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Charter Schools want to come into Wilmington…  Delaware Charter Schools Network Executive Director Kendall Massett explains it this way:   “When you have an open field, you build a road into it, that is just what you do; when you have a shore line, you haul dump trucks of sand to the ocean’s edge and dump sand it it…Therefore even though we don’t really need one more Charter School, we desperately need 5, simply “… because it makes me look good if I can get them to all go in…. “”

State legislators disagree…  In a letter to Mark Murphy, 20 state legislators (one third) expressed their concerns… Their main concern was that new Charters would deplete financial resources from public schools, particularly Red Clay, costing it $2.6 million… Delaware Charter Schools Network Executive Director Kendall Massett responded: “2.6 million? That’s nothing. That’s only half the number of bacteria living on on human hand … Spectators noted that Mark Murphy, Delaware’s Superintendent of Education, recently promoted as a Chief of Pocket Change, nodded approvingly. However to the north of Delaware, in the district of Philadelphia, Charters have become a nuisance like banana boat roaches. Their infestation has grown faster than the training of exterminators. In a 2007 analysis of Philadelphia’s persistent deficits, Pennsylvania State Budget Director Michael Masch indicated that reimbursement to charter schools account for the largest growth in Philadelphia school district expenditures over the last five years According to state records, Philadelphia’s School District paid$240 million to charter schools per year…..  These costs had to be met in other ways.

Kendall Massett says parents should have the right to choose a school for their child…. She brought up the beach sand analogy to prove its point… “Every year we truck sand in from the Pacific ocean across the nation at very great expense, to give beach goers an option to stand on either Atlantic or Pacific sand if they choose.  Without the great cost and expense, they would only have the sand of one geographical location, and their lives would be severely limited.”  The legislators pulled out a microscope and then challenged Kendall Massett to prove which grains were from the Pacific and which were locally beached.  Kendall Massett was unable to distinguish any difference between the two.

So despite great expense in carting the sand from one side of the country to the other, and despite great expense in getting charters off the ground, as well as in running a public school system on 240 million less, Kendall Massett insists we continue forward with Charters for the most serious of reasons: “… because it makes me look good if I can get them to all go in…. “ The analysis quoted above, further suggests that for students attending a charter school in its first year, charter schools have a negative and statistically significant effect in math…. To this Kendall Massett replied that unless you go forward and put Pacific sand on the beach, many beach goers will never get the opportunity again, to stand on Pacific grains of sand… ” “We believe these schools will add unique value to Delaware because of their innovative methodology”.. When questioned by legislators what unique methodology Charter Schools could provide… Kendall Massett responded: “Duh, I said they’re from a different place… So, that means they are different…In the case of two of them, a strong track record of success for kids.” meaning of course that three of the five have no record of success at all. but she insists, we should approve them all, because? “… because it makes me look good if I can get them to all go in…. “ Recently, when it was announced that Freire Charter’s application was in jeopardy, 41 parents of students in Freire in Philly, all wrote letters extolling the virtues of Freire, once it was clearly told them that their child would fail the entire year, if glowing letters of recommendation were not forthcoming immediately… Waxing eloquently, Massett wrote a letter in large hand printed script to her gym teaching mentor stating, that “It is perplexing that, in a city plagued by violence, charter opponents have criticized Freire’s nonviolence policy, which creates a safe haven in which students can learn and thrive.” The legislators responded that Massett must have been smoking crack while they were talking. No one said anything like that at all, they insisted. If anything their opposition was not against Freire per se, but was instead directed against the loss of money that it would steal from the good existing schools already in place in the four districts surrounding Wilmington…. After the meeting, many legislators expressed amazement at Kendall Massett’s assertions…. Rep, Kim Williams, “the way she was acting, I almost pulled a chunk of green kryptonite I carry in my purse, just to see if she’d wither and collapse in a corner somewhere” she seriously pondered…. Said Charles Potter: If Kendall Massett wanted to fill her pickup with sand and haul it across country at her own expense, we’d have no problem with that. But to make everyone pay an extraordinary price for sand that is identical to what we already have, is not the best use of taxpayers money at this time…. After all, the only reason Kendall Massett is so rabidly insistent is because? “… because it makes me look good if I can get them to all go in…. “ One of the benefits of thinking through outragous possible comibinations associated with the math portion of the Smart Balanced Assessments, was that it forces one to look at even the most ridiculous approaches to the most ridiculous possible problems…. So one should not be surprised that a very young child applies that to writing the date down on his homework, and come up with what for the first time, has been made public…. Every day this week … the date is the same forwards as it is backwards… Sunday, 4 13 14 Monday 4 14 14 Tuesday 4 15 14 Wednesday 4 16 14 Thursday 4 17 14 Friday 4 18 14 Saturday 4 19 14 Others may look to check it out, but we may never see another such a perfect aligned week in our lifetimes….. I’m sure that Dave Sokola, Darryl Scott, Mark Murphy, and Jack Markell are breaking out the champagne and opening the caviar to celebrate something good coming out of Common Core… But did we really have to spend116 million (Kilory :)  ) as a state to achieve this fantastical observation?

This was in his editorial:

“One of the best investments the business community can make is to simply share our knowledge of leadership, goal-setting and time management.

“I don’t care if you do think it’s a really stupid piss poor idea that will destroy my business. It’s my way or the highway… Wait a minute. You’re fired! So it’s the highway. There! I decided it for you!..  Seriously, how about them apples?…”

“Um.  If they meet their goal, they will all get lazy afterwards and not want to do anything… I know, I’ll raise the goal 4 gazillion times higher than anyone can possibly achieve in reality!… Then I’ll fire them for not meeting it… That should keep them scared of me and on their toes…”

“Holy piss!  Grading these motherfvcking papers? I’m not doing them, they can kiss my fvcking a$s. I don’t have time for that s\it… I gotta tee off at 2:30…..” ==== Somehow… I think as far away, as we can keep businesses from our kids while they are growing up…. the better all will be…. Kids have the right to grow up right. Our children can learn what real assholes are, AFTER college is finished…. like, duh,… when it’s time to enter the…… business world…… heavens. Who in their screwed-up mind still thinks that businesses are something holy to still be venerated? Duh… How long has it been since Cheney took over our country? Fourteen years now? When one has a bad program, if one is employed and wishes to remain so, one must suck the hose spewing the money. Recently Ezra Klein felt the necessity as John links to over here. Further more on this day, we have Terri Hodges paying the piper here… And to make it a hat trick… from the dark black hole of 901 N. Market Street, a place sucking up just in 2013…$6,231,714.57 of Delaware’s taxpayer’s money, a ringing endorsement dutifully published by  the News Journal without any of the clear quid-pro-quo lines of connection between public dollars and one’s private fortunes that one would expect to find on a real news source, such as here…..

But at the same time of this pro-Common-Core-coordinated push…., South Carolina is dropping the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Louisiana will be exiting PARCC assessments. Tennessee is leaving the PARCC assessments and Common Core altogether.  Indiana has left Common Core and chose to go solo with their own standards….keeping the best, trashing the worst.

The difference between these two opposite opinions depends solely on whether or not one is sucking the hose.  People who suck, all chorus “we need higher standards now blah, blah, blah”.  The People who got sucked (as in being pegged for suckers, silly, what did you think I was implying?)…  are saying “we’re getting the hell out of this stinking glory hole as fast as we possibly can… “

Interestingly, all this is being viewed by those in charge of the next wave of reform: which is the implementation of Science and Math standards, or STEM…  This is more serious than Common Core.  Because real science and math, are more important to daily life than ELA and randomly attributed math puzzles.  Society always get along if we hear colorful language…”Yo! Ain’t yet got ‘dem Seasoned Eag’s tiks yet, bro,” ….  We can survive because we are smart enough to know that upon hearing that, we should ask someone else for our season Eagles tickets…   But being on an operating table, half in and out of consciousness and hearing “Ewwwwww… what’s that brown-red thingy, ugh, looks disgusting.””Uhh, Doctor, that is her liver.” “oh, yeah right,  It’s her liver.” does not play well for society overall and and as a whole….

People working on putting the next wave together are saying this in unison:

Instead here is what THEY recommend:

1) Anticipating that schools will not be able to tackle all aspects of the standards at once, and that some kind of staged implementation is called for.

2) Introducing the standards one grade level at a time, allowing each cohort of students to arrive at each grade with the requisite prior knowledge.  For example, start with k; then do k, 1st; then do k,1,2; and then do k,1,2,3; and so on….

3) Begin at the beginning (rather than the middle) and laying a solid foundation for subsequent work, especially important for high-need students.. Science is cumulative, and complicated ideas are built upon constituent concepts taught earlier,,

4) Build upward to give districts the requisite time to adapt the new standards and to offer effective professional development for all science teachers, one grade level at a time… From a district’s perspective, this professional-development challenge becomes more tractable and affordable…

5) The “all in” approach so far taken with the common core  indeed feels more like a tsunami, hitting a district all at once, changing the landscape, and threatening to erode all of the very progress it is trying to make. Such disruption lead to a backlash, followed by efforts to roll back or water down new standards….

When you see how much Common Core has failed and fallen on its face, so much that the next wave is calling for it’s abandonment….  it is physically hard to take any cheerleading …. “Rah, Rah, Rah! Sis Boom Bah” for Common Core seriously…

Perhaps we should do them a favor, find the handle on the spigot and shut off the water drowning them, so they can finally catch their breath…. and talk clearly ……

Common Core like the Reconstructionist South… is crawling with Carpet Baggers, each intent on  plying their own brand of self-help for a problem they alone are creating; there was never any overall systemic structure for regulating vendors; it was from the beginning set up like a bazaar…  When one walks in a bazaar, all one hears is noise.  A cacophony.  We need to stop listening to Common Core cheerleading as anything more than the marketing of self-promotion…  For the News Journal to allow this dark black-hole company of only 3 people earning over \$6 million of state tax dollars just this past fiscal year…. , WITHOUT disclosing to us, the public, where exactly that opinion is coming …. is doing all of journalism a gigantic injustice….

Doing exactly that should be immoral.

And back date it to apply to all transactions starting after midnight, January 1, 2011….

A giant 248 MW power plant is going into a residential neighborhood.  That is unheard of.  We know Rowan jumped out of a similar deal.

Every human being in Delaware should demand (because they will soon breathe the toxins) that the UD lose its proprietary status, and that we find out what is really going on.

They were up front with Rowen and Rowen said no thank you… The University of Delaware is sitting on valuable information required by all to make a balanced decision, without which a gigantic lifetime mistake could occur….

Obviously they want that mistake to occur…

So, to fight back, they should lose all future protection from FOIA requests…  All it takes is a change of one sentence…..

A statement (not a rhetorical but an action that has grave consequences),  needs to be emphasized:  that if you want of fuck with the citizens of the town of Newark, it will cost you.  It WILL cost you…..

Here: John and Paul….

 04/15/2014
 Long Title: AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO DEFINITION OF PUBLIC BODY. Synopsis: This bill would include the President’s Offices of the University of Delaware as being defined as a public body, and would therefore serve to open it to all FOIA inquiries.  Furthermore this bill would reach back to  midnight January 1, 2011 and require the University to legally fulfill all FOIA requests for information dating henceworth that period in time.

Section 1.  Amend § 10002(h), Title 29 of the Delaware Code  by making insertions as shown by underlining as follows:

(h) ”Public body” means, unless specifically excluded, any regulatory, administrative, advisory, executive, appointive or legislative body of the State, or of any political subdivision of the State, including  the University of Delaware, but not limited to, any board, bureau, commission, department, agency, state university, committee, ad hoc committee, special committee, temporary committee, advisory board and committee, subcommittee, legislative committee, association, group, panel, council or any other entity or body established by an act of the General Assembly of the State, or established by any body established by the General Assembly of the State, or the University of Delaware, or the Presidents Office of the University of Delaware, or appointed by any body or public official of the State or otherwise empowered by any state governmental entity, which:

and… Section 1.  Amend § 10002(l), Title 29 of the Delaware Code

(i) ”Public body,” “public record” and “meeting” shall not include activities of the University of Delaware and Delaware State University, except that the Board of Trustees and all offices of the President of the University of Delaware and the Board of Trustees and all offices of the President of the  Delaware State University shall be “public bodies,” and that the University and University documents relating to the expenditure of all private and public funds shall be deemed “public records,” and each meeting by the President or of the full Board of Trustees of either institution shall be deemed a “meeting.”  This action will apply retroactively to January 1, 2011.

We may all die of asphyxiation, but we won’t die without fighting back……

Click to Enlarge

Here is where I’m at so far…. ax + by =  6c + 6d  = 0  is what I come up with… too many variables to be solvable…

Need help on this… can anyone help?

Did you know that the trials for SBA testing were a bust?  That computers crashed and student data was lost?  Did you know that it was very frustrating for the children to log in, then get” loading”.. forever… finally to log in again, and get “loading” forever? Did you know that hardly any child, I think only those in two classes across the entire state, were able to finish the test?  The rest will retake it later when the bugs are worked through…..

Wha?  You didn’t hear this?  The DOE didn’t make an announcement telling you how badly the rollout was going?  But this is something every DCAS student has done for years, but now is crashing and becoming completely frustrating with the SBA test! Wait a second!  What?  You didn’t hear this?  You meant to tell me that the News Journal hasn’t reported on how the rollout was going?  What? It hasn’t hit any media, any blog, even though its debacle is the 40 -minute  talk of every teacher’s lounge conversation across the state?  What?  You haven’t heard of this?

Now… but…. did you know when Obamacare rolled out, they had trouble with their computers?   Hell, everyone knew.

And now we have 7.1 million newly insured on that exchange, we have increased benefits for all US citizens regardless of their plans, and we have dropped the roles of the uninsured from 20% of all Americans down to 15.2% of them….

It was done in public, it was messy, it got fixed. and we moved on…

Compare that to something so secret, no one knows anything.  Something so secret, everyone has to sign confidentiality agreements before becoming privy to the results, and something so protected, no one outside those who know it is a complete failure, know nothing about…..

On one we have an open governmental process, with pros and cons fighting it out and I think that over time, and I’m pretty sure about this now, we will have a new program like Social Security and Medicare which make us again proud to be Americans….

On the other we have a corporate process that is so top secret, so closely guarded, known only to a handful, and no one else knows it is a complete failure, which can’t even get itself together…..

Don’t let anyone tell you that private business can get things done better than government……   What they are saying, is that private business needs to be selfishly left alone, so it can take your money without accountability…..  Government takes longer, listens to both sides, becomes emotional and messy, but…. in the end, usually gets it right. Far more often than secrecy and confidentiality agreements can attest…….

Time to circumvent the official DOE lines of propaganda, and get reporters butts into the schools to ask “anonymous sources” (confidentiality agreements, remember?) what is really going on…..

The rest of the world might be surprised….

Anyways, at least Obamacare is working well….

“Today kids, this test counts… Do your best…. everything is riding on your results…”.  On to the next day….

“Today kids, this test is practice. Don’t get upset. Do what you can, but don’t worry about what you can’t answer”.  On to the next day.

“Today, kids, this test is for real… It is not like yesterday’s test. This test goes to your moms and dads and you don’t want them to be angry with you and make you go to school all summer, now do you?”

Who is willing to bet that day three’s scores will be abysmally low?  And why do you not know this?  Smart Balanced Assessment’s multi-million contract with the state of Delaware to design the exams, prohibits the state from making the tests public and imposes a gag order on educators who administer them…..

Teachers watched hundreds of children in grade 4 sit for between 70 and 180 minutes per day for one day taking a state English Language Arts exam that does a very poor job of testing reading comprehension, and yet we’re not allowed to point out what the problems were….  they were appalled that they had to watch fourth graders take a math test which was testing geometry angled concepts like SAS and ASA or using the Pythagorean theorem to determine length, which were not in the curriculum and which won’t be until 10th grade geometry or 7th Grade basic math!

Yes.  Teachers are angry. They cannot reveal the test.  But, they are not bound to reveal their feelings about that test, and that is what those teachers whom we have come to count upon to lead the way, now need to do… Be very clear about your feelings towards the test. To all and anyone who will listen.  Furthermore, be very public about those who will try to intimidate and silence you.  They need exposure too.

I think I am speaking for all teachers when I say they are not protesting testing; they are not protesting Common Core standards. Like me they are protesting the fact that they have just witnessed their charges, their children, being asked to answer questions that had little bearing on their reading  or mathematical ability and yet potentially will have huge future stakes for students, teachers, principals and schools.

For the most part, teachers have implemented the Common Core standards with enthusiasm, and have always supported the idea that great teaching is the best test preparation. But this year’s Smart Balanced Assessment exam has made a mockery of that position…..

It is frightening to think what “teaching to the test” would mean, given the nature of the test….  Seriously… it is.  And Charter schools will try it! Damaging children for their entire lifetimes!

Anyone who has been in the field of eduction over time, knows that over the past few years, as higher and higher stakes have been attached solely to the results of tests,  schools have devoted more time to test prep, leaving less time and fewer resources for instruction in music, the arts, social studies and physical education… This is fact.  This is overly documented. Our students receive a less balanced education than 5 years ago …

Every teacher who has ever reassured a parent, that they would not stress out their children with these tests, that they would not teach only to the test but would cover all the material, that the tests are the best that can be created by Corporate America, now feels “had”.  This test is bad,  It is very, very, very, very, very bad…  It is in one word; pointless.

It will take another Snowden to release these tests… Someone with nothing left to lose, and whose love of children is greater than his desire for self-preservation….

Delaware’s General Assembly must now follow the suit of other states, and jump away from this test… At the very minimum, Delaware’s General Assembly should freeze further testing made by the Smart Balanced Assessments until:  Governor Markell, Mark Murphy, Frederika Jenner, Dave Sokola, Darryl Scott, all sit down in a forum under public television and blindly take this fourth grade test and then have their scores totaled live on line…..

Once all see this test, then all like us who already have, will never doubt again that we are flinging down the wrong path to making our children better educated……..

Parents of 4th grade children!… Ask them today to tell you what some of the ridiculous questions were…. then call your state Legislators.  Their contact info is to the left at the top of this page…..

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AS with everything, there needs to be a clear and guiding principle.  Education,  How do we know if what we are doing is the right thing?

That principle needs to be: Children who are excited to learn, learn…

We then use that principle as a rubric, and hold it up to every question, every issue, and ask ourselves … does this issue before us get us there? And now fast?

Such as Common Core…   Hold Common Core up and ask, does this make children excited to learn?  If yes, you keep it; if no, you don’t.

Free meals for breakfast and lunch for all students… Does this make children excited to learn?  If yes, you keep it; if no, you dont.

Shorten the school year between Labor Day and Memorial Day… Does this make children excited to learn?  If yes, you keep it; if no, you don’t.

Putting more teachers into classrooms to achieve an 11:1 student/teacher ratio… Does this make children excited to learn?  If yes, you keep it, if no, you don’t…

Testing kids on a computer, 100 out of 180 days of school…. Does this make children excited to learn?  if yes, you keep it; if no, you don’t…

But it is not all simple….

Take the influx of Charter Schools.  Does this make children excited to learn?  If yes, you keep it; if no, you don’t…  But, here is the rub, if it makes some children who are the lucky ones hand picked to attend, very excited to learn, but it takes away resources away from the majority of those who now with less funding, now have less an inclination to want to learn,… you create more negatives than you do positives…

When you have more negatives than positives, you shouldn’t have that policy.

Take the establishment of Common Core… Does this make children excited to learn?  I have read reports from parents who have children under a teacher’s care where this happens. In in that regard it passes the test.  However, we have seen the actual test which will be taken by all.  It is a real downer.  It is not challenging, it is oppressive.  There is a difference.  Running a marathon is challenging.  Doing it while being fired upon by machine gun fire, is oppressive.

Therefore if Common Core is causing more negatives than positives, it  needs to be revamped…

In myriad discussions with teachers, I have found that the positive results some are able to extract from Common Core, is solely because of the effort and dedication of the teacher who now has to work fifteen times harder simply because Common Core is so bad.  If one just teaches Common Core as one is supposed to, they say, one hurts students.  It is harder for a teacher to not teach well, than it is for doctor to kill patients on purpose.  Both are simply not wired that way.  Therefore against extraordinary odds, these teachers do their best to prevail, and make sure that these children are not severely damaged by this curriculum.   More teachers would have already quit I get told, except they fear their replacements were trained in Common Core , would have no knowledge of how to compensate for what they could never see was missing.  Therefore the teachers stay.

We are forced to look at the good results from these heroes, as coming out of something bad like Common Core.  Sort of like the Obama administration takes credit for Syria’s destruction of chemical weapons (a good thing), which they say only happened because they were going to bomb the entire country as punishment (a bad thing)…..

Does this help children to love learning?  Across the width and breadth of this nation, the answer is no.  That is why Common Core needs to quietly disappear.

What does work, is having teachers teach.  It is what they were trained to do; it is how they are wired; it is what they love to do. Anything that helps this, needs to be encouraged; anything that hinders that from happening, needs to be eradicated….

A Litmus test for Education….