As we approach the new year, the clowns will begin dropping out and all begin to take a serious view over who can be our next president.  By now a normal trend; it happens every four years.

The reason we have to put up with the clowns is  because across all of America, there is gross disenchantment over  the way things are.   A gross enchantment so huge, that unifies both the extreme right and extreme left into a larger classification.

These two opposite sides actually have a common denominator.  Both sides are both unhappy how the needs of real human beings are being trumped by those whom they have elected and trusted to serve them.

On the right it is the tea party types who are erroneously easy to dismiss as primitive forms of intelligence.  On the left is its those who exhale in triplicate just to hear themselves breathe, usually with complaints regarding how good programs are not good enough to their liking.

Or so each are characterized by the other side’s talk radio hosts…..

But in reality, both have a deep love of the America they grew up under and see it slipping away by the minute.  Both share the same vision that America needs to be great again, but simply differ on the approaches required to achieve that aim which can be characterized as such.  The left believes we need to change somethings in our system of governing; the right believes we have to change individual people one by one.

The common enemy in both parties surprisingly is the bloc of moderates spanning both parties who compromise too freely against their parties values and who seem  too prone to cater to business at the expense of individual constituent’s wishes and demands.  Rather bizarrely, we three parties, if you include this business class in the middle of both and only when two of the three agree, does anything get accomplished.

In Delaware this is played out in the opt out movement where the Governor (business party) used his veto and the head of the House of Representatives (business party) shows no sign of bringing it up to be overturned.. Enough votes (Dems and Repubs) are present to do so, just little procedural matter is all that is now boxing up the two wings wishes…’

Nationally the same scenario is being played out in that all the candidates are the same except one.  Only one candidate of either party is taking on corporate America.  All the rest are fortressed and supported by Corporate America marking all the differences actually existing between them as petty and insignificant when compared to the pressing needs at hand.

No matter who is elected, we can have no real change over the next four years unless that one who is different and from Vermont, wins.

So despite all the banter our main stream media is giving us, (whose staff is primarily and pathetically reduced to snooping on Twitter and putting that up as “real news”), the real question emerging as voters begin to look seriously, needs to be:  who will actually make that change that benefits me?

Only one.  Right now only one candidate’s platform can make the huge changes required to wean America off its penchant for developing profits, and turn America back to work on developing its people. Which is what the extremes of both right and left believe need to be done.

Because behind all the arguments about trade, abortions, shootings, and economics, the real solution to making your life better, is to put more money into your pocket as well as the pockets of the rest of the 99%.,…

Because you really aren’t politically free, unless you are also economically free. For unless you can quit that job you don’t like, can’t stand, or hate, and quickly find another one, you are not free.  If you have no choice but to work at that crumby job, you simply do not taste freedom.

Only one candidate’s platform will change that now;  it requires raising taxes on the one percent.

According to Fortune estimates, on this planet global households together have amassed over  $250 trillion in assets.   The one percent now owns 50% of that which translates into their ownership of $125 trillion in net worth. If this net worth were conservatively earning 7% per year in interest ($17.5 trillion), and the capital gains tax were raised to 50% marginal levels only on this select group, it would pump a lost $8.5 trillion back into the economy per year.

This is money that could be spent on combating global warming.  This is money that could be spent on making normal citizens earn more.  This is money that could be spent on ending hunger world wide. This is money that could rejuvenate cities providing great future for ones youth. This is money that could be spent on education.

And this money is absolutely free.

For the $7.5 trillion taxed and reinvested through governments around the world will offer (at minimum) a 2:1 rate of investment, meaning that the $7.5 trillion taxed and spent will generate a yield a $15 trillion return on that investment. Which since the wealthy own one half of all wealth, this means they get to re-pocket $7.5 trillion which they just gave up.  And if investment returns are higher, by ratios of 3, 4, 5,  even 10, they make out big time. Win, win, win.

Right now, only one person says he will do this.

Compared to this sea change, none of the other little things matter. If that yearly $7.5 trillion dollars through increased economic activity, is averaged out to all the 7.5 billion of this planets dwellers (of course it won’t be), it actually gives every single person a $1000 dollar increase of money they get to keep… They will see it in two ways; one they will see part of it in expenses going down and part of it in salaries going up.

Only one person across both parties fields has the wisdom take on Wall Street now knowing that it gets more expensive to do so by each hour.  OUT of all the candidates on both parties… ONLY ONE is not beholden to the interests of the top 1%.

You need to send him  money, whether you’re a Republican or Democrat. Both party’s networks are thoroughly tainted by corporate money. But one person isn’t…

In 2002 we gave the top one percent a loan from the American people which was to make us all wealthier over time.  They got their money, and kept it; we were polite and nice about asking for restitution. Apparently enough time has gone by, they think it is theres.  Meaning, it’s now past time we called back our loan which we originally gave to the top 1% via the Bush Tax Cuts. …










The release of 2015 NAEP scores showed national achievement stalling out or falling in reading and mathematics..

Critics of Common Core tended to blame the standards for the disappointing scores.  Its defenders said it was too early to assess CCSS’s impact and that implementation would take many years to unfold….

In the rush to argue whether CCSS has positively or negatively affected American education, these speculations are vague as to how the standards boosted or depressed learning.

One telling example is this:

Something significant happened in 2011. It is probably safe to say that Common Core shifted text materials more to nonfiction than any event having occurred any time in the past.

There is no evidence however that shifting to non-fiction creates better students.  In fact, evidence points to the exact opposite.

Prior to WWII our English curriculum was heavily based on British Classical writings covering drama, prose, poetry, and novels. Only after the 60’s with the informalization of education and the original ESEA of 1965, did problems of not being college ready after 12 public school years of education, begin. Until that time, a literature heavy English curriculum was understood as precisely the kind of precollege training students needed.

The very gaps Common Core was addressed to alleviate, will worsen.

“High achieving students in academically oriented private and suburban schools may receive rich literary historical instruction, students in the bottom two thirds of our student population with respect to achievement, especially those in low performing schools, will receive noncumulative, watery training in mere reading comprehension.”

Does College and Career readiness depend on non-informational texts being taught over 50% of the time?  It appears no.

For one, the purveyors of Common Core offer no support or evidence showing how non fiction promotes higher proficiency in reading when compared to students who read almost entirely all classical fiction.  For two, there is compelling evidence that the opposite is true.

Literary study in 1900 shifted from studying the classics to studying British Literature primarily at the insistence of the Committee of Ten, a group who convened in the 1890’s to standardize uniform entry requirements for college.  Their work developed syllabi which listed required readings at each grade level. These syllabi influenced students up until after WWII. At no time did colleges cry out that a rich English literature background would impede college progress, In fact, it was seen as a necessary requirement.

Then in the latter 60’s as massive funding from ESEA began pouring into schools to alleviate “gaps”, academic levels began to become disappointing. In ELA efforts to improve achievement were undermined by inferior, lazy reading texts on lower levels of difficulty.  As a result, remedial course-work in college has exploded, aided and abetted by lower admission’s requirements..

One of the best publicly educated states this past decade as consistently been Massachusetts. In  1997 Massachusetts developed a literature rich ELA curriculum.  The results were impressive. Massachusetts led the nation in reading scores from 2005 onward. It’s numbers of Advance Placement successes, are also highest in the nation. Simply because they reintroduced classical British literature into all classrooms.

A diminished emphasis on literary study will prevent students from acquiring a rich understanding and use of the English language, a development which demands the exposure to the thinking of the most talented writers of English. Increasing informational reading in English class will tend to lead to a decreased capacity for analytical thinking in all students.

The choice of curriculum is not given a literary historical basis but instead is chosen by how well it supports the language construct being taught. In other words,”How” the test are supportive, takes precedence over what is being taught.

Common Core lays out what students should be able to do… not what they should know. In other words, the skilled naive worker…..

One can’t help but wonder if the case for more informational texts and increased complexity (though not necessarily text difficulty) is a camouflage for lowering academic challenge so more high school graduates now appear ready for college upon or before graduation.

The recent collapse of NAEP scores show that dissipation of knowledge, is  exactly what is beginning to happen…..

If you are not a parent with children in school, you don’t know much about Opt-Out.  If you are a parent with children in school, you are very much aware about Opt-Out….

Essentially what is now called crony capitalism simply took over American education during the recession when money was very tight.  They immediately tried to classify all children into little corporate boxes which they designed to provide a continuous incoming revenue stream (for themselves)…

Parents knew that children should be learning more about what’s important in life and less about how to act like corporate schill,  and so parents looked for a way to stop it. Since all the corporate actions depended on having this one single test show beyond doubt that American children were more stupid they they really were, parents realized that if they could disable the credibility of these test results through not testing their children, then and only then would their requests have merit on boards overseeing education now staffed with crony capitalists.  Crony capitalists are those who preach the benefits of capitalism, but get their money from governmental handouts because of who they know in government.

The only way parents would get their wishes heard (they rightly concluded), was to refuse the test which if done on a massive scale would render the  published results untrustworthy, costing Capitalists lots of money, and therefore to the crony capitalists, the act of  fulfilling the parents’ demands would appear the cheaper option.

And at this point this article is going to leave the topic of education. Because I want to talk about the bigger issue at play here and it basically involves the future of every Americans’ economic freedom.

Throughout out years of history there is something uniquely America about the way we opt out.   Back when Britain’s Parliament decided that the Thirteen Colonies must pay some of their costly governance (Stamp Act), most Americans chose to opt out.  When the Brits relented and said, “ok, since you don’t drink very much tea, we’ll drop our tax on everything else”, the Americans opted out of drinking tea.

America was founded on opting out…

When the Pullman company said “no” to workers asking for a livable wage, workers opted out of working until those demands were met. Not willing to succumb to that loss of profits, the Pullman company reverted to violence to force people to work, and when that didn’t work, they convinced President Cleveland to force them back with a decree and he did.  They returned to work disappointed but the strike movement was born and would soon sweep across almost every industry.

It had to, because Opting Out is the only power (other than anarchy)people really have when things are stacked against them. Although  our nation is often deemed a representative democracy, under the surface enough representatives kow-tow to powerful interests, so the will of the powerful becomes the law of the land.

And that shuts the major door which working people have to implement their requests. As long as democracy continues as “majority rules”, you really don’t need “opt out” …  Instead, you opt not to return an official you despise and replace him with one more inclined to follow your wishes.

Now with Citizens United in play we are not even in the same world politically, as we were only one year into the Iraqi War (2004) .. As plainly seen by today’s Republican Party, very strange people as candidates are propped up by hidden money and it appears that with so much money, even without popular support weird candidates could still win.

So in those times when government and your bosses business are allied against YOU, you have to take non-governmental action to express your sentiments in a costly enough ways, so you too become part of the discussion….

Talk is cheap; money isn’t.

So if they don’t talk to you sincerely about your money, you hit them in their money…. You opt out of working for them. “Nope, not taking this today”

As Americans we tend by our altruistic nature to put other people’s interests above ours.  Not all of us, but most of us really do feel that way. It is why the rest of the world likes us. But the time to worry over your bosses profits before raising the prices for your services, has probably past…. Statistics show so much money in the top 1% came from YOU, because our Republican Congress this past decade let them run their hands through money which should have been yours.  You are working far shy of your income potential just because they are paying you much less for your services than they could easily afford. External factors have all been ruled out.  The  reason you are not seeing your income grow, is because THEY don’t want you to see your income grow.

The simplest way to get more money in today’s world, is to opt out of working for that boss, either permanently or on a strike. Every billionaire sports franchise has suffered a player strike in this century.  The owners first balk at not meeting players demands, and the players opt out of playing in their events.

No one can argue that NHL, NFL, MLB, or the NBA employees are impoverished. Players strike because the owners’ profits comes solely from their labor and as profits rise, they  certainly are entitled and deserve a cut in on the action. So do those who make cars.  So do those who work for airlines. So do those who cook your fast food. So do those who teach.

Strikes are simply about “cuts and percentages of profit”… as in do we cut you in on our huge profit, or on the other side, do we cut you out of your huge profits until you let us in on the action?

Today corporate overreach is so big, it is eating our public schools. Most likely that means it already owns your life…pinched between your bills and  your bosses demands.  But don’t you really deserve better?  Don’t you wish you were paid more for the amount of work you do? Why should you roll-over and resign yourself simply to settling for basic survival, instead of really enjoying your short time on this planet?  Don’t the rules businesses use against each other, apply to you too?  And the sad answer is that up to now, you DO settle for subsistence because you have been trained “not to rock the boat” or you’ll lose your job.  Your obligatory duty has been to keep the charade of normality continuing at your bosses pleasure, an action which plays directly into the hands of the 1%.

“Look at these fools, performing at the highest productivity America has ever seen and doing it for peanuts, while I’m beach-partying.”

For just a little bit more each week, you too could be partying… Which is why I think that the opt out movement is going national here in the US… jumping the confines of education to spread through out the workplace.

It is already prevalent among the millionaires.  They’ve been opting out of taxes for years now.  They opt out of regulations they don’t like implemented to protect the health of citizens.  They opt out of zonings they don’t like.  They opt out of environmental regulations. They opt out of following OSHA requirements.  They have been opting out a long time, which is why they are so afraid you will too.  They know its effectability.

Today, at no harm to your kid, you can opt him out of testing knowing full well that only then will changes get made. Once you succeed, apply that philosophy to the rest of your life…  HB 50 is nothing less than preserving YOUR right as an American Citizen, to opt out.  Imagine if asking for higher wages put you in jail.  It may one day. It has in corporate-run societies of the past.  But it will not happen here if your government preserves your basic American Right…. to opt out.







Graphs are nice for a glance. But they are difficult to flip between when finding comparative data… And if you saw the graphs in the post below this, congratulations.  And if you haven’t yet, flip here and accept my congratulations .  These numbers come from those graphs….

Here are Excel spreadsheets to augment other comparisons.

Excel ELA levels for SBA

Excel MATH levels for SBA

And here are the visuals.

img sba ela

img sba math

A couple of trends stand out. One is that obviously that 11 Graders did not take this test as serious as their counterparts. For them there was no reason to take it and they obviously did not invest any effort.

Second is that those Delaware students in first and second grades whose curriculum WAS Common Core in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, received enough training and skills to do well on this test in 3rd and 4th and 5th grades. Expect this trend to continue and as each year graduates and marches across the columns… In 5 years the third graders will be in 8th Grade and the entire row will be near the top. (Congratulations to the Governor in office during 2020 under whose term amazing progress will be claimed to have been made in education….)

This simply means that if you were trained in Spanish two years before your Spanish test, you did better than those who weren’t trained in Spanish who had to convert everything from the original language learned, into the language now being tested.. I hope everyone gets the analogy so I don’t have to explain it.

We tested in a brand new way. Those trained in the new way did better than those trained in the old way whose brains had to translate what they once learned, over to what they now were being tested….

But caution should still be made when comparing our state to other states. No one can be held accountable for these scores because they are so many variables still in play.

One example: Delaware is well wired for the internet and all of its tests were done electronically.

That creates test taking problems in the higher grades. The student may do the complicated problem correctly but err in its input. Other states, particularly those outside the compact East, took their most of their upper level tests with pencil and paper, not having sufficient internet in place to test every student electronically. This pencil and paper testing familiarity could play in having the Midwest states score surprisingly higher in the upper grades, despite their scores being below Delaware’s in the early grades…

But quite strikingly…. whereas other states range of scores were consistent across their grades, Delaware’s change occurred because our state’s grades tumbled between 5th and 6th to then hold at that level, not the level of the first three grades. That precise pinpoint in time was the year we began teaching Common Core.  What this test proves is that if taught a new method you can be tested on the new method;  but if taught the old method, you are lost. Whereas other states (not as forwardly prepared for the Smarter Balances as Delaware) were lost across the board,  we were only lost 6th Grade on.

Each state sets their own cut scores.  So although Missouri may have taken the same test as Delaware students, it deemed a lower score as proficient in comparison to us.  All this graph shows us is the percentage of proficients.

All which support one developing conclusion. The idea that these tests would allow cross comparison across all boundaries is now defunct. Meaning that these tests if further developed to improve student development, may have some future merit, but to have them used for any accountability or ranking indicator, is shameful.

This test bears false witness as to whether a child is proficient or career or college ready.  We need to return to the old method. At least then, we knew….

For a broader picture, here is a interactive map which compares all Common Core states.  Running through the guantlet it becomes apparant rather quickly that one can only compare states taking the same test.

Not even the PAARC and Smarter Balanced are  on the same page. and a majority of states opted and got waivers to use their own test… So stacking those up against tests of another state simply can’t be done.

So below are the scores of our fellow consortium partners… The Smarter Balanced Assessment squad….  Click on each state to enlarge……..

One sees how closely aligned they are from state to state. Portend that factors and shades of differences are due to outside influences and not to brand new educational disruptions that have been inconsistent from state to state…

Although the Smarter Balanced results are consistent, it was very curious looking at the state tests prior, and comparing their scores prior with each other.  Obviously some state tests were much easier than others.



How would the growth trajectory for African-American students be different, and I’m in the same class as these whites, and Asians, and everyone else.  I’m doing the same thing but I grow more, at a higher growth rate than everyone else. ? Coverdale

I think that would get into some of the differentiation and instruction that teachers have to do and I think that teachers are, their job gets harder more and more every year, and things are being asked of our educators and they are doing a tremendous job in meeting the needs of individual students, but you’re right, there’s gonna be different growth expectations for different students in your same class..  Schwinn


My mommy says you’re not as good as us white people and thats why you have to stay in school longer… I’m glad I’m not black like you……………… We’re better.




“Yeah, so you’re going to have a steeper slope for those students who are currently lower performing, specifically, our students with disabilities, low-income, African-American, Hispanic-Latino, are starting at a much lower baseline so they are gonna be required to jump by 5,6, or 7 points each year as opposed to our Asian and white students who are gonna be required to jump 1 to 2 points each year.” Penny Schwinn….


Yo, Asian boy… You gotta practice basketball 7-8 hours after school, because you ain’t good at it at all. You blacks who are already good at it, you can practice 30 minutes if you want to.. but you Asian boys are so far behind, you gotta stay on the court from immediately after school to 10 pm every day… Remember you have to shoot 1550 points from the floor in your games against the blacks, otherwise you aren’t proficient….

But I don’t want to be a basketball player. I want to be a mechanical engineer……

Fvck you, Asian boy; you have to play; no opt outs….

Moral is… if you are going to do it to blacks, you have to do it to Asians in basketball as well.  Otherwise you are defined as a racist by treating one race far better than others….


“So is there someone in the classroom saying “Hey, African-American student, this is what you’re gonna have to deal with?”  Is there like an African-American student group?  Do you know what I mean? (wink-wink)” Coverdale

(See the amazing full transcript here…)

A Cure for Carlotta
by Bart King

A boy stood on deck and sniffed the salty sea air as the ship pitched back and forth. The smell of the sea was familiar and comforting. The boy’s earliest memories were of being at sea with his father. They would fish for hours, just the two of them, surrounded by the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

Now Enzio and his family were on a giant ship crossing the Atlantic. Also on board were hundreds of other people, mostly Italians like Enzio’s family. There were more people on board than lived in his entire village back home in Trevilla.

Enzio clattered down the iron steps to the steerage deck and dove into his bunk. He rested his head against his pillow. Trevilla wasn’t his home anymore. Gone was the fishing boat. Gone was the Mediterranean blue that he’d always taken for granted. Who knew what kind of home America would be?

One of the passengers was a girl named Carlotta. Her family was from Rome. Carlotta had been quick to tell him this on the first day of the voyage. “New York will not be so different from Rome,” Carlotta had said. “They are both great cities, but of course Rome is better. My father has already been to America twice. He is going to open a big department store downtown. My father had a successful business in Rome; all the wealthy ladies would buy from him.”

Carlotta loved to talk about herself, her family, and the rich and powerful people they knew. With so many hours to fill, Enzio did not mind. He noticed—but didn’t really mind—that she never asked about him or his family. Enzio was especially hungry for any details about America. He loved hearing Carlotta’s tales about life in a big city. It sounded exciting and a little scary.

Today, Carlotta was unusually quiet. Her face was pale, and she clutched her stomach with one hand and the ship’s rail with the other. “Up and down, up and down, will it never stop?” she groaned.

Enzio took Carlotta’s hand from the rail. He pressed his fingers on the inside of her wrist, an inch or so from the palm of her hand. “Press this place here, on your wrist,” Enzio said.

Carlotta looked at him miserably. Enzio could tell that only her illness kept her from arguing with him. How well he knew that look on her face. He’d seen it on the faces of many fishermen. He smiled encouragingly. “That’s right. Keep pressing.”

An hour later, Carlotta found Enzio. She was still holding her fingers to her wrist. “I do feel better,” she admitted. “How did you know it would work? Is your father a doctor?” she asked.

Enzio explained that his father had come from a long line of fishermen who had passed down the remedy for seasickness. One of Enzio’s uncles always wore a braided wristband with a bead that pressed into his wrist.

Interested, Carlotta asked to hear more about Enzio’s family. He explained that they were sailing to meet his mother’s brothers. One was a successful stonemason in upstate New York. Another had helped construct the Brooklyn Bridge. Still another worked as a welder, joining the steel frames of the city’s rising skyscrapers.
Carlotta looked at Enzio with new respect. “Why didn’t you tell me any of this?” Enzio shrugged. “You didn’t ask.”

Suddenly the blast of the ship’s horn startled them. Looking out the porthole, Carlotta shouted, “Look! The Statue of Liberty!”

They could hear the commotion of all the passengers talking at once. Soon the ship would dock at Ellis Island. Gazing out at the mighty but silent statue, Enzio wondered what marvelous things the statue might teach if only someone asked the right question.


question 1question 2


To receive the full-credit score of 1 point, the student must correctly select both paragraphs. The correct paragraphs are paragraph 1 and paragraph 3.

question 3

question 4

question 5

And that concludes your Smarter Balanced test for your child…

He would need to answer all of these correctly to deemed proficient.  How proficient were you?

The idiocy of using this one single event to rate teachers’ performance, to rate schools’ performance, to rate district [performance, by now should be apparent….

The questions are aimed not to determine what each child knows, but how well they can guess what the test takers were thinking….

Remember, none of these questions came from anyone who actually spends time teaching kids… or has children of their own…

Every parent who does know children, needs to opt out today…. It would be different if the test was a good test…. by good, we mean objective… “What is the capital of Delaware?”..  this test does not test knowledge. It tests whether you choose the same things I would choose… nothing more…

I was particularly struck by the last question asking the main idea….  Only B and D could be opted out…..

For picking A, C, E all of which have very good grounds… you child will be deemed a failure who is not college or career ready by the 5th Grade…..

I understand many may be confused or not sure if your child is better served by not taking the test.

But when a Blue Ribbon panel is handpicked to decide the Opt-Out issue, and THEY shock their “handlers” by all siding with opting-out is the best for children….  something big is up.

You HAVE to take that seriously.. Just as serious as you do the fact that their viewpoint was dismissed and the preset policy decided long ago, was poured into form and allowed to set….

Politics are not your concern.  Plush post electoral jobs for Markell, Sokola, or Jacques are not your concern.  Your child,…. is your concern….

When a handpicked group of people expected to side with the administration (that’s why they got picked) all flip and say: “no, this test is awful.  We have go allow parents to opt out”…. then that should set off alarm bells.

You may be able to opt out later, but I can’t guarantee it.. If you opt out now, and change your mind later, you can always opt back in.  Even as late as test day…

But opting out now is the smart move because it gives you wider options to do what is best for your child….

Here is all you need to say…..

I __________________, parent of ________________ am opting my child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  Please make sure he does not take the Smarter Balanced Assessment this spring….


Your favorite parent….





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