesmen seem to be the only ones in favor of it.  Parents already exposed to Common Core are upset that it is being imposed upon their children.  The only teachers who were actually involved with the creation of Common Core, all quit, saying they could not endorse something that violated every single educational theory explaining how children learned…
So this test is not consistent with widely practiced teaching standards.  In fact, that is its selling point; that it is not consistent.  It proclaims itself to be a brand new better medicine one its salespeople created themselves in the back of their traveling medicine wagon, so just trust them. Since this test is experimental and is not consistent with widely practiced teaching standards, it is illegal.  Parents do not have to let their children take tests that are illegal.
In fact, the Smarter Balance Assessment would be included in a section labeled:
(4) Special rule..
Academic assessment measures that do not meet the requirements of such paragraph may be included in the assessment ….as additional measures, but may not be used in lieu of the academic assessments required under this paragraph…
In other words the Smarter Balance Assessment if proven to not meet the requirements mention above in this article, can not be used as the prime assessment.
Parents should opt out. Their child should not become criminal and take an illegal test.
An injunction on this years implementation should be sought along with educating all parents of their right to opt their child out from taking these illegal tests….

In the Omnibus bill, lies a buried treasure… Delaware’s first national park.

The following sites have been authorized to be included in the park:

(From WDEL)
New Castle County, DE / Delaware County, PA:
· Woodlawn Trustees Property

New Castle County, DE:
· The Old Sheriff’s House
· Old New Castle Courthouse
· New Castle Green
· Old Swedes Church National Historic Landmark
· Fort Christina National Historic Landmark

Kent County, DE:
· Dover Green
· John Dickinson Plantation National Historic Landmark

Sussex County, DE:
· Ryves Holt House

I believe Carper had something to do with this…

Like everyone in the world who doesn’t watch Fox News, I feel all white racists in Missouri should all be killed. However, there is just one small argument against it….

Massive non-violent protest is so much more effective….

To effectively protest, two things have to occur….

A)  It has to be massive. Gigantic… Huge…. involving the heart-strings of hundreds of millions.

B)  It has to be at a higher rung on the moral ladder than its opposite…

Both planks have to be in effect for the demonstrations to change policy…..

There are considerable examples demonstrating this:  One: the Arab Spring.  The size was there, and the freedom of the movement enthused populations more than the oppression of the status quo.  Another was Ukraine.  The oppression of one administration was balanced against the freedom of a new one. However in both cases, as it became apparent that the reality was replacing one oppressive system with another one, the enthusiasm dampened.

The opposite example demonstrates the need for numbers.  Occupy was full of enthusiastic people.  But though it had strong passive sympathy for its message against the one percent, it never generated the massive demonstrations needed on the scale of the Arab Spring….

====

What will happen over the fallout of these two (examples of power able to act outside the law with impunity using a Grand Jury process as long as the victim is black), will depend solely upon whether you (and everyone else) goes to a protest demonstration this weekend… One is being held somewhere near you….

If very few show up (if you do not show up), then rightfully, this is not a real issue….  It is a fake one being broadcast by a few highly concerned individuals over the yawns of many…. But …  If you do show up, and everyone else follows you to the demonstration, only then change is possible…

Democracy demands your involvement.  The only reason you have freedom today as we speak, is because your bloodline, or your neighbor’s bloodline, chose to get involved in the sticky, messy ordeal of defending what was right… It is the only way change ever occurs. If you choose to not get involved: then hell with democracy…  Might as well live under tyrants…

Two things this past week:  Charter schools sued locally, and courts across this nation absolving white cops for crimes against black humanity …

What both speak of is an overriding, institutionalized standard intended to regulate black people to second class citizenship…

Before continuing, let me knock down some incoming pitches.

A) There will always be racists… The seeds may lie in part of our genetic code for sub-species survival.  But ever since mankind began and until mankind finishes, if racism didn’t exist in primitive cultures, civilization created it. The only thing changing across 8,000 years is whether that embedded racism is allowed by one’s institutions to become a bedrock piece of that society’s structure, or not.

B) Most people are sheep… When told to be racists and given a reason, they become one.  Once racism has been installed top down by one’s power structure, society’s economic survival overpowers its moral guilt and keeps it thriving.

C) Most people do not care about race unless it becomes thrust on top of them.  Children raised in racially co-mingled environments have to be re-programed to then become racists, and fortunately for all, childhood bonds are usually more resilient than propaganda.

D) The more poor and ignorant one is, the more likely racism will do their thinking for them….

E) Because of our susceptibility to quickly hate what is different, racism is a very useful tool for behavior modification and social control.

====

Those who grew under and saw televised racism and read first-hand accounts of its segregated effects, are shaking their head over how we returned to this point again…. These are not isolated cases.  It is a pandemic.  But why now? What happened from those days in 1999. back when it looked like racism (if not defeated) had been banished forever to negligibility?

It appears two things.

  • One… Americans allowed a political party to run their government, whose firm belief is that it should purposefully look the other way if and whenever racism occurs.
  • Two… An Afro-American was elected (over-top all the best efforts of racists to prevent it), which indirectly now allows racist’s noise machines to spew vitriol under the guise that it is an expression of political freedom.

So we got a lot more overt racism and a lot less policing over it.

====

This same party fully backs and supports the statement of one Supreme Court Justice who paraphrased:  “racism doesn’t exist anymore”. America woke up this week to find out that this Justice could not have been more wrong!

The charter school situation shows the slow slide across this decade better than  do our courts.  Charter Schools almost always only occur in  predominantly black districts.  They are to either separate whites out; or to cull out blacks …Schools are segregated today in ways that would be illegal under the finding of Brown versus The Board of Education if charters were indeed considered to be public schools.  But because Charters are considered “outside” of all normal regulations, such confining laws (unless individually ordered by a court), do not apply.

Whereas in public schools opportunity gaps are closing; in charter schools they are widening.  Once again, separate is not equal.  But in most states the expansion of charters is being encouraged by governors and education chiefs regardless of party.  For them, this is seen as a way of shirking the responsibility to properly educate all our children… First privatize the schools and then,… blame their failings on someone else’s incompetence… ” It’s management’s fault, not ours; we’re going to close that school.”

The grand point one must understand is that this did not happen overnight.  Ever since Delaware’s Charter law was pushed through in the early nineties, there have been relatively very few charters until recently.  Now there is an explosion.  This mushroom cloud didn’t happen on its own. Fake non-profits and for-profits have lobbied and pushed both charters and pro-charter legislation into reality!  No one was watching. No one cried foul. No one cared because they didn’t know.  The point I’m making is that without this concerted institutional push and lobbying of legislators by large amounts of wealth, this segregation of schools could never have happened naturally on its own.  Today’s schools would remain public open to all, and whites and blacks would be receiving the same education at the same time in the same schools.

In other words, this Charter School racism was instituted from the top down.

Similarly in our court systems we have allowed our police leeway over what used to be considered our Constitutional rights.  As conservative judges became appointed to vacancies on the bench, and as non-Conservative judges were denied conformation, the bench overall began applying conservative principles whenever it dealt with our local police forces.

This anointed our police forces to the point of where they could do no wrong.  This is now Communist Russia, Communist China, or Hitler’s Germany. or Tojo’s Japan.

Both these two grand juries had their outcome predetermined by their prosecutors who had the (not so hidden agenda to not incriminate a police officer.

If the actual visual proof of an execution happening before the viewer is still not enough evidence of wrong doing, then anything done against black American citizens can now be allowed… And that is a problem. A very big problem.

Most experts believe another Grand Jury under another prosecutor would have given another verdict… Both these two verdicts were orchestrated from the top down.  Those institutions holding the real power in those two communities, told their prosecutors that they needed the policeman to go free… and the prosecutor obliged.

The relief point here is that on the whole, most Americans are not really into racism.  But a few in power since we first put a “2” in front of our millennium, have worked very hard to make us appear that way…  and now their efforts appear to have been successful. Today based on social media reporting, we are a very racist society.  And since 1999, racism has been put into place by Republican bureaucrats from the top down…. primarily during the Cheney-Bush administration and then later  in Obama’s, the Tea Party Republicans blocked all Democratic attempts to undo the damage. (Remember the Republican meme that Katrina was not a terrible disaster because only Black people lost their homes? It was a disaster, they admitted, but not a terrible disaster.)

As long as Republicans are not held accountable, racism will grow only worse. The attempts now to hold a clear conversation about race, without holding the Republican party responsible are meaningless.  If you don’t get rid of Conservatives, this issue will never go away….  Yes. We could kill them… But that takes approximately 5 years and they still get to keep their horses and guns.  Better to use the majorities embedded in the American voting system to eliminate that party which privately promotes and publicly condones racism. Next we need to use our economic power of withholding purchases to blacklist all those companies who advertise on and stop it cold….Fox TV who as of right now, is the biggest force driving race divisiveness across this once-great nation.

We got past it once.  It took a long time.  In less than 14 years of FOX and the Republican party, racism has now been institutionalized again from the top down….  The grand point of all this, is that no change will ever come about; no matter how many demonstrations you through; no matter how many petitions you sign; no matter how many police cars you overturn; no matter how many shops you loot and trash…. The problem will not go away until you A) both vote en masse and B) shut down Fox’s Propaganda….  it is completely ridiculous to believe that any change will come for any person of color, as long as Mitch McConnell is running the Senate and John Boehner is running the House….   Because racists run that party; only super-majorities of Democrats in both houses can change things now.

So in your discussions about the proper ways to execute white people for revenge (which based on the two injustices you have just witnessed, it would be foolish to assume it is not going on among the most vitriolic of you right now), please make allowances for separating out those whites who voted Democratic, and focus your revenge expressly on those who absolutely deserve it all, Republicans. Because the problem is not… all whites… The problem is…. as little children well know and say everywhere….Republicans…

Democrats and Independents… if you don’t take it upon yourselves to go to a rally for equal rights and equal justice for our black brothers and sisters. you too are the big part of the problem.  Passive racism is:   “Oh, I’ll stay home and watch my college alma mater get their butts whipped in a conference game; black people getting lynched in St. Louis or New York or Cleveland, yeah, I care a little, but it is no problem of mine”…   For if only black people show up at these rallies, white Republicans say:  “look, only black people show up at those rallies; let’s hurt them some more to punish them enough so in the future, as we take all their rights, they will be too afraid to even have rallies..”  

No, it will take all of the 83% of us who are non-racist to stomp out the 17% who are…  The minority population of Republicans have no power except that Fox Propaganda makes you think they have all the power… Our odds are 83% to their 17%.  Just curious. Have you ever fought off 4 people? One doesn’t usually win, and one tends to get hurt pretty bad… So show up at the demonstration. Make racism go away. Dis-associate yourself from die-hard Republicans and show them there is a social price to be paid for working overtime to bring institutionalized Racism back into America.

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Jack Markell and Mark Murphy:

In your own letter you begin with this:

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), which was amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, requires all states to implement “high-quality, yearly student academic assessments.” 20 U.S.C. § 6311(b) (3)(A)……

It says nothing about opting out of low quality tests.  I ask that you please show me where there is any high quality in these poorly written tests? I would further ask that you take these assessments in public and then have your scores published for all to know just how poorly these tests rate in evaluating what is truly important in life.

Were these tests truly high quality it would appear your case might have some standing. However, the real doubts over these test’s qualities and validities makes opting out of these travesties appear the better way for citizens to uphold our current law as it is written, and thereby free each child’s educator to assess each of their student’s skills with tests that are truly of high quality.

Sincerely:

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