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….




Today an agreement was announced by leaders in Congress and a conference to hammer the differences between the Senate and House Bills will soon be set.  The target for passage is by the end of the year.

You are probably wondering what this portends?

In synopsis fashion it goes like this:

On Accountability

  • states would still have to test students in grades 3-8 and once in high school in reading and math.
  • States would get to decide how much those tests count for accountability purposes.
  • States would be in the driver’s seat when it comes to goals for schools, school ratings, and more
  • States would be required to identify and take action in the bottom 5 percent of schools, and schools where less than two-thirds of kids graduate.
  • States would also have to identify and take action in schools that aren’t closing the achievement gap.

On Opt-Outs

  • It would allow states to create their own testing opt-out laws.
  • It maintains the federal requirement for 95 percent participation in tests.
  • States would have to take low testing participation into consideration in their accountability systems. Just how to do that would be up to them, though.
  • The agreement “leaves a lot of this to states to figure out and the secretary’s ability to interfere with those state decisions is astonishingly limited.”

On Programs

  • Substitutes block granting  instead of delineated granting for physical education, mathematics and science partnerships, and Advanced Placement.
  • Living on as separate line item, will be the 21st Century Community schools program, which pays for after-school programs.
  • Early childhood investment is in. But the new program will be housed at the Department of Health and Human Services, not the Education Department.
  • The new research and innovation program that was described as the next generation “Investing in Innovation” program, made it into the bill.

On School Choice

No Title I portability—that means that federal funds won’t be able to follow the child to the school of their choice.

Other Funding Issues

  • No changes that would steer a greater share of the funds to districts with high concentrations of kids in poverty.
  • Some changes to the Title II formula (which funds teacher quality) that would be a boon to rural states.


(Anthology courtesy of John Young; printed by Exceptional Delaware.)


• Test scores show we perform poorly.
• America performs poorly compared to international students (other nations do not test poverty).
• Schools are failing.
• Teachers are lazy.
• Teachers are incompetent.
• Lack of Grit is an obstacle to success.
• Lack of Rigor causes failure.


• Policies of merit pay and bonuses are creating turnover not stabilizing it.
• The constant shifts in staff based on test score accountability create understandable teacher inertia to meaningful policy change.
• Our schools have been subject to veritable unending policy change since 1983 (Nation at Risk).
• Testing is misused to label and destroy the profession of teaching.
• Testing is used to inappropriately measure schools of education (SB51).
• Testing is used to label schools and fuel a choice law that shifts funds and creates economic chaos in our schools.
• Property tax funding base is unstable.
• Special education is dramatically underfunded and frequently violated ….School boards can help, but honestly are largely an exercise in petty ego wrapped up in pseudo-authority.


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