Mark Murphy, Department of Education’s Secretary, will be the guest on Norm Oliver’s crossfire.   Unfortunately the only way one can receive this live, is to have access to Comcast.  It will be on YouTube sometime tomorrow…   Sadly, that means that 85% of parents will miss it.

However, if you are a parent, they do take calls, and even you are not watching , you should call this number an ask polite questions.   Call anyway….  1 (302) 661-4468…. and if watching: PLEASE TURN YOUR TV DOWN!…

One should expect dancing around the critical issues.   If you call, and ask a direct question,  all the parents of Delaware have a better opportunity in making their case.

This call is highly critical in the Race For Doing What Is Best For Your Child, or as educational professionals like to call it….. RFDWIBFYC…..

Here are some questions that would be nice to get answers….

1) There are two rumors circulating around Delaware today; both with proponents who are certain they are right.  … Can you clarify here now, if students will be taking the SBA’s this school year 2014-15, or is this year the last year of the DCAS?

2) “Common Core is under attack by parents everywhere.  Two parts of contention,  One is that the tests are ridiculously hard for their age groups, so hard that recently professionally working parents can’t even answer them,  and two, is that teachers are getting fired over this test which appears to be a set-up, to make them fail.   Both of these are well documented here in the first state.  What changes can you as Secretary of Education make or sway, to (a) , make a test that really tests children’s knowledge, and (b) to drop the part that demands teachers, even great ones, get fired because the test was taken on “a bad day”?

3) Why can’t teachers be rated on all other factors, called component one, component two, component three, component four, and use the data from component five only if the other four are borderline?  As you well know, we have an outstanding teacher who did not meet goal, because they set their goals too high…  Though they are considered an excellent teacher on components one, two, three, four, only because of component five are in danger of being fired…   Why do you have to use these ridiculous standardized test scores to be the only one that determines if a teacher stays or goes?

4) Charter schools should be unionized, insuring their teachers can earn as much as public school teachers… if not, if charter school teachers become the dregs of the teaching profession, because they are cheaply paid,  This creates a constant flow of professional talent from charters to protected public schools every summer,  This means charter schools will be inferior.  Do you support unions entering Charter Schools?  They have the legal right to organize.

5) We all know that HB 165 and especially SB 51 are just pap for the Feds who are giving you money.  They said they need this put into law so you can get money, and so it went into law so we could get money.  But both are harmful to education.   SB 51 will water down the University of Delaware’s current top-notch educational teaching program.  Currently the University of Delaware put out the top 37th best teachers as ranked by US News and Business Report.   As has well been pointed out across this state,  this bill simply demands that Common Core be taught to these teachers.  As you well know, the studies that say teachers are not prepared, are studies related to Common Core.  Teachers know math.  They know English.  They just don’t know what AIR (the test makers) will put on the test….  What do you intend to do, as this legislation takes effect and begins watering down the high quality of teaching which exists now?

6) Teach For America…. How can you with a straight face… support SB 51 to toughen Delaware’s standards of Education, then turn around and hire a private firm, Teach For America, selling substitute teachers who have a minimum of 20 days of training?  And you fire seasoned professional teachers because of their student’s scores and then stick the 20 day wonders into teaching their classes?

7) Charter Schools steal money from Public Schools.  You can spin it however nicely you wish, but the bottom line, is that when a child goes from public to charter, the money follows him…  It has been documented by studies here in Delaware, that education is consistent with poverty levels.  If you have a charter school with only 17% African Americans, and they all come from affluent families, it will do splendidly against public schools which have to teach the rest of the cities children, most who do not have the support those affluent families have in their home environments.  But when you have charter schools and public schools both teaching students in the same economic spectrum, public school’s scores are higher by far.    Just use Pencader and Moyer as an example.  (Quick praise here for Kuumba which beat the odds)…  Since charter schools are private, and are actually being used  as moneymakers to generate profit for their investors in other states. how is giving them taxpayer’s money in return for substandard education, helping our children in our inner city.  Wouldn’t it make sense for those schools to  become private, fully funded by their own money, and keep the taxpayers money in the public schools where 80% of our children receive their education?

8) Can you explain why Common Core tests as were released by AIR in the Standard Balanced Assessments, are too hard for most adults to finish?  Have you marketed these tests?  Has anyone in your department taken them?  Has anyone passed the third or fourth one?  I’m not even going to ask about the 8th and 11th grade ones… Have you seen them?

Eleventh Grade Math Test PDF

Eighth Grade Math Test PDF

Fourth Grade Math Test PDF

Third Grade Math Test PDF

They’re impossible….. There has to be a reason why these tests are so hard! They are hard to read even. Don’t the test makers speak English? New York failed 70% of their students using tests like this… These aren’t higher standards… they are convoluted twisted, sadistic tests who have one goal, to make even good students fail… Can you explain to us all, why it is so important to test 3rd, 4th, 5th Graders with questions 99% of successful adult Americans could not get correctly?

9) Common Core tests have been compared to the SAT. They are incredibly much more difficult than the SAT’s. Why are we making children take tests from a very young age, that are more difficult than the test you took to go into teaching? Is it to force teachers to fail, so you can them fire them despite their contracts, despite there unions, and despite their tenured positions? That would make since if that was the real aim. In fact that seems to be the only angle that makes sense in punishing our school children for this anti union political motive…

10) Congratulations on you appointment from Rodel to Secretary of Education. You must feel you jumped from the frying pan into the fire coming aboard this year… Recently your former employer, RODEL, changed their goals.. When they started, they originally were proposing increased funding for public education to make these changes happen. AS you know, your boss and our governor, has cut back on the actual money flowing into the districts to pay for the costs those educational corporations are demanding to bring us up to Common Core standards… As you well know, RODEL’s target date of 2015 was quietly pushed up to 2022… with very little fanfare. As a former RODEL employee, and as head of education for the state of Delaware, you certainly know that one of the biggest obstacles to bettering education is the lack of state funding. Yet you promoted the increase of capital funding to charter schools, as well as the cuts in funding to every district in the state. You certainly know, as the Christina School Board pointed out, that most of the funding you give out, isn’t yours. It’s the fed’s money. Every district that accepts the Fed’s money must now, next year, figure how to pay for those programs on their own. The Christina Board appears very wise not to grow, then have to cut back the following year…. As the one person in charge of all education in Delaware, how to you propose to get more funding directly into classrooms to pay for teachers, programs, police officers, air conditioner maintenance, and soap, with your hands tied by your formal employer and your current one?
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Please, Please, Please call… Every parent in Delaware is counting on you… The lines should be full, and you certainly have my permission to print these and ask any of them, in case you don’t have a question of your own, or feel qualified to even ask. You are a parent. You are more than qualified to be concerned about your son or daughter! For you all know in these type of situations, the entire state Board of Education, The entire Rodel Foundation, the entire Charter School Network, the entire Delaware School Board Association, all two of Dave Sokola and Darryl Scott, will all be ordered by the Governor to freeze up the phone lines. Call early, and call often…

The good news is that the host, Norm Oliver, is more interested in hearing from you, a real person, than all those old farts put together…. So please call, tell them you are a very confused parent, and would like to get answers before it is too late for you child… If you have a child, tell the screener what grade and what school…

Again the number is…. (302) 661-4468.... And PLEASE REMEMBER TO TURN YOUR TV VOLUMES DOWN…..

Let’s have a great show…

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