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All of you know why the label of “Judas” is frequently applied to State Senator Greg Lavelle who now is running against Sarah Buttner (3 houses down from Joe Miro) in the 4th Senatorial District of Delaware…

All know he is the one to be blamed for any faults arising from the use of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Many of you do not know that some of his children are IEP’d. His gracious spouse, Ruth, is actually New Castle County’s citizen representative on the IEP task force. There recently she stated she was in a meeting last week and said IEP Plus is not user-friendly and questioned whether it is less of a band-width issue but the system itself…..

What is interesting, and very odd indeed, is that the Smarter Balanced Assessment which Mr. Greg Lavelle is solely responsible for making the “law of the land”…  is very harsh to any child who has an IEP and must take it.  It is as if Greg Lavelle voted against the interests of his own child, … but why would he do so, and for what?

Just odd, I tell you.  One of those little things that if you know, causes you to ponder them over and over in trying to find some rational logic to explain what obviously is unexplainable.

Six months ago, or just 3 months before Greg cast the deciding vote, sealing the Smarter Balanced Assessment into the state’s official test…. the American Statistical Association, (ASA), the accountants’ association equivalent of doctor’s AMA, came out and slammed value added testing (VAM) as being impossible statistically to hold anything or anyone accountable…   (VAM purports to be able to take student standardized test scores and measure the “value” a teacher adds to student learning through complicated formulas that can supposedly factor out all of the other influences)… These formulas can’t actually do this with sufficient reliability and validity,

Because math and English test scores are available, reformers have devised bizarre implementation methods in which teachers are assessed on the test scores of students they don’t have or subjects they don’t teach.

But what is odd, is that the major consensus among all educators, is that it certainly does not work for children with learning disabilities.  The more disabled students a school has, the lower it’s total average score will be if compared to any school having fewer disabled students, even if the level of teaching is overwhelmingly superior in the first school with more special ed students than occurs in the second with fewer…  If everyone inside a building is being rated by a school’s average score in only English and math, then smart teachers will flock to schools with zero IEP students,

Since No Child Left Behind started, the standardized test-based “accountability” era now more than a dozen years old, there has yet to show any evidence that standardized tests have improved student achievement, or that linking test scores to teacher evaluations has created better teachers.

From now on, the Federal Department of Education will not only consider whether proper procedures are being conducted but on outcomes, including how well these students score on standardized tests and the achievement gap, based on test scores, between students with and without disabilities….  The department believes that more testing will help special education students achieve more in school.

A 2009 warning by the Board on Testing and Assessment of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences stated that “VAM estimates of teacher effectiveness should not be used to make operational decisions because such estimates are far too unstable to be considered fair or reliable.”

The Educational Testing Service’s Policy Information Center has said there are “too many pitfalls to making causal attributions of teacher effectiveness on the basis of the kinds of data available from typical school districts,”

Rand Corp. researchers have said that VAM results “will often be too imprecise to support some of the desired inferences.”

Duncun, Markell, and Murphy keep denying this extensive research.  And now, very oddly, Greg Lavelle believes that more testing will help special education students achieve more in school. He has joined them even though it jeopardizes the future of his own children,….

Why would anyone who has children on an IEP, vote for them to take the Smarter Balanced Assessments?

It is very odd indeed.

This, from top-notch educational expert Steve Newton, (who incidentally is running for state rep in the 22nd Delaware district), explains everything….  This, if you could only read one piece on educational reform, should be it.

Like nothing else before or since, it explains why Duncun, Markell, the Chief’s for Change, Rodel, Murphy, Jenner, Jacques, Sokola, Scott, Sweeney, are all very wrong.


Like Hamlet, it is a must-read….

teacher depletion

43,140 teachers shorted across just 5 states.

Taking a page from the Republican play book, where one takes an event, finds the worst possible thing in it, and harps on that one thing ad nauseum.

So it is with the Newark Riots.

In an embarrassing glitch of sensational journalism, that could only have one purpose, elevate charters to appear better than public schools, Newark High was portrayed as having a giant riot requiring 4,000,000 policemen to come in from neighboring states to break it up…

Instead. Two gangs. 11 people, were fighting each other… and… no one was hurt.

Caught in the exaggeration of 4,000,000 cops coming in to handle the riot, the News Journal continues to drill down on it today…

You have already seen the NHS student letter written to the News Journal… The newspaper lied; a student calls them on it… Pretty sad when someone too young to vote has infinately more credibility THAN THE ONLY DAILY NEWSPAPER IN THE STATE…

“But it can’t be ignored that officers of the law were prevented from performing their sworn duty – which included protecting the rowdy onlookers. Their parents and guardians should be made aware of their role and some measure of responsibility and punishment needs to be considered”..

Can someone bitch-slap them for me?

It was 7 am… The students have just gotten off their buses and are headed to class… the halls are 15 feet wide. All students must pass the A cafeteria. There are over 1,500 students… No student is going to walk by people fighting in the hall… They stop. 1,500 students stop behind them…. The police who come last have to maneuver through 1500 students to get to the fight…..

Imagine police trying to crash through the waiting line to get inside Space Mountain?

There is nowhere in the original report of any mention where students intentionally were trying to keep police from getting to the fights. In fact, 99.9% of the students were on the police’s side of this. Arrest the bums and get them out! But there was nowhere to move.

Here is how a more responsible news organization reported the event….

“”They found a large crowd, as you can imagine at 7 a.m. in the high school, in the hallways at that location and multiple individuals were fighting,” he said.

And here is exactly how the News Journal reported it on Monday….

“The school staff handled it, but while officers were there several other fights broke out in the C and D hallway where officers found several hundred kids gathered, impeding their access to the ones fighting and [officers] called for assistance,” he said.

“Impeding” as in being stuck in the middle; not interlocking arms in protest to prevent passage of law enforcement!

And here is how the News Journal spins that story, and this comes from the editorial board itself…..

“It’s necessary to reinforce the value of respect for law-enforcement servants, who have sworn to protect the very students who interfered with their obligation to keep them safe. Those interlopers helped extend the brawls, and as a result, should be held equally responsible by school officials and city police.”

This is the textbook definition of “liable”. Falsehoods perpetuated by a commercial media. It is past time for a class action lawsuit against the News Journal over its damage done against every student in our public schools… If one takes the enrollment of last year from across the state… 133,369 and figures that they’ve done $1,000 damage per student (college remedial classes to undo Common Core), the minimum of the class action suit should begin at $133,369,000… This is the amount for what the News Journal should be sued over this defamation; it owes Delaware’s children for its past deceit and for choosing to not report facts going on inside the Delaware Department of Education, as they truly were…..

When it comes to education in Delaware and the News Journal editorial board…. you are always being lied to….. Either they are too lazy to check out a story; too rich to care, or are working solely off an agenda to elevate charters (which all know are worse than public schools) by denigrating public ed

Today, instead of paying $2.84 for per gallon of gas, we’d be paying $2.94: the price of gas last Friday.

Now because we aren’t paying what we paid last Friday for gas, we can’t have improvements on any of our roads.  We won’t be able to fill pot holes.  We can’t properly plow the roads during snow time. Bottlenecks will remain bottlenecks with no plans to expand the highway system.

And there will be 7,700 fewer people working at high paying jobs in Delaware as a result…

Thanks Valerie Longhurst, for making Delaware a second tier state…… What on earth were you thinking?

Markell and Murphy’s argument for establishing priority schools, just melted away… If you were holding on to anything of theirs, check and wash your hands…..

Their ideology behind priority schools is that teaching is easy and can be done by animals and the only reason learning isn’t happening is because lazy and dumb teachers are not teaching…..

This is the only way their approach to these 6 schools makes sense…. Fire the principal.. Establish a leader who will whip teachers into teaching, and then fire all the teachers and only rehire the top half who seems to do the best job teaching.  Fill the other slots with newbies you can fire later to keep the top teachers scared for their jobs…


Poverty remains an issue despite Mark Murphy and Peggy Schwinn saying that poverty itself is no detriment to learning….

We have a study out now collaborating that poverty is….

A new study, conducted by Donald J. Leu of the University of Connecticut, which found “a large and significant achievement gap, based on income inequality, in an important new area for learning—the ability to read on the Internet to learn information,” according to a news release from the university.

What this means is that poverty not only impacts written words in book form, but it is exacerbated when the testing with a screen and keyboard. Research shows that poverty increases the achievement gaps when measured on electronic devices.

The lower the parent’s income levels, the less skilled a student is at reading or doing math on line.

Poverty impacts learning.  No amount of teaching can overcome that. Since when does a gym teacher become more of an expert on how poor people learn than a Phd. in education teaching at the University of Connecticut?

What miracle or magic potion makes a gym teacher or a Nextell salesperson become an expert on how a child’s brain works?

M&M’s… whether in your mouth or hands, their argument just melted….  Sadly we do know what to do to turn these 6 schools around…. and it is being ignored….. That is…

A) 11:1 student teacher ratio across k-5 and 9th Grades in schools having 50% levels eligible for reduced lunch .

B) Tax the top 1% fairly to pay for funding of any increased costs.

C) Dissolve teacher accountability from test scores.  Use standardized tests solely as a tool to see what a child has missed and what he needs to learn to fill in those holes. Then patch those holes.

D) Divorce Charter Schools from per pupil funding and pay for them directly per line item in the state budget, as has been done for vocational schools since their inception.  A new Charter school opening should not impinge even slightly upon all others remaining in public schools!

E) Let teachers teach.  Hold teachers accountable for getting their 11 students to perform at the best of their abilities.  After all they too just as the DOE should be allowed to be rated based upon their fidelity of implementation…

Kuumba, East Side Charter, and Howard are held up as models for changing the 6 new schools over to Charters.  Good things can be done….


Kuumba:  $12,769 per pupil

East Side Charter:  $13,929 per pupil

Howard:  $18,572


Now onto the Priority Schools.  These $$$ are district wide average student costs.

Bancroft  $13,058

Bayard   $13,058

Stubbs  $13,058

Highlands  $12,520

Shortlidge  $12,520

Warner  $12,520


Kuumba looks compatible.  But WHOOPS.  There was a $425,000 gift from the Charter Slush Fund that did not make it into that total…  Gosh. Darn. … So if we take that, and divide by each of Kuumba’s students in its student body…. 298… we see there is an additional per student cost of  ($425,000/298) an additional $1,426 dollars per student that needs added on…

Kuumba  $12,769 + $1,426 =  $14,195  per student….


Now assuming public schools could just wave their magic wand and get money?  How much if we added $1426 for every student in these 6 soon to be taken-over schools?

Bancroft  $591,790

Bayard    $660,238

Stubbs     $463,450

Highlands  $546,158

Shortlidge  $469,154

Warner  $797,134

That is per year… So compare it to the $322,222 per year (if not counting that planning year) these priority schools supposedly are getting.

And couple in to the argument these six schools can’t pick the cream of the crop as do all three other schools being held as examples, but must spend what they get on everyone who comes into their door….  Meaning they will have more special ed. They will have more English as a second language. They will have more poverty and children entering the educational system with a vocabulary of less than 500 words….

There is simply no way one can compare a school that should be receiving $797,134 a year extra per student to one that actually did receive $425,000 extra dollars…. above and beyond its normal allocation…

If you want equality, then make Charters compete on budgets of $12,520 per student and not a penny more.  Only then, can we see how good they REALLY are……

In any regard, we can see the scale of the paltry amounts being offered by the DOE in its priority school takeover bid.

Recognizing that parents constitutionally should be in control of their child’s education and no one else, the Capitol School District of Delaware unanimously voted to allow parents to opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

Take your child’s test.

You will see why there is really no alternative other than opting your child out.  It is the only right thing to do… If any other district does not vote along these same lines, it is because they are too cowardly to do what is right…

Mayor Baker’s op-ed piece struck a sour chord… Basically his message was thus…

It’s money, do what you have to take it…..

It is reminiscent of what a client would demand of a whore.  It is reminiscent of what a boss would say to a female employee who had to feed her family and knows he could count on her “not saying no”.

Baker seems to know too little.  I doubt that he knows the value is $5.8 million and not $6 million. I doubt that he knows it covers 6 schools across three years (not counting the planning period according to Penny Schwinn), meaning if split evenly it comes to $322,222 per year if not counting that planning year…

Baker seems to not know that this money will be bitten in two by the hiring of a leader over 5% more than what some principals make in New Castle County. ($152,380) thereby leaving  the remaining $169, 841 per year extra for the running of each school…

Baker seems not to understand after himself running the city of Wilmington, how little $169,842 dollars per school will do to raise test scores of children who go home to no meals, go home to fights and violence inside moldy walls, go home to areas where death walks by their windows nightly, and expects those children to suddenly respond to a test that even successful, professional adults have trouble understanding what question is being asked upon it….

In fact, it looks like Baker just walked off the plank of the stupid boat and fell into the stupid ocean.

Seriously, I’m trying to toggle my mind around this… Why would someone who fought the Civil Rights battles of long ago, even write tripe like this?

A.)  Does he simply not know?

B.)  Did he get paid for it, so it is like Michael Jackson endorsing Pepsi? (Great Balls of Fire said the hair follicles).

C.)  Was he tricked into making a fool of himself?

I would probably guess the first is correct.  (A).  He like many people doesn’t know the details…

He sees it as  “Hey buddy, got a couple of dollars here I’m givin’ out… want some of them?”  The right answer for that is:  “sure”…..

But when it goes this way:  “Hey dude, that’s a nice house you got there…. Look, I’ll give you $30 dollars if you sign it over to me…”   The right answer is “no ‘effin’ way, dude.  It’s worth much more than that….”

I’m surprised that Baker doesn’t know the difference.

Markell in New Orleans

Photo courtesy of Children & Educators First

They are below Mississippi even… Is this also Delaware’s future?


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