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just in from Education Excellence.

A Charter School with a failure rate and worse scores than the 6 priority schools being converted over to private control in Wilmington, was just awarded as a Blue Ribbon School

It is worse than these “terrible” schools in Wilmington….. but hey!….this school is now designated a Blue Ribbon School!

If “they”…. can possibly stretch the myth that Charter Schools can educate poor blacks while public schools can’t, maybe there will be hope for the Bank of America building full of inner city children after all!

It should be easy to distort the truth they must have assumed….. No one ever looks at a school’s scores?

We are holding teachers to be accountable. We certainly are holding students to be accountable…  There is even discussion out there to hold parents accountable for how their children behave in school.

So how does the Department of Education get off scot-free for it’s poor performance? How does $110 million dollars get spent in four years on consulting fees, with not one penny going to improvements that apply to students?  How do Charter Schools get unlimited freedom to destroy the educational ability of our inner city children, while public schools get bullied with punishment after punishment?  How with $110 million being spent on Common Core, have Delaware average scores been flat the last three years running?  How does $1.69 million get spent for Vision of (year changes daily) which is a private group that sits around drinking coffee and if the inclination hits, type a few things on their blog?

Why have we not had smaller class sizes?  Why have we not hired more teachers?  Why did we not put a million dollars per year per school to these schools 3 years ago, if they were a priority then?

Here is the answer…  This DOE, this administration doesn’t give one damn about inner city children.  But oh, how they do care for the giant charter school complex in the Bank of America building… That giant complex of charters cannot perform as well as public schools.  That giant complex will suck up state money with no results, except that dead property now will  then be collecting rent.  That giant complex cannot muster enough students to sign up to attend and now stands to be economically unprofitable, because, well,….they just can’t compete on the higher level as does public education when the two are pitted together on a level playing field…

Make no mistake.  The only reason these schools are failing and the only reason they are being picked apart with unjust, unfair, and unreasonable criticism, is for the financial gain of those owning that building that sits at the corner of King and 11 Street.  Those controlling education at our top, want these students to go there….

Therefore this entire charade was contrived to stock Wilmington with Charter Schools. Charter schools which cannot compete in intellectual capacity, and thereby dooming these public schools (the unchosen opponent of these charter schools) to sabotage, strictly in order to allow an even contest to ever begin…

What we see is the direct attempt to sabotage all the competition of the new Charter Complex prior to their opening,  in order to mess up public schools so much, so completely, so disparagingly that parents will look to charter as perhaps the better of the two evils…

That is all that is going on here.  Putting inner city children at risk for rent money… The Public needs to demand resignations, it needs to demand more funding, and it needs to demand that their legislators start listening to them, their constituents, and to stop trusting a gym teacher, sucked into Rodel, groomed to be a spokesperson for the high rollers of Wilmington, then thrust into the Department of Education to undertake the destruction of its public schools…

Children are of no consequence here… It is rent money driving this conversation.  Unless of course, you grab your legislator by the ear, and tell him/her in no uncertain terms he/she is to never listen to this administration again, unless it is first approved by you.

The top… needs to be held accountable… If it doesn’t work with the tiny few at the top…. how in the hell is accountability going to work with the masses on the bottom?

Before any of you buy into this Administration’s, Secretary Murphy’s and DOE’s false assertion that they are trying to improve the educational experience for the “high poverty”, “inner-city” schools by offering roughly $200,000 per year to six schools (not a penny of which will actually reach the children) ask yourselves and then ask this Administration why massive funding cuts that eliminated so many programs that were geared to allow for student achievements, improvements and survival were not restored.

It is the height of arrogance and hypocrisy to pretend to create a program helping students avoid the need for collegiate remedial courses when the money necessary to fund “Reading Resource Teachers” (Gov. Minner’s excellent initiative) and “Math Specialists” has been eliminated in public schools to the tune of $12.5 million.

To also promote advisory boards to examine needs of poverty ridden schools and inner-city schools while continuing to deliberately ignore the poverty epidemic in this State and refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of smaller class sizes, (not bigger and more bloated & higher paid leadership) is unconscionable propaganda that is insensitive to the reality of the plight of the children.

If the DOE wishes to establish a priority, please join me to establish the funding for more class sizes and the funding for it, should be the “high” priority.

The MOU should go into a shredder to save the Department of Education staff further embarrassment.

(abridged version)

I will be brief which I know is a change from the way we have our “nice discussions”.

As a proud product of Christina School district, a graduate of Christina High School, and a graduate of Stubbs Elementary, I just want to express today that I urge you to vote to reject the proposed Memorandum of Understanding.  i think there is no doubt that we need to do a much better job of serving the students in all of our schools.

I think there is a lot to discuss in regards to how these schools were identified and the validity of the various tests that we subject our students to, but for the purpose of  tonight I’m not looking into getting into that, because I think it is  important that elected officials do a much better job of what I think was not done here, which is to listen to folks in the schools, listen to the lay leaders, listen to the parents, listen to the teachers, dare I say listen to even the students perhaps?

Because that has not seemed to be done here, this plan seems to have been announced (perhaps with the best intentions), I think in that way this falls short of engagement in a very direct way with the teachers, the school leaders, the parents, the students, and I believe the only way we are going to get where we should go as a school system, is to have that kind of collaboration.

I wholeheartedly urge the board to reject the MOU and to reach out of hand to the Department of Education with an offer to meet and collaborate on a plan that is very nuanced and very targeted for our schools on what is actually happening in our schools, and I can think of no better point to illustrate that than to note that of the  three principals of the three Christina Schools that are now priority schools, One is in his first year, his very first year, a few weeks in the building now. One is in his second year, and one is in his third year now, as I understand it.

And to announce a plan that would basically say to these new three leaders, without explaining in any way, shape, or form what these leaders have or have not done, that are currently in these schools, at the very least shows, an unwillingness, an inability , or perhaps just forgetting to engage with the schools about what is actually going on.

So I think there are a lot of good questions that will come of this process, but I think that it needs to start with a real conversation and dialogue, and not agree to an MOU which in my mind would certainly impose restrictions and requirements on the district,  in a way, which doesn’t seem narrated by individual, targeted investigation analysis of what’s going on

As always, I’m happy to take questions, but I’m also happy too to sit down and listen to what others have to say, and to be a resource for the board and for the schools, students, parents, teachers as we try to have more effective ideas come out of Dover.

{Applause:  (quick, turn down volume}

Board: Thank you very much Senator.

Tonight we will hear about achievement gaps… People will pontificate “not enough is being done”. These poor children will suffer …(if we don’t make them suffer even more because that is what education reformers do)…..

Michelle Rhee promised great changes in Washington.  We had to be tougher; we had to fire teachers who were not raising standards; and if we just physically smashed learning 24/7 into poor black’s and Hispanic’s heads, we could close the achievement gap…..and we had to pay the leaders exorbitant salaries.  That is how you got talent in the door the was good enough to close the achievement gap.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tossed to me
I will beat them over the head with tests so hard they will shriek for mercy!

Did it work?  It’s been 6 years.  One would think it did, because here tonight, in Wilmington, we will have the exact same crowd (charter schools) stacking a meeting to turn public schools over to charters, saying the exact same things Michelle Rhee did years ago….

Question is… did it work?

blacks don't achieve dickHispanics don't achieve dickhispanics don't achieve any dickhisp

As we can see, just as soon as the erasures stopped, the diversion from the goal began… The cheating scandal is responsible for the first two marks, showing too perfect alignment.  The rest took place once Michelle left with her big erasure,

Wilmington must stand guard…  Re-eating Michelle’s leftovers could give our city one major case of  Dia Rhee A……..

Although the darling of Wall Street, there are issues in given K12 control of our schools.

The breakneck speed at which these privitized schools have taken off, often with little oversight, has led to scandals. Since 2013, the FBI has investigated more than five charter schools in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and beyond on suspicion that management has misplaced or stolen funds. In Florida, a state with famously lenient rules for operating charters and among the highest concentration for-profit K through 12 schools, the Miami Herald has reported on a continuing laundry list of poorly run charters: students going weeks without textbooks, class attendance sheets faked, and children charged illegal fees for standard courses. In a growing phenomenon, another Florida for-profit company, Academica, earned over $19 million a year by charging leasing fees to public school land already owned by its charter schools.

Does free market competition ensure accountability in education by turning bad operators into economic losers? That’s what privatizers claim, but the record so far suggests otherwise.

K12 Inc., the for-profit charter behemoth that enrolls 123,259 students, went public in 2007 with the help of Moe’s previous investment firm, and has since been a darling of Wall Street. In January of this year, students from Newark Prep Charter School, which is K12 Inc.-operated, joined executives from the company to ring in the bell of the New York Stock Stock Exchange. In Moe’s revolutionary manifesto, K12 Inc. is listed as among the businesses he considers the “special forces” that will remake the education landscape.

The rising revenues of K12 Inc. have been matched by poor performance. In the 2010-2011 school year, only 27.7 percent of K12 Inc.-operated schools met the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standard, far below the 52 percent average of brick and mortar public schools. An investigation in Colorado, where K12 Inc. has been ejected from several school districts, found that nearly half of online students left within a year, and when those students returned to brick and mortar schools, they were further behind academically than when they started. Similar investigations in Florida and Ohio found K12 Inc. teachers instructing classes without certification and instructing online classes of over 250 students.

Part of K12’s problem seems to be that it skimps on special education spending and employs few instructors, despite having lower overhead than brick-and-mortar schools,

In several states, K12 Inc.-operated virtual charter schools have faced a backlash because of poor performance and high drop-out rates. In July, Tennessee’s education commissioner announced the closure of the Tennessee Virtual Academy, K12 Inc.’s affiliate school, at the end of the 2014-2015 school year because of the charter’s failure to score above the state’s lowest level of academic achievement. Last month, Pennsylvania’s Agora Cyber Charter School, the largest school managed by K12 Inc., voted to consider ending its relationship with the company after revelations that the school allegedly manipulated attendance sheets and performance data in an attempt to conceal incredibly high rates of student turnover.

Still, despite wave after wave of negative press, K12 Inc. figures as a solid investment opportunity to many. Baird Equity Research, in a giddy note to investors this year about the potential growth of K12 Inc., noted, “capturing just two million (3.5%) of the addressable market yields a market opportunity of approximately $12 billion … Over the next three years, we believe that the company is capable of 7%+ organic revenue growth with modest margin expansion.” How will it achieve this growth? According to Baird, K12 Inc.’s “competency in lobbying in new states” is “another key point of differentiation.” The analyst note describes “K12’s success in working closely with state policymakers and school districts to enable the expansion of virtual schools into new states or districts” as a key asset. “The company has years of experience in successfully lobbying to get legislation passed to allow virtual schools to operate,” Baird concludes.

So basically Wall Street gloats,  privatized education will achieve it’s profits the old fashioned American way; lying, stealing, and public graft.

K12 Inc.’s spectactular growth over the years stems largely from the extraordinary amount the company spends on lobbying ($447,850 in 2012) , as well as on marketing and advertising, with promises in some areas that enrollment comes with a free computer. USA Today found that the company spent $21.5 million on advertising in the first eight months of 2012. The company sponsors billboards, radio advertisements, and spots on children’s cable television.

That is $21.5 million NOT BEING SPENT ON KIDS!

K12 Inc.’s lobbyists helped author model legislation to develop sweeping voucher laws through the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that provides state lawmakers with template legislation. Though state by state lobbying figures are difficult to come by, given the patchwork of varying laws, K12 Inc. has hired dozens of local officials to ensure that these voucher laws are quickly passed with few amendments. “We have incurred significant lobbying costs ($1,265,143) in several states,” K12 Inc. noted in a filing with the SEC. “The stockholders benefit from those students’ enrollments, but the students get stuck with a lousy education that will follow them the rest of their lives,” says Jeff Bryant, the director of the Education Opportunity Network.

Upcoming will be talk of organizing a bipartisan campaign to persuade 2016 presidential candidates to sign onto a statement of principles endorsing charters and other education innovations. The pledge also calls for the federal government to create new tax incentives for spending on education companies akin to a health savings accounts.

The scheme works like this:  you will pay much more for charters than you currently pay for public education, but the Federal Government will eat that extra cost and give you a rebate back for the difference.  Your overall costs stay the same; private companies grow, and the Federal Government borrows more debt money that one day we must tighten our belts tighter when forced to pay it back.  And for their largess, you get below substandard results for your higher investment.

The results are not there.  Charter Schools are only better than their public school counterparts 17% of the time… They are worse than their public school counterparts, 37% of the time.  The balance, 44%, are exactly the same as what we now have with public schools…  Privatization means paying a lot more… for nothing. (except making someone rich off your public money.)

So as we get told of the rosy picture which privatization will give our students at Warner, Shortlidge, Highlands, Stubbs, Bancroft, and Bayard, let us remember that is exactly what a used car salesman says when he is selling you a Hurricane Sandy underwater car…….

Self promoters are the absolutely very last people you can ever, ever trust…. 

Every objective eye put to privatization of public entities, has showed that privatization only benefits the investor.  It does nothing for the customer; it does nothing for “We, the people”, it does nothing for society at large, and it always, always, always, comes back to hurt our wallet….

One does not have to look hard to see its signs… Just yesterday for example in an opinion piece sponsored by the Delaware Chamber of Commerce one can see the values being corrupted… In statements made by our own Governor and Secretary of Education, and his former employer, Rodel, rise the taints of a new objective for public schooling….

“This region needs a strong system of public education to attract and keep businesses, to prepare our future workforce for the new and greater challenges of a more competitive world.”

Public education is to prepare our future workforce…

Raising expectations for our students to be ready for college or career is critical

to be ready for college or career

what they believed to be the most important issue for our future: preparing students for a 21st century global economy and a more diverse world.

preparing students for a 21st century global economy….

So you say, what is wrong with that?  I didn’t say anything was wrong necessarily, but let me show you why and for what public education was envisioned and created.

“The ultimate result of the whole scheme of education would be the teaching all the children of the state reading, writing, and common arithmetic: turning out [several] annually of superior genius, well taught in Greek, Latin, geography, and the higher branches of arithmetic: turning out…others annually, of still superior parts, who, to those branches of learning, shall have added such of the sciences as their genius shall have led them to. — Thomas Jefferson

Absolutely nothing about  commerce, jobs, or workforce.

that even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large,…- Thomas Jefferson

Absolutely nothing about  commerce, jobs, or workforce. It’s purpose was to protect against tyranny,

Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.–  Horace Mann

Absolutely nothing about  commerce, jobs, or workforce. It’s purpose was to equalize the conditions of men.

A human being is not attaining his full heights until he is educated.–  Horace Mann

Absolutely nothing about  commerce, jobs, or workforce. It’s purpose was raise the quality of man.

Education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.  John Dewey.

Not a preparation for future living.


As these quotes convey, those originators who developed the idea of a public education had little concern or care for the future benefits of their top 1%.  But today, our top 1% is interfering with education like never before.  And in doing so, they have corrupted the entire purpose with which we first stepped out into the promise of educating every man woman and child…

Basically what we are being told, is that instead of themselves training their employees on their own dime, they want it done on the public’s.

How does knowing what the word Practicioner is, going to help a person get a high paying job?  When they could always use person who practices a profession or art in its place?

Why is an excessive focus on English and Math so necessary for living in tomorrows world?   All one does is say:  Siri: what the tangent of 35 degrees?  Pity the poor education person who gets fired because he takes pencil and paper to answer that question while his co-employee asks his phone.

But that very focus… is taking away from the other aspects of education that make living far better for all.

Only nine states require students to pass a social studies test to graduate from high school.  With school cutbacks, the Internet distracting students, and the disappearance of traditional newspapers and TV news shows that subjectively distort information, youngsters have become increasingly disengaged from civic and political life, experts say.  Those under the age of 25 are less likely to vote than were their elders or younger people in previous decades.

We have directly harmed the very reason we began public education.  To make citizens wary of tyranny.

Only a quarter of young people reach “proficient” on the NAEP Civics Assessment. Preparing citizens to be voters, jurors, and members of their communities was the original purpose of public schools

Don’t cut arts, music, sports, recess, field trips, debate teams, or other programs in order to align with the Common Core. Nothing is more core than a child’s interest and passion. A well-balanced, broad curriculum that meets the needs of each child is a much better bet for your children’s future than one devoted to two subjects standardized and prescribed by people who have no knowledge of your community or your children.

So why are we pursuing this course to our own destruction?  Most likely because with the past Depression, we are jumpy and they are not.  They see this as an opportunity to will their way onto education….

Simply put, if you used to study 12 subjects and now only concentrate on 2, you may become better workers and subjugate yourselves to their authority, but you certainly won’t benefit them any more than you would had you had a wider view of the world.

Business and education don’t mix.  Education must not become part of the business regime.  If business is bust’n loose on education, it means business is far too big for its britches and they must be broken up.  Our nation’s very being is at risk.  And always has been since it was created.  Each time before, our citizens stepped up and we survived. Today, the threat is money and power too big for even our government to counteract against it.  We are no different in that regard than Paraguay, or Somalia, or the land of the Hunger Games.

Citizens who can control their government, are the only recourse we have as a nation to preserve this noble great experiment that started 238 years ago.  If we don’t get off this kick of ruining eduction to make more money for our masters, we are going to lose our country… If we do away with Common Core, and other nations keep it, we will be the ones THEY envy, and not the other way around.

Just look to all the RTTT money spent here if you want your answer… How did these exact same guys spend a free 100 million dollars?

This is exactly what you will get if the MOU’s are agreed to this Tuesday (today)…  You get the same…

People don’t change… You will get the same…. The rich will get richer, and the poor student’s scores will get poorer…..

But: the first step is not accepting the MOU;  for only then will the Dept. of Labor negotiate in earnest…  Right now, they and their cronies are simply salivating on how to spend every property tax dollar they get.

Less effective spending than was done in the Minner administration is the second cause of low test scores.  (The first cause is the implementation of Common Core and redo of tests).

A.  Since 2008, yearly funding for education has decreased by these amounts.

  • Reading Resource Teachers                    $9,413,500
  • Math Specialists                                           $3,071,700
  • Limited English Proficiency Grant          $1,625,000
  • Technology Block Grant                            $1,354,000
  • School Based Discipline Program          $8,213,900
  • Tax Relief Allocation                                  $17,549,500
  • Academic Excellence Allotment               $4,595,600
  • Early Time Programs                                $10,428,000
  • Tuition Reimbursement                             $1,100,000
  • Teacher Cadre and Mentoring                $1,128,400

Total State Program Eliminations              $58,497,600

B.  Further reductions in State funds since 2008:

  • Division II AOC Unit Value                      $3,274,020
  • Division II Energy Value                          $2,455,515
  • Professional Development Funding  $1,300,000

Total Further State Fund Reductions      $7,029,535

C.  Costs Shifted From State Funding to Local Funding:

Shift of 10% Transportation Costs              $7,133,800

Annual Local Cost for OEC Rate Increase $ 6,771,020

Annual Local Cost for Unit Growth              $21,587,400

Total Costs Shifted State To Local                $35,492,220

Against the backdrop of the total of these three subtotals:  $101,019,355 of the yearly money taken away from day-to-day educational costs, $27,425,100 was returned under the budget line “Educational Sustainment Fund”;  meaning our schools currently run on a deficit-of-less-state-money each year to the tune of $73,594,255.

Against this deficit, they want to spend $0.25 million in each partnership school per year, the bulk going to pay a leader they will pick and pay $0,16 million per year salary.

So when you starve schools by $73,594,255 million dollars a year, and they still keep scores up despite the new disastrous curriculum of Common Core,  what you have is rather great system over which any other corporate executive would  be exceedingly proud…. 

It is not the teachers fault.  It is not the student’s fault.  It is not the parent’s fault… If anything it is poverty’s fault and the only way to move the needle there, is to enact programs that employ more people earning higher wages lasting lifetimes and to stop catering only to the profits of the top one percent as being the only thing important….

Which means tax these people at a fairer higher rate:

Rod Ward III is Corporation Service Company president and CEO. Rob Buccini is The Buccini/Pollin Group, Inc. co-president. Chris Buccini is The Buccini/Pollin Group, Inc. co-president. Nick Marsini is PNC Bank Delaware regional president. Chip Rossi is Bank of America Delaware market president. Mark Stellini is Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, chair, board of directors. :)

And not force the accumulation of their largess directly upon the backs of inner city children learning to read and write, add, subtract, multiply, and divide.

In Delaware, people making billions ($400,000,000,000) per year, are taxed at rates just as low as those making one single penny more than barely $59,999.99 a year…  That has to change. We need higher tax rates for billionaires.

That extra money (roughly $70,000,000) per year, should then be spent on:

  • 11:1 Student Teacher Ratios in all schools k-5 (and 9th Grade) with >50% reduced lunch.
  • Grouping like-students together in groups of 11 based on  the similarity of their testing scores so they all can learn at the same pace.
  • Making each teacher accountable for each of those 11 students to achieve growth results.
  • Removing all accountability from the yearly standardized testing mechanism and use the Smarter Balanced as diagnostic tool only.

And if the Chamber of Commerce scoffs at this now-accepted necessary required changes, we know they were only trying to score “political points”, and don’t really give a damn about any children at all.

A recently-penned opinion was carried in the News Journal yesterday.  It came out in favor of the takeover by the state of 6 schools.  As I said in the line above, it is an “opinion piece”, meaning simply it is someone’s “opinion”.  Perhaps they are looking for more money… Whatever they state, isn’t fact.

Except for this sentence: focus on the children.  So that is what we are going to do and by that show exactly why we should not privatize these schools.  We will look at this statement first:  The fact that less than 50 percent of the children in those schools can read and write on grade level should be a clarion call for action.

That sentence has several parts and they all hinge on this one phrase:  “at grade level….” How is that correlation determined?  Is it decided by working with that student for a full year and then giving him a pass or fail?  Oh you say it is determined by a test!  A test?

Yes. A single test determines whether a student is capable of being considered proficient in English… That might be ok if the test was something like this:  what is a bus?  what is a car: something children would know.  Wasn’t that how you in high school when taught a language that was not English, received your grades on tests?  But let us see what these kids are really being tested on?

Here is the reading assignment:

Little Liang lived in China a long time ago. When he turned seven, his
father said, “Tomorrow you will start school and learn to write.”
“No, thank you,” said Little Liang. “I like playing outside better.”
“School tomorrow, my boy. Not another word from you.”
So the next morning Little Liang went off to school, writing brush in hand.
His teacher showed him how to make one stroke to write the number one.
“This is easy,” said Little Liang.
The next day he learned to make two strokes to write the number two.
“Well,” he said, “who needs to go to school? I’ll bet I can write the
number three all by myself.”
Sure enough, on the third day of school, the teacher wrote “three” on the
paper just the way he expected.
“That’s all the learning I need!” said Little Liang. He sneaked out of school
and went looking for birds in the woods.
The next day he left home with his schoolbag. But he didn’t go to school.
“I know all there is to know,” he said. “I’ll just go fishing.” Off he walked to
the river.
On the way he met Old Mr. Wan.
“Why aren’t you in school today, Little Liang?”
“I know all there is to know, Mr. Wan.”
“That’s wonderful,” said the old man. “I myself never learned many
characters. Will you help me write a letter to my son?”
Little Liang went to Mr. Wan’s house. He took his brush and ink from his
“I’ll write the address first. What’s your son’s name?”
“Wan Bai Qian.”
In Chinese, “wan” means ten thousand, “bai” means one hundred, and
“qian” means one thousand.
Little Liang began to make brush strokes. One, two, three, four, five . . .
ten . . . fifteen . . . twenty . . . thirty.
Soon his hand hurt from so much writing.
“Look how many strokes I’ve made! Why is your son’s name Mr. Ten
Thousand instead of Mr. One?”
“I’m so sorry, Little Liang. Why don’t you use my hair comb? You can dip
it in the ink and make many lines at once.”
Just then the schoolteacher walked past the door. He heard the name
“Little Liang.” He looked inside and saw a boy writing with a comb.
“What have we here?” he asked.
“I’m writing Mr. Wan’s name.”
The teacher picked up the brush and made three strokes.
“This is the way to write the number ten thousand,” he said.
“Only three strokes?” Little Liang’s face got as red as a cherry.
“Only three strokes,” said the teacher.



Click on image to enlarge:

With all your adult knowledge, answer those two questions?

If you were a child, it could very well be A… The little boy was on his way to go fishing, and instead, because the old man needed help, he didn’t go, but went in to help the old man; he never got to fish after all.  How many of us would have done that instead of saying : “sorry old man, can’t do; goin’ fishing!” ? So A is a very good option….

Why not B? The task should have been simple.  Just write a letter. But no, it was demanding.  He didn’t give up but doggedly dove in and tried putting 10,000 marks to paper because he’d committed himself to helping. But he didn’t give up.  He didn’t go back on his word.  He promised and fulfilled his promise. So B is a very good answer to the child taking this test.

And C?  It sounds most like what a test answer should sound like;  doesn’t it?  Something promoting hard work and calling that a success?  But the only hard work involved came from the non-successful depiction of the word ten-thousand… Even the teacher wasn’t working… Really?  Why in the hell, was he wandering the streets in the middle of a school day?  Was anyone watching the other children?   Must have been a TFA teacher; no work ethic there.

And D?  Really?  There is always more to learn?  Doesn’t that sound weak?  Like duh, yeah there is always more to learn, but no written line at the end of the story says “there is always more to learn?”. But yet that sort is what the story is about, but nah, that is too far off and sounds too light to be the answer for this big  important test….

Pretend you are a little kid who lives in the hood, has never been out of Wilmington in your life… which of these four values will you pick?

This is not a test on English… This is a psychological test.  It is no different than an ink-block test.. Something so amorphous that when people look at it and try to define what they see, they input their own sentiments and determine the outcome.  If one holds being  of assistance to be highly desirable, to them A is the definite answer. If another has siblings that will never, ever help him when he asks, in this story he is seeing that helping a stranger is the most moving part of this story. He will chose B.  And isn’t hard work what the Chamber of Commerce and Republicans say is what causes one to receive the ample rewards they do?  C makes the most sense, even if it isn’t supported by the text.  And it could also be D, saying there are always more ways to learn… But who has time to even worry about everything out there one could possibly learn?  When you enter kindergarten with a 5000 word vocabulary and others have 20,000 word vocabularies, that there is always more that can be learned is a given… More importantly to them, is learning how to get by on what they have. Where is the class that teaches that?

So which would you choose?  Now, why did you choose that one?  Would you have chosen that one if you were 8 years old?  You see, these tests do not test English at all.. To test English, you say first read this passage…

“You must be 21 to enter here… ”  

Ok, bud, can you tell me what it says?

“It says I have to be 21 to come inside here…”

Ok, bud, you can read….

Reading is about understanding… It is not about “guessing” what some unknown stranger wants you to guess, who makes it as tricky and as hard as possible to answer. Questions like these are like the old questions at polls; the ones they used to keep black people in the South from voting…


Click for larger image.

What is your answer here…  “red as a cherry”…  first of all, does the text say why he was as red as a cherry?  it doesn’t.. Damn it. We have to guess.  Second of all, has anyone seen red cherries lately?  I just realized all the ones I’ve seen across these past two summers in ShopRite were bing cherries.  A child in Wilmington probably has never seen a cherry, much less a red one; it’s not on school lunch, and their closest association with it would be with the purplish bing cherries featured on diet Cherry Coke, or cherry Dr. Pepper.  Even when you go through the Taco Bell Drive in, their cherry frozen drink is deep purple…  Red as a cherry?  That is confusing…  Red as purple, huh?… these kids must really wonder what is the author is trying to say?

But the boy’s face was red… Obviously any kid would be embarrassed… Hell, any adult making a similar mistake would be totally embarrassed…  BUT THAT IS NOT AN OPTION! Damn, more guessing.

Would he be upset?  Answer A? Well a little, but not enough to get red in the face.  Would he be worried?  Answer B. Hell yes… What if the teacher tells the whole class and they all laugh at him?  I’d be sick for a week so I wouldn’t have to go back… Darn right I’d be worried….  Would he be happy about what he’d learned?  Answer C?  Well he might be. Now he has a reason to go back to school! There is more to learn… When people get really happy, their faces do get red… especially when the grown ups have parties with their friends and stay up late, all giggling and acting silly.  Faces are very red by then… But, if all you’ve known are brown skins.. do you even know what a red face is supposed to mean?  Have you ever seen one?  Like on really dark skin?  Like on someone whose genes come from Ghana? And I would think so… Hopefully he hopes to learn some more tricks…. I mean, what kid wouldn’t….

Again, this is an aptitude test… There are four correct answers.  The one you chose reflects YOUR personality… The answer is not explicitly written in the text…  No where in the text does it say “why” the boys face reddened…  So how does that teach English? When all you test is on what ISN’T there?


So how are we determining whether or not these children can read?  My making them guess for answers that are not in the text!  What is truly amazing is that no adults get the right answer on these tests, but we are closing schools and shaming students for their inability to do the same!  We are turning public schools into charter schools because impoverished black children have never seen a real cherry…

White people; affluent people, suburban people, have all see books that have red cherries in them… what if you’ve never seen a book?

Bottom line, is this is not a reading test but an interpretation test.  And it is highly slanted against Blacks and Hispanics…

Lol… Imagine Markell’s son, (Charter School of Wilmington) having to read a passage like this and answer questions to represent his school???

“Yo, these jauns is tight son!..Yah… I know I’m just a wallet for my gold digging whore, but she’s damn good in bed so I’ll keep her around for now. Joy Ride a ford escort. ‘Yo, where da green at?’ I get my dope straight off a brick. Empty out, reloaded and throw more slugs…”

A.  Is this person happy or sad?

B.  Is his day going well or rather poorly?

C.  What advice would you give this speaker?

D.  What is he talking about (not a women) when he says his whore is good in bed?

Yeah… I don’t think Charter School of Wilmington would be in the top ten schools in the country if tests were made like this… But I bet Bayard Middle School would be right up there….

These standardized tests are made up in Chicago and reflect the thought processes and language of the Midwest.  There is a reason inner city people do poorly on them, and since they can interpret the passage directly above and Markell’s son can’t, they aren’t stupid..  There is a reason Hispanics in Southern California do poorly on them… Hell, there is even a reason white Southerners whose dialect has closer traits to Kings English that these German interpretations in the Midwest found on the tests, do a lot poorly in English.  And, people in England, who take the Germanic influenced Midwest styled American tests do rather poorly on them as well. Are we to say, they don’t know English? Ha!

The reason is not in what you read.  But how your value system is when asked to determine out of four truisms, which of the four is the “most” true…

You can’t measure English on a Standardized test… But can these children read?  Yes. for the most part they can.  Can these children do basic math?  Yes. for the most part they can.  So it is rather evil to say because Wilmington inner city children do poorly on a test written in Chicago dialect, the same test smart southern whites do poorly on, or smart English people; we have to close their school, let someone make a profit off of them as a charter, and then accept they still will do poorly on that same test written in Chicago dialect…

To get better test grades you can go over the answers and try to get them to understand that what they are being tested on is a foreign language to them, and so they had better work 3 times harder than a Wisconsin cheese-head to get the same answer… It is just completely unfair to these kids to be held accountable to a test which no teacher prepares, no teacher has seen until it is sprung, and for which no teacher can prepare …. and hold schools, teachers, and districts accountable…

If so, then hold Markell’s son accountable for speaking street….

That said, despite what the Chamber of Commerce tries to say, kids in Warner are doing alright.  They are improving and not going backwards…  Their teachers are highly effective.

They will never be as good as Wilmington Charter, but then, they enter school without the advantageous that Wilmington Charter students had growing up in affluent families. The English being taught is a second language to them, not is the same one they learned when their ears first heard sounds of people talking.

They may be smarter than Wilmington Charter… We just aren’t comparing apples to apples here….

The other points in the opinion piece deserve posts of their own… State school money has been taken away since 2008,  Schools are working with less money directly impacting students, not more. If you truly want quality schools, then you need to use a new approach, 11:1 student teacher ratios, and have each teacher work with each of those 11 closely to get them to understand what they need to know…

When you have a test no adult can answer correctly, the low scores are because of the idiotic test. Not the students…

And this was a third grade question; asking 8 year olds to think like adults who’ve gone to college and worked for 10+ years…  Common Core is both stupid and dangerous. Nothing substantial can be evaluated with these tests.  Nothing.


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