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1. When it is the parent’s right and responsibility to determine a free and appropriate education for their children and no one else’s; not the state, not the federal government, not a district administrator, nor anyone else who does not know the child and no one who is knowledgeable of the child can see a high stakes test before it is administered to determine the appropriateness to each individual student’s challenges; then no one in the Department of Education can say the test is appropriate therefore the Department of Education cannot determine its appropriateness. Therefore, a high stakes standardized test cannot be used or even considered.

This is especially true of every child outside of the normal range of learning involving an IEP. No IEP child should be evaluated on a standardized test, ever. Simply put, that child doesn’t learn by the standard methods so the methods of standardization would simply not apply to them.

2. The high stakes of high stakes standardized testing has created hostile working and learning environments (insert your own examples here specific to your child). Hostile working environments create stressed-out staff. It is difficult for staff to administer these tests without their own anxiety being apparent; this occurs with teachers working with the general population as well, not just special needs students.

3. These tests only reliably and statistically predict race, poverty, and special needs patterns. The Department of Education already knows the statistics of each child and does not need a high stakes test to tell them something they already know.

4. For these reasons above and many more, high stakes tests are not appropriate for any child, let alone a special needs child, but most importantly ( the parents reserve and exercise their parental rights and child’s rights to opt out,refuse the child’s participation in all standardized tests and test preparations….)

Culled from IDEA, federal law in 2004, Regulations: Part 300 / D / 300.320 / a and Statute: TITLE I / B / 615 / d…..

These two tags of Federal Law, give the parent of every child the right to decide their child’s future… It is the basis behind home schooling…. As long as the child learns, it doesn’t matter how. At stake here, is the tenant whether parents will continue to be the dominant force in their child’s education, or has the prevailing weight been now shifted over to the state.

If the Smarter Balanced tests goes forward, unchallenged, then a precedent has been set for the removal of the predominating force of a parent’s stake in their child’s education. And as we know about precedents, they can by used by anyone to defend anything in the future.

This is about every parent’s right over their own children.

Bobby Jindal, once a Republican hopeful for the President’s chair, is now suing the Federal Government over Common Core… Some interesting factors have come to light out of the preliminaries for that suit….

It was claimed by the opposing Louisiana’s Director of Education (which is a supporter of Common Core and the privatization of education), that Louisiana’s scores held steady despite a tougher test that was geared to Common Core… 

That claim was FOIA’s and we now have insight on how that could have been….

For example, in 2013, 4th grade students taking the ELA test needed to get 51.54% of the answers correct in order to get a scale score of 301 for a level of basic, but in 2014, after the annual “equating of test forms”, students only needed to get 44.62% of the answers correct in order to get the minimum scale score of 301 needed for the level of basic.

This gives the general pubic who does not know how test scores are cut, the idea that Common Core is doing it’s job.  Harder tests… same results… they must be learning more….

Based on a sample analysis of the very meager data LDOE finally released under threat of lawsuit it is clear that not only is student performance not increasing or staying steady, it Is in fact declining, and being masked by a lowering of the number of correct answers required to pass LEAP and iLEAP tests….

Proponents of Common Core, and the High Stakes testing required by it, have claimed the comparability of test scores across states will make for meaningful comparisons. To have this meaningful comparison, all states must teach the same curriculum and all must administer identical tests from one of the two federally funded consortiums (Smarter Balanced and PARCC). However neither consortium controls the cut scores; those are entirely in the control of the states. These scores can go up or down as local politics require.

Let me spell this out for you. If you want to show progress in your state you can artificially inflate the scores to show improvement. If you need to make a case for more charter schools and school closures simply lower the scores and take them over and then raise the score back to show that reform worked. That is exactly what Louisiana has done and no doubt other reform markets as well. The actual data shows the Reforms, including Common Core, have had the exact opposite effect, and a very dramatic one.

When in reality, what this means is simple terms is that Louisiana students are about 18% less prepared now in 4th grade in English Language Arts, and 28% percent less prepared in Math by the time the reach 8th grade than they were before John White and Common Core started being used in Louisiana schools.

Inside the Delaware Department of Education, they also know this is true….  All the Delawarean Common Core pilot classes slumped in their performances, and non-Common Core classes continued their rise…  With corresponding data now from two states, Common Core seems to be a very bad way to get children to learn… 

It took a subpoena in a lawsuit for that data to be released in Louisiana…  Once Common Core is data mined, it is dead on arrival… One can lie all they want, but those lies are exposed as direct lies, not mistakes, once the data is released….

And, the best way to rid ourselves of Common Core, is to have 10% or more of Delaware’s children opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment being given this spring, which Murphy has already leaked will be artificially cut to fail 70% of Delaware’s students.

One can only think it is done in order to have charters take over schools.   Why else would a billions of dollars have been contributed for an otherwise purposeless endeavor?

Corporate interests have been attacking education since Bush 2000 said, “No Child Left Behind”… it was a way to get money from public schools into private pockets… 

When you hear some stupid fool talk against tenure…. it’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear someone praise Common Core….. it’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear someone praising any Charter School…. it’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear someone praising Shanghai or Korean schools…. It’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear anyone lie that Common Core is not a Federal program,… It’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear that the Smarter Balanced Assessment will fail 70% of Delaware’s children… It’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear that a local school board must do merit pay on teachers… it’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear teachers get paid too much… it’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear that teachers have too much time off… it’s the corporate war on education……

When you hear inner city schools are failing… it’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear that charters don’t have to be accountable the same way public schools do… it’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear that poverty has nothing to do with low scores; it’s due to bad teaching… it’s the corporate war on education….

When you hear that Arne Duncun is coming to Delaware… it’s the corporate war on education… 

When you hear a megalithic charter school is moving into the Bank of America building … it’s the corporate war on education….

When you hear that waivers should be given to failing charter schools, but public schools should be closed if they fail… it’s the corporate war on education….

When you hear that students with disabilities, will now be mainstreamed and put in regular classes,… it’s the corporate war on education…. 

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You get the idea… It boils down to one thing. If one is concerned about money… they are taking the side of the corporate war on education… 

On the other hand, if anyone is primarily concerned about how new policies and old policies affected the children… they are those playing defense for the children in this corporate war on education…. 

That includes all teachers.  Parents.  Students (themselves of course),  and most district school board members who are accountable not to the Governor or his swaggering Department of Educational Secretary,… but to real people, who work for a living, pay taxes to schools every year, and who have to come home and get their child ready for school the next day….

These people have a different plan. One that worked once before.  One that has much more hope and promise than anything we have gotten from those other people do never did like children, but know a business opportunity when they see one…

To fix education and make our students the most qualified in the world…. we need to do 5 things….

  • Mandate an 11:1 student/teacher ratio in all schools with more than a 50% level of reduced lunch, for all grades k-5 and across the 9th grade as well…. 
  • Tax the top one percent to pay for any extra expense entailed.
  • Remove the high stakes apart from testing.  Use testing as a tool to see what a student has missed solely in order to fill the void that students has.  Technology can do that.  But real information is being covered up by teachers teaching to the test.  Students are learning the test, not how to apply what they know to real world situations.  Changing that will only happen if we stop firing teachers and closing schools based solely on poverty’s influence upon test scores….
  • Fund all Charter Schools by a line item in the state budget.  The property tax funding is meant and must go to fund public schools.  Not some privateer’s investment portfolio.  If a state wants to experiment in education, it must do so out of its General Fund. 
  • Let teachers teach. Stop telling effective teachers with over 25 years of classroom experience that you know how education works, and they don’t…… 

 

 

At the Lee County District Board of Education meeting last night, emotions came to a head when mother Lori Jenkins took the stand. She said her son was on leave from school due to a terminal heart condition, yet the district still sent someone to proctor the FCAT exam at his home. The audience gasped with disgust.

He’s terminal, he’s going to die, but he goes to school! He does the stupid remedial classes! That’s how I know this is all about money,” Jenkins yelled into the microphone before she hit her one-minute time limit and the audio was cut.

 

It’s all about money. It’s always been about the money. No one gives a damn whether kids learn or not. It’s all about the money. Nothing… but …. money.  Just money.,…  Only, money.

The Lee County school board, by a 3-2 vote Wednesday night, decided not to administer the FCAT, the standardized test that Florida requires of its students. Cheers and applause filled the packed auditorium after the vote was taken.

Can we get this on the agenda of all 19 districts here in Delaware?  

The district is opting out of ALL statewide standardized tests. “We cannot allow the fear to hold us back.””

If they can do it……………… 

You will probably be greeted with the News Journal piece regarding bus problems. The News Journal focuses on private charter schools (oops, they think they are public now)… but almost every school in Delaware on Monday, had children of whom they had no idea of where home was…  In every office across this state, panic ensued.  Teachers going over files, looking for contact numbers, guardians etc..  

WDEL did a piece on one woman’s outrage… On Monday there were probably a 1000 Delawarean parents facing the same scenario, who were just glad to get their kid, and not one of the rogue elements who wants to go ballistic just to get their voice on the radio or TV.

Thousands… whose child did not get off the bus they got on that morning…. 

Here is what I found out…

  • This historically is officially the worst year ever for bus departure mix-ups.  Teachers asked for the information, and their school offices could not provide it; it has not been downloaded by the DOE. 
  • No new information for this school year was available in the statewide system.  New students especially had to have their old schools called, and asked for contact numbers.
  • This problem was an offshoot of Common Core.  Let me explain. 

Here is how one principal explained it:   Normally we have drills and go over and over the protocol for the first day of school.  It is a priority.  This year, all our time from the top down, has been sucked out by Common Core. Requests for information, items that needed responded to, allegedly immediately… so all the tiny details took time away from the normal training required to get kids on the bus.

I wasn’t convinced:  I asked:  how could that be?  Certainly you know children who disappear are a priority?  “Yes”, I was told, “they are the number one priority.  But have you ever had something so big, disorganized, and time demanding that if you pause for a second, it takes 3 seconds just to catch up to where you used to be?  Well that is what all of us are going through here on Common Core.  It is a disaster already, and I don’t see how it will be working by the end of the year.. Most teachers don’t have their materials, and will have to wing their curriculum and then go back and try to cram the kids for the test once those material land… racing at a fast pace through the entire curriculum in time for the test…  There is no planning.”

But children not getting home?

“I know, I know,” I was told.  “But it is like someone you know who has a heart attack while brushing their teeth? That is Common Core,  You think if it should happen to you that you will have time and enough presence of mind to put the cap back on the toothpaste, but in reality, it doesn’t happen. ” 

Common Core sucks the oxygen out of every room. 

 

When issues fall into your lap out of bills passed, many are quick to point fingers and say: “what were those legislators thinking”… Well in their defense, it could be in the way bills are phrased, written, and passed…  If you have ever looked at a bill being passed, you don’t see a new law that is clear and easy to understand. You see stuff like this… 

In section (d) of (2) of subsections 362 of Title 14, substitute the word “and” with “or”… 

That line is what gets voted on…  To understand this implication, one has to have in their minds the full outline of the old bill, and then a full outline of the new bill, many of which are over 10,000 words long.. One has to then compare the old and new and see if they can find any future problems… This is too much work.  The only people who have time to do that are the ones who want to make the changes to help themselves.. They do so because they have  a personal stake….

It is only when the bill is passed, and there is only one copy, that we can see how the law actually stands…. 

Here is where we are:

There is a 7 out of 10 chance that you child will fail their assessment.  They will have to go into a remedial program or be held back one grade. That remedial program can be summer school, extended hours, or weekend classes.  No parent can refuse.  It is given the same legal status as holding a child out of school.  The child will be truant and all legal applications may be applied to that parent to ensure compliance. 

The cruel trick is that your child will be tested on being proficient on 3 grades in advance, and judged accordingly. If your child was proficient in 5th grade math last year, he will be judged on being proficient in 9th grade math this year…. Without being taught.  

That is the trick…  There is a 7 out of 10 chance your child will be remedially educated….  Be gentle,  It’s not his fault.  It is your legislator’s fault… No child should be held back for not passing material 3 grades in advance….

You see, some dummy had the idea that if you test people on stuff they don’t know, it will improve their education… Now isn’t that the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard?

 

It was one line in a long article….

“Everyone who is gung-ho and supports Common Core, is somehow financially connected to it’s implementation…..”

I was thinking… Why!  That is absolutely true…. I know of no parent who says “Common Core did my child good.”  I know no teacher who ever said: ” Common Core is awesome.”

Now.  Why is that?

 

 

TITLE 14

Education

Free Public Schools

CHAPTER 1. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Subchapter III. State Public Education Assessment and Accountability System

 

(d) The assessments required in subsections (b) and (c) of this section shall measure:

(1) Student performance as required by any federal mandate; and

(2) For grades 3 through 8, the academic progress of individual students.

(Note:  The assessment (required by any federal mandate) is the Smarter Balanced Assessment….)

(e) Notwithstanding any law or regulation to the contrary, matriculation and academic promotion requirements imposed by § 153 of this title shall be based upon the student’s assessment results received on assessments…

(Meaning, whether your child passes or fails his grade, will be determined solely by this test (provided of course if he does not have an IEP))

§ 152 State high school diploma requirements; certificate of performance.

(a) The Department of Education shall award a “State of Delaware High School Diploma” to a student graduating from a Delaware public high school.

(b) The Department shall award diplomas to students who:

(1) Successfully complete the prescribed course requirements established by the State, or the district, if district credit requirements are higher than those of the State; and

(2) Achieve proficient levels of performance, relative to the State high school content standards, on the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title in conjunction with other academic indicators as defined by Department regulations.

Meaning that a child must meet the state requirements AND must achieve the level of proficiency on the SBA (Smarter Balanced Assessments), a test set three grade levels higher than the current grade any student is in.

How could this have happened?  Because of the proprietary wall, no one really knew what the SBA was like when this was passed. Rushed through by Dave Sokola (SB 51) .    Most thought it was a test verifying the minimum level required for passage.  In such a case that bill would make sense.  Though what it actually does, is say your child cannot be promoted to the next grade if he does not pass a test pulled from the curriculum three grades ahead of him…  

“70% of Delawareans are expected to not meet proficiency…” on the SBA,’ says Delaware’s Secretary of Education, Mark Murphy.   Well, no wonder.  Look at the tests…   Professional adults cannot even pass them.  But there was a safety clause put in….

(c) A high school student who fails to achieve a proficient level of performance on the assessments pursuant to this section may retake the assessments each succeeding year they continue in high school….

The SBA is administered from 3-8, every year to every child.  What this appears to state is that a child who graduates and did not pass the 8th grade proficiency test, will not graduate.  He can try in 9th grade.  He can try in 10th grade.  He can try in the 11th grade.  He can try in the 12th grade.  And then, if he doesn’t pass, even though an A student otherwise, there is no option available.  We have a 12 year graduate who must take the 12th grade continuously until he passes the 8th grade proficiency test…

The problem is, with this test (and if you have not looked at them or taken them, then you have no right to comment, since whatever opinion you will express, will be changed once you’ve done so), that is a very real possibility.  Not so with the old tests.  But this one, yeah.

(d) The Department shall issue a Certificate of Performance to a student who has met the requirements of the student’s Individualized Education Program but has not completed the high school graduation course credit requirements established by the State,

Meaning your special education child, who currently can achieve a diploma by finishing his courses through his specialized program, will now be differentiated, culled out from regular humanity, by giving them a sticker that says “good job”.  No diploma though, even though they know more than regulars students but just are too challenged to perform the idiotic maneuvers required on this idiotic test… If you don’t think it is idiotic, here, try it… 

Now here is where it gets tricky….

§ 153 Matriculation and academic promotion requirements.

(b) The Department may approve other individual student indicators that may be used to determine a student’s performance relative to the state content standards. Such indicators shall:

(1) Provide a measure of individual student performance relative to the state content standards; and

(2) Include performance on district-administered assessments pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, performance on end-of-course assessments, student classroom work products, or classroom grades supported by evidence of student work that demonstrates a student’s performance level pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

Meaning though Section B allows that the Department “may”, and that is an important word… “may” approve other individual student indicators,  the AND at the end of line one, guarantees that whatever else is used, in must comply to the standards set in the future section of (e)…..  So let’s jump two steps forward and see what section (e) is really about….

(e) The Department shall identify and certify alternative assessments to determine whether students have reached the same proficient level of performance as is required on the reading and mathematics assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title. Any alternative assessment shall be equally rigorous, valid and reliable as the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title. Approval of any alternative assessment by the Department shall require the joint approval of the Secretary and the State Board of Education who shall issue written findings supporting the Department’s decision to approve an alternative assessment. Nothing contained in this subsection shall prevent an individual school district, with approval of the Department, from establishing alternative assessments to determine whether students have reached the same proficient level of performance required on the reading and mathematics assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title. Any alternative assessments proposed by an individual district shall, prior to approval, be found by the Department to be equally rigorous, valid and reliable as the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title. Approval of any alternative assessment by the Department shall require the joint approval of the Secretary and the State Board of Education, who shall issue written findings supporting the Department’s decision to approve an alternative assessment. Any district that receives such approval shall provide such continuing evidence of the alternative assessment’s reliability and validity as the Secretary and State Board of Education shall require to ensure compliance with this subchapter.

Basically is says to use any alternative other than the SBA a very high standard must be first met…  The Secretary and Department of Education have to approve for one.  Then the state board of education has to approve for two, and must take the time to issue written findings supporting their decision…

“Nothing contained in this subsection, however shall prevent an individual school district (read charter school) from establishing alternative assessments (different from the SBA) that meet the same levels set by the SBA… ” Though this was deemed as an alternative way to test students, it depends upon who is doing the asking… It is a subjective judgment by the Department of Education, rubber-stamped by the Board, on whether your school’s test is 3 grades higher than is current, or not…  The danger, is exactly what happened in Indiana which cost the former Secretary of Indiana’s education his newly acquired  job in Florida…  Arbitrary guidelines for those you want to favor, tough guidelines for those you want to punish.  They are capricious, and decided solely on the whim of the Secretary of Education… and can only be challenged by the State Board of Education… which is very unlikely to happen.

But for those who thought this bill was a method to get around the SBA, the new standards must meet the SBA level of difficulty. Which “unbeknownest to us then, and knownst to us now”, is 3 grade levels higher than what we have hitherto up to now, deemed proficient….. ( Again, see for yourselves…. )

Any alternative assessments proposed by an individual district shall, prior to approval, be found by the Department to be equally rigorous, valid and reliable as the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title. Approval of any alternative assessment by the Department shall require the joint approval of the Secretary and the State Board of Education, who shall issue written findings supporting the Department’s decision to approve an alternative assessment. Any district that receives such approval shall provide such continuing evidence of the alternative assessment’s reliability and validity as the Secretary and State Board of Education shall require to ensure compliance with this subchapter.

So the idea is still the same… they must meet SBA level of proficiency or not get a diploma.  A sticker like one gets at this pediatrician or family dentist’s office will have to do.

If most 99% of professionally employed adults cannot pass these tests, one can be assured those with disabilities, low income, and other issues, will have equally high failure levels.

So what happens to your child?

(1) A 3rd, 5th or 8th grade student whose performance on the reading portion of the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title is Below the Standard, Level II on the statewide assessment, shall not advance to the next grade…

(2) A 3rd, 5th or 8th grade student whose performance on the reading portion of the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title is Well Below the Standard, Level I on the statewide assessment, shall not advance to the next grade….

(3) An 8th grade student whose performance on the math portion of the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title is Below the Standard, Level II on the statewide assessment, shall not advance to the next grade…

(4) An 8th grade student whose performance on the math portion of the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title is Well Below the Standard, Level I on the statewide assessment, shall not advance to the next grade….

(5) With respect to a student whose performance continues to be deficient after completion of the retention year, the Department may not require that the student’s district retain the student at grade level for another year, but shall require that the district develop an individual improvement plan pursuant to Department regulations.

(6) For a student whose performance on the statewide assessment pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title at grade 6 or 7 in mathematics or grade 4, 6 or 7 in reading whose score assessment does not meet a proficient level of performance relative to the state content standards, the local school district shall, in consultation with the student’s parent or parents or guardian, develop an individual improvement plan…

(7) The Department may require school districts to undertake academic improvement activities…

And this is not based on passing a remedial test showing basic skills.  This is a test based on curriculum currently three grade levels ahead of what you and I learned in school;  ahead of what our older children all learned in school; and ahead of what all current children have so far learned  in school…  Common Core failed 70% in Kentucky.  Common Core failed 70% in New York, and it is predicted to fail 70% here in Delaware according to Mark Murphy himself….  Obviously our legislature will have to create a stop gap.  We simply don’t have room to fail 70% of our students and make them take their current grade over.  Or go to summer school.  But that is exactly what this bad law demands!

Because if one does not meet that unbelievably high bar set for students?

(f) School districts may require any student to participate in academic improvement activities specified for the student by the district in accordance with the Department rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this section or in accordance with the district’s own policies. A student who refuses to comply with a district requirement for participation in academic improvement activities shall be subject to the same disciplinary actions as for other acts of absenteeism or truancy.

Parents! Forget that family trip to Disney World next summer.  Forget your summer vacation plans.  Forget any control over your family’s life across any summer  in years to come… For at will, any administrator in any school, can dictate that your child attend remedial classes, provided they were one of the 70 % who were not deemed proficient on material tested 3 grades ahead….

Be gentle when you get your child’s SBA scores and remedial notices.  It is not your child who failed you.  It is your legislators. Their names…

Dave Sokola.

Darryl Scott.

Pete Schwartzkoph.

Valerie Longhurst.

Greg Lavelle.

Michael A. Barbieri

Patty Blevins

Debbie Hudson

Debbie Hefferman

Harris McDowell

Bob Marshall

And to be fair, there are those who in vain, voted to derail this process… giant heroes seeing this whole schennigan as a flawed and dangerous piece of legislation.  These need your support so much this fall…

Paul Baumbach

John Kowalko

Charles Potter

James Johnson

Helene Keeley

Bryan Townsend

Ernie Lopez

Bob Venables

Gerald Hocker

Colin Bonini

Brian Pettyjohn

David Lawson

Cathy Cloutier

Gary Simpson

Andria Bennet

Stephanie Bolden

Mike Mulrooney

Kim Williams

 

You should never vote for someone who hurts children. Whether blinded by business, lobbyists, or in search of a personal bond with this administration, there is no excuse for hurting children….

Disrupting a family’s trip to Disney World over something so arbitrary and pointless and ridiculous, is grounds for being thrown out of office….

Only you can do it. Get busy.

 

 

 

“Remember how supporters of the Core used to tell us all the time that these standards were written by teachers? All. The. Time. Do you know why they’ve stopped saying that? Because it’s not true, and at this point, most everybody knows it’s not true. The “significant” teacher input, the basis in solid research — all false. When someone is trying to sell you medicine and they tell you that it was developed by top doctors and researchers and you find out it wasn’t and they have to switch to, “Well, it was developed by some guys who are really interested in mediciney stuff who once were in a doctor’s office” — it just reduces your faith in the product.

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