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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

T

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

So he decided to make one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They came up with a plan…

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

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

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

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

They talked among themselves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20 U.S. Code § 6311 – State plans

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

*(3) Academic assessments

(C) Requirements

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

(C) Requirements

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

(C) Requirements

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

Dear Jack Markell and Mark Murphy:

In your own letter you begin with this:

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

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

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

Sincerely:

If your public school mandated that all graduates need to jump a 6 foot high bar in order to pass, would you simply let them go through with it, or would you opt them out?

If your public school mandated that all graduates needed to perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto Number 3, with only 7 errors or not graduate, would you simply let them go through with it, or would you opt out?

If your public school mandated that all graduates needed to dance the first half of the Swan Lake ballet perfectly in order to graduate, would you simply let them go through with it, or would you opt out?

If your public school mandated that all graduates needed to memorize the Koran in order to graduate, would you simply let them go through with ti, or would you opt out?

If your public school mandated that all graduates needed to recite back the 5th Chapter of Hitler’s Mein Kempf in order to graduate, would you simply let them go through with it, or would you opt out?

If your public school mandated that the final exam must be answered in Ukraine, would you simply let them go through with it, or would you opt out?

On the same scale but with different topics, this is what is being asked of every Delaware child this spring….  Can you meet the super high bar we have set for you?  Because if you don’t, you will fail; your teachers will lose their jobs; and your schools, whether Gateway Charter, Moyer, Warner, Shortlidge, Bancroft, Bayard, Highlands, or that other one, will be shut down and sold off to the highest bidder in a closed auction.

The test is designed to fail 70% of students….  If all the students miraculously do very well, the curve still stands: 70% will fail… If all the students unsurprisingly do very poorly, the curve still stands:  70% will fail… It is fore-ordained.

Your child has a 7 in one chance of failing… Not because he is not smart… His brain capacity does not change… No, he is being failed over an administrative action…  “WE HAVE TOO MANY CHILDREN PASSING…. RAISE THE STANDARDS HIGHER SO FEWER CAN MOVE ON.”

A two-tiered educational system is being created out of the burned out hulls of our public schools. Those who are given the “cheats” ( two educated parents, lots of early brain development, 5000 word vocabularies at age 5, reading and math games from age 1 to age 5)… versus everyone else.  If you can think like the test makers want you to think, you will pass and advance to become one of the future privileged.  But if you had immigrant parents, one parent, or one guardian, were poor, had no books, imprinted on an English accent other then the King’s tongues, then too bad.  You were deemed stupid.  The super-hard test says so. No good jobs for you.  McDonald’s is hiring.

So instead of giving every student an equal opportunity, the Smarter Balance Assessment will cull out only those who have been privileged, and leave absolutely all others in squalor. This is why it must be stopped.  If it goes through, many children will undeservingly be left behind… In fact, all except the fortunate 30%, will cease to develop further and never be given the equal opportunity our forefathers hoped all citizens could rise to achieve.

This Smarter Balanced Assessment was never discussed with the public… It’s implications are mostly unknown to the majority of Americans without school aged children.   It is just one more prong to establish an elite among American citizens.

If your child or grandchild would fail any of the requirements offered in jest above, there is a very good likelihood he is going to fall into the 70%….

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How to stop this.

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A good example is to study Prohibition.  That too was caused by a handful of temperance radicals (who through trickery) sneaked through the act of Prohibition, foisting it upon millions of Americans who woke up one day and went… “Huh?”

“Fvck it” (the Latin version) they said, and like low speed limits and anti-hand cell phone legislation, decided en masse not only to disobey it, but flaunt their disobedience unless someone enforcing the law was watching… Even most police forces chose not to arrest places serving liquor or patrons receiving it, as long as they got to drink there as well.

Eventually Prohibition was quietly repealed by a new administration who simply didn’t want to deal with enforcing such a bad law.

The same must happen with the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  There is a highly contagious flu this season.  So keep your child out during the Smarter Balanced Assessment window so as not to contaminate all others … (Nothing gets taught during the testing window; they show movies (PG-13 and R) to those waiting their turn to take the test).

If no one takes the test. the micro results have no credibility and can’t be used.  It is like enforcing prohibition.  No one wants to enforce a law that is extremely unpopular….

If you truly love your child, you need to opt them out of their taking their Smarter Balanced Assessment, otherwise they will come home demoralized and feeling pathetically stupid. They aren’t the stupids… The stupid ones were the parents who didn’t opt them out.

Over the November holidays some focus has shifted.  We probably need to bring things back around.

Here is where we are:

A)  Priority. Only 50 days (including the extension) or less than 1200 hours remain to design two MOUs for two districts that meet DOE approval and keep 6 priority schools public; otherwise closures will turn them over to charters (KIPP) which perform no better than do our worst public schools.

B) Over 480 new Charter seats open next year inside the two districts affected by the future closure of 6 schools.  Yearly, this additionally siphons another $1.6 million of per-pupil-funding out of those two districts and puts your tax money into private hands at no gain to you.  (That giant sucking sound you hear….)

C) A Charter School which is devoted to the betterment of special ed. children has been targeted for closure based solely on their test scores and absolutely nothing else. Everyone knows special ed children cannot do as well as their counterparts through no fault of their own.  The resulting lawsuit against the Delaware DOE needs to go all the way to the US Supreme Court.  The entire underpinnings of this nation’s democracy are at stake. It is un-American to doom children to failure based on a genetic anomaly.

D) All children who have special needs will no longer pass solely on their IEP’s. As per executive order of the federal Secretary of Education (who by Congress is forbidden to interfere with local districts), their existing IEP’s have been reduced to garbage and they too will need to be assessed and meet the same standardization as is everyone else, (even though all know before-hand the inevitable outcome over such a futile gesture). Bottom line. Special-needs children won’t pass.

E) The poorly written Smarter Balanced Assessment will begin to fail 70% of Delaware’s children beginning this spring,  to simply prove the point that if you can make a test a lot harder, more students will fail.

F) The above-mentioned tests begin in April so the OPT-OUT movement needs to shift into high gear. All of Delaware’s parents across all 19 school districts, need to understand the important benefit of opting out of this test, no matter what any authority says otherwise… Those authorities have their own agenda and that agenda is NOT the betterment of your kid’s education….

It was with supreme dismay I returned to stumble over a riff between two local gurus of education.  No references shall be given.  All readers here have adequate resources to discover of whom I speak.

Point is: if Stalin and Churchill could work together to defeat a common enemy during the Second World War, one should expect petty misconceptions easily put aside considering the greater cause at hand.

There is no room for ego in this current battle against the DOE.  It is rather too obvious to us impartial second-hand observers that multiple interpretations over the meaning of one phrase can be gleaned.  There is no real merit to any argument here; just the misconstruing of perceived digs that have no validity.

Anything lacking merit needs to be overlooked by all participants, simply for the sole reason it distracts from the finite amount of attention which can otherwise be given to incoming attacks on a massive scale being made against our children.

The attention and waste of blog space given to this matter is an embarrassment to all of us who should be far more worried about an upcoming MOU or mega charter, than how someone can twist a phrase in such a way as to feel they need an apology.  That borders pure silliness. We see the egos of others on other boards puff out their chests to take umbrage over little peccadilloes and we laugh at their foolishness.  The same standard obviously applies to us, and we need to curtail any such actions in the future.

It’s time to get back to work. Now, who can give me those links referring to what secretly went on in the DOE this holiday weekend?

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.

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