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Despite what colostomy-bagged Republicans think in Congress, most of America still has to function daily. Thank goodness it does.

Educational professionals across the nation sighed a giant collective sigh of relief.

The order will offer deportation reprieves and working papers to undocumented parents of children who are either U.S. citizens or have legal residency here and who have lived in the United States for at least five years…

In 2012, children with at least one undocumented immigrant parent accounted for nearly 7 percent of U.S. students in kindergarten through 12th grade, according to a Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project report released this week. Based on 2012 Census data, that’s more than 3.8 million students.

“There’s has been a great deal of psychological uncertainty that makes it very hard for (those) students to fully feel secure,” That is now gone.

it’s going to create a sense of security for families that will allow students to focus on their schoolwork; and not worry about losing mom or dad.

The Democratic-controlled Senate passed a sweeping overhaul to the country’s immigration laws, garnering votes from 14 Republicans. But the Republican-led House never took up the proposal, largely due to a minuscule and vocal group of conservatives who are Grand Dragons of the Klu Klux Klan within the GOP caucus and who oppose any pathway to citizenship.

(Public schools that they are required to provide all children with equal access to education at the elementary and secondary levels, regardless of their own, or their parents’ or guardians’ citizenship or immigration status. )

It’s important to emphasize how essential educators will be in this process; it is our hope that educators around the country will see the enormous potential they now have.”

  • Charters come into their area
  • Common Core gets taught
  • Smarter Balanced Assessments are used to rate teachers, schools, and students.

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Our poor children.

kavips:

This has been reblogged to death, but it is so important that if one new reader actually stumbles upon it here, it is well worth the time. We have all known about the little pieces; but this is the first time in recent memory that all the little pieces have been woven together in a tapestry of overwhelming proportions… It’s time to go to war for our children.

Originally posted on Exceptional Delaware:

Dr. Paul Herdman  and Governor Markell have a long history in Delaware in the 21st Century.  Their collaborations have resulted in the biggest changes to education the state has seen in decades.  Name any education change since Markell became Governor, and Rodel’s been a part of it.  And they are making a lot of money off these changes!

As part of my blog, I find out information about education in our state, and recently Rodel had their latest Vision conference where they focused on personalized learning, with a whole education reform agenda yet to be revealed to the mass public, sponsored by a company called 2Revolutions.  Rodel has a long history in the world of corporate education reform.  But what if I told you they aren’t doing it for the love of education and students, but pure profit?

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On the closure of two schools.

This is to what we agreed when we elected George W. Bush to the presidency…  He said that “no child should be left behind.”   That means “no child”. If a school could not meet the standards set, it should be closed and those students sent to one that does meet such standards….

Politics has punted the ball for 14 years, and now, 2014 we’ve reached the end of sudden death overtime. There is no time to punt.  Game over.  These were the rules, upon which WE, THE PEOPLE, all agreed….

Darn shame no one thought of special-ed students back then.

Even though everyone in the back of their heads knew that if something is wrong with a person’s brain, something preventing them from performing on the level set for those who have no trouble building neurons and synapses, there was no way they could ever meet the intellectual standards set.

So, it made great sense to separate them from mainstream schools.  Cull out those who have no hope of getting 1550 on their SAT, get them out of ones schools to increase those schools averages, then point to those raised averages to show that educational reform (at least under that principal) was working because: “gee, look at the increase in average test scores!”

Plus it made great sense to parents, who long ago accepted the reality that their one child would not graduate medical school with honors,  would not be one of societies’ greatest achievers, and therefore, needed an environment where they could proceed on their own individual level, with great coaching and celebrate every milestone their limited capacity would allow them to cross.

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What doesn’t make sense is having these schools uphold a standard that should not be upheld in the first place.

First item of business then will be to remove schools specializing in challenged students from being held accountable to standards set too high…  It is like failing a first grader because they can’t jump a 6 foot high jump bar…

This was an oversight in the “No Child Left Behind” act… Because of that oversight, the solution now is to close these schools which despite great teachers, great administrators, and great students in every way other than their scores on the DCAS (Smarter Balanced starts this year), create embarrassing scores that are lowest in the state for the simple reason we aggregated all our lowest standardized tested students and put them in one school to help them.

If you re-spread those low scores across many schools, the tiny dip in new averages those students create, will not be enough to drop their new schools into a failure zone, and therefore the state’s report card then shows no F’s.

Which is what is being done:.. to eliminate “bad” schools those “bad” students are being diluted with enough good students across the state to keep the grade “averages” up.  (Like legally allowing the dumping of arsenic into a river as long as the parts per million don’t reach a certain level. Bit if you get one of those parts, it is still just as toxic).

It’s a human tragedy if that now moved student will be overwhelmed and grow inward, shut down, and simply give up.  But what the heck, it never shows up on the overall state’s grade…. so all schools look like they are doing great!

That is all that is going on here.  The real solution is to recognize this reality, and to absolve these types of schools who specialize in the teaching of those students (who for reasons beyond anyone’s control), will never rise up to meet the standards set from the “No Child Left Behind Act”…

Therefore, these two solutions need to go forward simultaneously.  (a) Legislation absolving certain schools from state standards (essentially putting “‘waiver status designation” into the hands of state legislators (accountable to we, the people) and not the Secretary of the DOE); and (b) a court case filed, similar to that of REACH, decrying the promotion of discrimination against disabled special-ed students by this action (because they are indeed being forced to matriculate into an inferior education, based solely upon their disabilities)….

These two schools should stay open and be commended for the service they provide society. Not closed because of some oversight 14 years ago that did not disclude them at that time.

Murphy and Markell, as well as Arne Duncun and other reformers (News Journal yaddi-yadda crowd) often pull out the China card when promoting their very single minded method of success..

Successful children are ones who meet a certain bar set by a certain person on a certain test.

What anyone else may deem to be successful, such as playing a Bach virtuoso at age 5, is not considered successful   Figuring out this, to get over a bar set 1550 on the SAT, is…

It would be wise to look at the Chinese system before copying it.  For over a thousand years, Chinese emperors used the imperial exam system keju to select government officials. When the great empire was shattered by Western powers in the 19th century, keju was blamed for China’s failure to cultivate the creative and diverse talents needed for modernization. It was officially ended in 1905….

It’s spirit lives on in today’s gaokao (think insurance).

it is practically the only way for upward social mobility, gaokao wields as much power as keju. It orients all aspects of education at all levels toward preparing for the exam. As a result, the modern day education system in China remains a test-prep machine as it was in the days of keju.

In summation, the teaching to the test that occurred for 1000 years of Chinese civilization failed to achieve anything close to the science of those Western strangers who’d sailed their ships right up their rivers and hand cannons aimed at the imperial palace.

Yet they still use it today. The modern-day Chinese test-prep education has the distinction of producing the best test-takers in the world. Which in turn causes it’s own problems.

A.  One study shows that fewer than 10% of Chinese graduates would be qualified to work in a foreign company in occupations such as engineering, finance and accounting.

B.  Corruption such as bribery, cheating and other forms of fraud intended to boost test results has been rampant in the past as well as today.

C.   Stress, anxiety, poor physical health and a lack of social and practical life skills are well-known characteristics of Chinese students.

D.   Its education system stifles creativity, suppresses individuality and induces conformity by forcing all children to compete for better test outcomes in a narrow set of subjects.

E.  Testing rewards those who are willing and able to give the right answers in the right way as demanded by the authority, while eliminating those who are unwilling or unable, but who may be talented in other areas.

F.  It fosters the spirit of compliance. It also results in impoverished educational experiences by forcing schools and teachers to teach to the test.

G.  Parents, too, are forced to narrow their children’s education experience to improve their children’s test performance.

H.   Children are deprived of all opportunities to explore their interests and find their passion.

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But China, unlike Markell and Murphy, is aware of the problems of testing and is trying to do things to correct the reliance of standard tests to determine a person’s value…

The changes being made in China are the exact opposite of what Murphy seeks to implement here in Delaware… Where is China is trying very hard to emulate the United States’ educational system, our leaders are trying to take us back to the flawed policies from which the Chinese are running away!!!

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The Chinese took these steps.

1. The Ministry of Education issued the order to ban testing for grades one through three. (Delaware is increasing the difficulty and numbers of tests to K-3 in order to acclimate them to the test before it gets taken in third grade.  Again, everything revolves around teaching the taking of a test.)

2.  For grades four and up, standardized testing is only allowed once per year for three subjects (Chinese, math and foreign language). (In Delaware, the NCAE, PSAT, SAT, ACT, AP tests, pre -Smarter Balance Assessments, and the Smarter Balanced Assessment are all taken within 180 days.)

3.   Tests cannot be used to admit students during the compulsory education stage.  (Delaware will hold back all 4 grader and all 8th graders who do not pass the test).

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As we have already seen in America, high stakes testing has already led to high stakes erasures and high stakes cheating. It is inevitable. if ones child will not advance, there are many ways a million dollars in the right hand can help that child instantly pass any standardized test. We are setting up a society where only the top test scorers will achieve top positions and only those able to afford to pay for these top test scores, (under the table of course) will go onward.

That is the foundation China was set upon.  Not the foundation given to us by OUR founding fathers.  The imperial exam system did a perfect job in cultivating obedient and homogeneous intellectuals, who contributed to China’s continuous pre-eminence as an agricultural empire.

There is much we can indeed learn from China.  And that starts with not taking the test too seriously and with keeping those things in place here which the Chinese are now trying to emulate, because their system does not have it.

China wants to have the same kind of creative and entrepreneurial talents America desires for the future. It is doing so by minimizing testing, because it has learned that testing and standardization do not help with, and more likely hurt, the development of creative and entrepreneurial talents. This is the Chinese lesson that America can learn.

Six schools in Wilmington were given close to $1 million each over 5 years and put on a priority list.

Some people say the $1 million is a good thing…

However simultaneous to this attempt,  there will be a considerable number of charter schools going into Wilmington.

Next year, 2015-2016 Frere school expects to take on close to 356 students.  According to their application, their predicted budget will be funded to the tune of $2,083,200 in state funds, and for the first year $1,246,224 from neighboring districts… (RED CLAY and CHRISTINA).

So, apparently based on scattered test results we have failing schools, and are investing roughly $5 million into those two districts to make them right.  Yet with this one school alone across the exact same span of time, we are taking over $7,061,936 out of those two districts in “School District Local Fund Transfers”…

There is also another brand new charter school coming into the city next year. Great Oaks School is budgeted to take out during its first year, $879,299 in local fund transfers. Across the same  5 year time frame as these priority schools,  Great Oaks will suck out $6,262,170….

So where we had a great press conference announcing $5 million dollars were going to help poor little black kids get an education in inner city Wilmington and the News Journal on cue came out singing “Hail to the Chief, Hail to Our Saviour”; the policies put in place by our hailed Chief, our hailed savior,…. sucked $13,324,106 out of the very budgets providing all other funds for those six schools!

Over the next 5 years based on just these two charter school alone,  a net loss of $8 million will occur to these two districts, most of it coming from inner city Wilmington…. And at least 8 more charters are on the way and unless you do something political, will be operational in the same general area as these schools.

So while Christina and Red Clay frantically race the clock to put in a plan on how they will pull these inner city schools out of priority status over the next 5 years… I do wonder if in their plans, whether they are planning for a combined loss of $30 million dollars over the span of these same five years? If their plans do not account for the loss of charter pupil expense, they aren’t realistic plans.

“No big deal if these schools fail,” says this administration… “Only poor black people live there…..”

Charter schools should be funded solely by line items in a state budget and no funds should  transfer from public to private, attached to each student attending charter schools… Only then, will all our children get a real crack at opportunity to better their lives.

Tonight there will be another town meeting, this the only one in Newark, regarding the upcoming takeover of 6 public schools…  All the players were there, and it was brought up that the number one player with the most at stake, was absent….   you.

The challenge was proffered.  What do you want your public schools to be?

I had to catch myself… My first reaction was a long tedious list of what I didn’t want them to be… which shortened considerably, boils down to one word:  Philadelphia.

So as THE self appointed globally sanctioned prime expert on education across the entire world, knowledgeable of schools from the aborigine Outback, Ghana, China, Russia, Europe, Brazil, to the US…  this was an opportune time to define eduction in its most realistic perspective.

Anyone of age, knows as a young parent you have very detailed ideas of how your child is going to be… but then as a grandparent, you throw them all out the window and enjoy the individual spirit and quirks each child possesses… That perspective is endemic to where I am going to take this conversation.

1)  All people are different; education strategy must account for that.  Anything that defines education to one single formula will work for one single type of human being, and fail for all the others… Guaranteed! Some more so than others. Success depends on bringing each individual person’s talents, instilled in them either by genetics or environment, to the area where they can be most successful and live happy and productive lives… (Assuming the whole principle for living is to be happy and have a productive life…  After all: why should anyone purposefully live to endure an unhappy and fruitless life?)

2) People tend to learn what they deem is important and discard the rest.  It is how we are wired… Making people learn things that are not important is a waste of time… They’ll forget it, so why invest the time teaching something that is not there in two days, and is never again needed in their lifetimes?

3) Since children are acquiescent, education across the ages has always revolved around what adults think should be instilled to promote the society they envision… Example, people who are bible bangers think we need more religion in our schools because, if everyone thought as did they, they wouldn’t be ostracized by society anymore.. So usually for whatever reason, educational policy has always been about promoting the self-interests of the policy maker.  Recently Common Core. Once it was Science.  Once it was Creationism.  Now it is $$$$$.

4) There is a lot of consensus that everyone should have the ability to read the language they will be using the rest of their life, and to add, subtract, multiply, and divide (specifically in a base-10 system)….  These are fundlemental and I am sure that a statically rounded 100% of all human beings would agree to that.

5) And lastly:  it should be a guaranteed right that everyone has the right to learn what ever they want, if they want to avail themselves of the opportunity….  Which means at an early age:  exposure to a wide variety; and at a later age, freedom to pursue that area in which they perceive they will be happiest…

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And that is it….  From there the discussion boils down into petty arguments, vision, details, and personal whims and attributes.  Conservatives want a conservative agenda taught, with no mention of the sins of liberal thinking… Religious nuts want their religion, and only THEIR religion taught to bolster their teachings at home.  Business interests want psychological robots to perform tasks on demand with no question.  Intellectuals want the smart ones culled and given an robust menu upon which to flourish.  Poor people just want someone to keep their kids till they can make it home from work.

So what we need is an educational system that encompasses all of the above…. In other words, is it unrealistic to expect a child of a crack mom, kept by an aunt who works 2 jobs, to achieve standards set for an above average affluent white suburbanite from a family income well over $80,000?   Why, yes.  It is…  In other words, is it unrealistic to expect a child raped by a relative entrusted of its care, to behave as would a child of a wealthy stay-at-home mom who ran things with an iron fist beginning at birth, whose child never learned any other option other than trust implicitly what they were told to do?  Why, yes… it is… In other words, is it unrealistic to expect a child who has a 500 word vocabulary upon entering 1st grade to achieve at the same level expected of a child whose parents boast they have read to him over 2000 books before he/she enters the school system?   Why, yes… it is…

I am right on the verge of preaching again what schools should not be, which since I said earilier I would not do, I will leave it to you to put that together in your own mind….

But as a final thought, some of us are old enough to remember the public service commercials once ending with:  “because a mind is a terrible thing to waste…..” 

And that is the essence to me of what our public schools should be….

They should be areas of opportunity….  Where if a child is born of a gifted mind, he won’t be denied opportunity because of the color of his skin, or the economic standing of his parents, or a disability with which he was born….

All people may be created equal, but not all have equal opportunity upon arriving upon public education’s doorstep.  The true ideal of public education should be to give ALL those arriving, the opportunity to make their lives better than what it would be, if such schools did not exist.

So, based on the assumption that schools should be areas of opportunity, a lot of crap is immediately discarded and those things that impeding this mission of being an opportunity become readily apparent.

1) Those students denying other students their opportunity to learn, need to be culled.

2) Sports, music, and arts, providing additional opportunities, need to be enhanced, not diminished.

3) Statewide testing should be only a measure of each student’s progress. Not a brick bat to level at teachers, schools, and districts, and poor people in general.

4) We should be happy if all can read, write, and do basic math.  But we should definitely offer more for those so inclined to go further.

5) A child’s path should be decided by its parents… If the child has none, then the best experts possible should be there to guide him.

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Education should be neither liberal or conservative, but should include elements promoting both.  It should be neither religious or atheistic, but should include elements exploring both.  It should be neither for rich or poor, but should include opportunities for both….

Public Education should be the place where anyone, no matter what number life has given him, can grow and explore however he is so inclined.  No limits. No entry restrictions.

Case in point: there was once a black kid, of single mom, immigrant estranged father, raised by grandparents, who took full advantage of all public education’s opportunities… He is now the President of the United States of America….

Alas, if we could have only given Republicans as equal of an education.

The language portion of the Smarter Balanced Assessment is designed to fail children in poverty, and elevate those from affluent suburban white families….

Here is the text from one of the tests….

Den, Fox staat fuh talk. E say to eself, a say, “Dish yuh Crow duh ooman, enty? Ef a kin suade um fuh talk, him haffuh op’n e mout, enty? En ef e op’n e mout, enty de meat fuh drop out?”
Fox call to de Crow: “Mawnin tittuh, ” e say. “Uh so glad you tief da meat fum de buckruh, cause him bin fuh trow-um-way pan de dog… E mek me bex fuh see man do shishuh ting lukkuh dat.”
Crow nebbuh crack a teet! All-time Fox duh talk, Crow mout shet tight pan de meat, en a yez cock fuh lissin.

Now answer:

What gender is the crow?

a) male b) female c) undisclosed d) not relevant

What was cocked to listen?

a) privates b) ears c) head from neck up d) buttocks

The correct answers were “b” and “b”; how did you do?  Since that was fun, let us do another one?

arachnids have eight

(Please click image to enlarge and read…. Then if extremely curious, respond with your best guess in the Comment section below…)

This text from the Smarter Balanced Assessment is pretty easy IF YOU ARE WHITE!!!!

But to an African American who has guardians who speak colloquially, as the first story describes, this is an impossible question to answer correctly…  It is a guess based on what sounds right.  None of the answers (a),*(b),*(c),*(d),* are incorrect.  Depending on ones parent’s cadence, each of them will sound the more correct to different test takers…

Those who have parents who speak in Common Core (ha,ha), will do fine.  To them the answer will be obvious.

But how do you teach this?  How can you tell someone who listens to colloquial English spoken with an accent, whose brain was formed its first year on the very rhythms above, whose world must first be translated into that language to be understood… which of the above true statements is the “most” correct?  Do YOU even know what the Common Core director arbitrarily deems from his mighty perch to be the “most” correct?

(leave your best guess below)

Would any of these suffice if spoken in the Bank of America building off Paper Mill Road? Of course.  No one would interrupt the speaker and say, “Ma’am, you didn’t say that in proper English.”

Would any of these suffice if spoken on the floor of our General Assembly?  Of course… (have you ever heard Sen Bonini?)  Not even Judus Lavelle would stand up and tell Colin his English was incorrect, because… it isn’t.

But because children of 6 schools close to the Mega Charter building could not pick the one exact answer David Colemen deemed to be the one true epitome of the English Language on this question and others, all their teachers are to be fired and only half rehired;  a principal of 3 months is demoted and a new $160,000 leader is brought in to scream, yell, disrupt, and cause chaos so broad, that only a multi-state mega-charter outfit is then deemed capable of fixing what was purposefully broken.

Because of one test question:… a test question designed to reflect what Mr. and Mrs. Common Core raised their child from birth to understand was the single most perfect of perfection of the English language…  Says who?

Exactly….

That is the whole point…  A very arbitrary question at which even adults have to guess, is what decides a person’s career, a school’s status, a child’s entire future…..

Now…

Are you beginning to see the madness driving this school priority takeover?  I’m sure it makes some sense in a world like Alice in Wonderland, which more and more, is appearing to be reflective of the Delaware’s DOE’s every day thinking….

Sigh.

As the saying goes:  “if you can’t beat ‘em .. join ‘em”, … so please join me in saying: “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!! “

Here is the report.

I just want to comment that all were public schools.  Charter schools cannot achieve this type of success.

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  • No one was hired at $160,000.
  • Teachers were not fired en masse, and then no more than half rehired.
  • Principals were not fired and replaced with “leaders”.
  • Music, Art, and foreign languages were not eliminated.
  • No high priced “private firm” was brought into manage them.

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Oh, and none of them were anywhere near the huge Mega-Charter complex going in at Rodney Square.

Most likely yes, over which many unfamiliar to Common Core will no doubt scratch their heads.  All officials who defended Common Core lost.  All who attacked Common Core won.  But what about where Common Core was not on the ballot or ever brought up?

If you hate Common Core, Obama gets the blame.  Even though far removed, there are enough emails out there linking Obama to Common Core; (probably equal to as many as link him to being born in Kenya).

And as all readers here already know, everyone who gets touched directly by Common Core, comes to hate Common Core… In a recent Gallop Poll, they concluded that  their evidence showed that those who have no involvement in Common Core tend to support it, albeit in an abstract way; those who are involved, have a deep visceral resentment….

I’ll try to explain it for those twenty-somethings in think tanks who have no kids, and think the only valid reason to come into work tired is if one has a hangover from the night before.

Tired as you are, you help your child with homework.  You go, What the fvck is this?  Why  is so stupid? Why are they teaching this to my kids?  What happened to the good education we got in school?  Where 2 + 2 = 4?

And it makes you mad. Very mad. Especially when you think of how damaging it will be to America if none of our children can do math, can read anything more complex than a 140 character text message… It makes you very angry,… And no one is talking about it.  You research: so it came from Obama?  I’ll show him…..

To any parent there is nothing more toxic than Common Core… Remember that legislators.  Remember that… There is nothing more toxic than Common Core (unless it’s charter schools)..

Democrats found out. And it will get worse, much worse, with mandatory test taking this spring.

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