TITLE 14

Education

Free Public Schools

CHAPTER 1. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Subchapter III. State Public Education Assessment and Accountability System

 

(d) The assessments required in subsections (b) and (c) of this section shall measure:

(1) Student performance as required by any federal mandate; and

(2) For grades 3 through 8, the academic progress of individual students.

(Note:  The assessment (required by any federal mandate) is the Smarter Balanced Assessment….)

(e) Notwithstanding any law or regulation to the contrary, matriculation and academic promotion requirements imposed by § 153 of this title shall be based upon the student’s assessment results received on assessments…

(Meaning, whether your child passes or fails his grade, will be determined solely by this test (provided of course if he does not have an IEP))

§ 152 State high school diploma requirements; certificate of performance.

(a) The Department of Education shall award a “State of Delaware High School Diploma” to a student graduating from a Delaware public high school.

(b) The Department shall award diplomas to students who:

(1) Successfully complete the prescribed course requirements established by the State, or the district, if district credit requirements are higher than those of the State; and

(2) Achieve proficient levels of performance, relative to the State high school content standards, on the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title in conjunction with other academic indicators as defined by Department regulations.

Meaning that a child must meet the state requirements AND must achieve the level of proficiency on the SBA (Smarter Balanced Assessments), a test set three grade levels higher than the current grade any student is in.

How could this have happened?  Because of the proprietary wall, no one really knew what the SBA was like when this was passed. Rushed through by Dave Sokola (SB 51) .    Most thought it was a test verifying the minimum level required for passage.  In such a case that bill would make sense.  Though what it actually does, is say your child cannot be promoted to the next grade if he does not pass a test pulled from the curriculum three grades ahead of him…  

“70% of Delawareans are expected to not meet proficiency…” on the SBA,’ says Delaware’s Secretary of Education, Mark Murphy.   Well, no wonder.  Look at the tests…   Professional adults cannot even pass them.  But there was a safety clause put in….

(c) A high school student who fails to achieve a proficient level of performance on the assessments pursuant to this section may retake the assessments each succeeding year they continue in high school….

The SBA is administered from 3-8, every year to every child.  What this appears to state is that a child who graduates and did not pass the 8th grade proficiency test, will not graduate.  He can try in 9th grade.  He can try in 10th grade.  He can try in the 11th grade.  He can try in the 12th grade.  And then, if he doesn’t pass, even though an A student otherwise, there is no option available.  We have a 12 year graduate who must take the 12th grade continuously until he passes the 8th grade proficiency test…

The problem is, with this test (and if you have not looked at them or taken them, then you have no right to comment, since whatever opinion you will express, will be changed once you’ve done so), that is a very real possibility.  Not so with the old tests.  But this one, yeah.

(d) The Department shall issue a Certificate of Performance to a student who has met the requirements of the student’s Individualized Education Program but has not completed the high school graduation course credit requirements established by the State,

Meaning your special education child, who currently can achieve a diploma by finishing his courses through his specialized program, will now be differentiated, culled out from regular humanity, by giving them a sticker that says “good job”.  No diploma though, even though they know more than regulars students but just are too challenged to perform the idiotic maneuvers required on this idiotic test… If you don’t think it is idiotic, here, try it… 

Now here is where it gets tricky….

§ 153 Matriculation and academic promotion requirements.

(b) The Department may approve other individual student indicators that may be used to determine a student’s performance relative to the state content standards. Such indicators shall:

(1) Provide a measure of individual student performance relative to the state content standards; and

(2) Include performance on district-administered assessments pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, performance on end-of-course assessments, student classroom work products, or classroom grades supported by evidence of student work that demonstrates a student’s performance level pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

Meaning though Section B allows that the Department “may”, and that is an important word… “may” approve other individual student indicators,  the AND at the end of line one, guarantees that whatever else is used, in must comply to the standards set in the future section of (e)…..  So let’s jump two steps forward and see what section (e) is really about….

(e) The Department shall identify and certify alternative assessments to determine whether students have reached the same proficient level of performance as is required on the reading and mathematics assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title. Any alternative assessment shall be equally rigorous, valid and reliable as the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title. Approval of any alternative assessment by the Department shall require the joint approval of the Secretary and the State Board of Education who shall issue written findings supporting the Department’s decision to approve an alternative assessment. Nothing contained in this subsection shall prevent an individual school district, with approval of the Department, from establishing alternative assessments to determine whether students have reached the same proficient level of performance required on the reading and mathematics assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title. Any alternative assessments proposed by an individual district shall, prior to approval, be found by the Department to be equally rigorous, valid and reliable as the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title. Approval of any alternative assessment by the Department shall require the joint approval of the Secretary and the State Board of Education, who shall issue written findings supporting the Department’s decision to approve an alternative assessment. Any district that receives such approval shall provide such continuing evidence of the alternative assessment’s reliability and validity as the Secretary and State Board of Education shall require to ensure compliance with this subchapter.

Basically is says to use any alternative other than the SBA a very high standard must be first met…  The Secretary and Department of Education have to approve for one.  Then the state board of education has to approve for two, and must take the time to issue written findings supporting their decision…

“Nothing contained in this subsection, however shall prevent an individual school district (read charter school) from establishing alternative assessments (different from the SBA) that meet the same levels set by the SBA… ” Though this was deemed as an alternative way to test students, it depends upon who is doing the asking… It is a subjective judgment by the Department of Education, rubber-stamped by the Board, on whether your school’s test is 3 grades higher than is current, or not…  The danger, is exactly what happened in Indiana which cost the former Secretary of Indiana’s education his newly acquired  job in Florida…  Arbitrary guidelines for those you want to favor, tough guidelines for those you want to punish.  They are capricious, and decided solely on the whim of the Secretary of Education… and can only be challenged by the State Board of Education… which is very unlikely to happen.

But for those who thought this bill was a method to get around the SBA, the new standards must meet the SBA level of difficulty. Which “unbeknownest to us then, and knownst to us now”, is 3 grade levels higher than what we have hitherto up to now, deemed proficient….. ( Again, see for yourselves…. )

Any alternative assessments proposed by an individual district shall, prior to approval, be found by the Department to be equally rigorous, valid and reliable as the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title. Approval of any alternative assessment by the Department shall require the joint approval of the Secretary and the State Board of Education, who shall issue written findings supporting the Department’s decision to approve an alternative assessment. Any district that receives such approval shall provide such continuing evidence of the alternative assessment’s reliability and validity as the Secretary and State Board of Education shall require to ensure compliance with this subchapter.

So the idea is still the same… they must meet SBA level of proficiency or not get a diploma.  A sticker like one gets at this pediatrician or family dentist’s office will have to do.

If most 99% of professionally employed adults cannot pass these tests, one can be assured those with disabilities, low income, and other issues, will have equally high failure levels.

So what happens to your child?

(1) A 3rd, 5th or 8th grade student whose performance on the reading portion of the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title is Below the Standard, Level II on the statewide assessment, shall not advance to the next grade…

(2) A 3rd, 5th or 8th grade student whose performance on the reading portion of the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title is Well Below the Standard, Level I on the statewide assessment, shall not advance to the next grade….

(3) An 8th grade student whose performance on the math portion of the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title is Below the Standard, Level II on the statewide assessment, shall not advance to the next grade…

(4) An 8th grade student whose performance on the math portion of the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title is Well Below the Standard, Level I on the statewide assessment, shall not advance to the next grade….

(5) With respect to a student whose performance continues to be deficient after completion of the retention year, the Department may not require that the student’s district retain the student at grade level for another year, but shall require that the district develop an individual improvement plan pursuant to Department regulations.

(6) For a student whose performance on the statewide assessment pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title at grade 6 or 7 in mathematics or grade 4, 6 or 7 in reading whose score assessment does not meet a proficient level of performance relative to the state content standards, the local school district shall, in consultation with the student’s parent or parents or guardian, develop an individual improvement plan…

(7) The Department may require school districts to undertake academic improvement activities…

And this is not based on passing a remedial test showing basic skills.  This is a test based on curriculum currently three grade levels ahead of what you and I learned in school;  ahead of what our older children all learned in school; and ahead of what all current children have so far learned  in school…  Common Core failed 70% in Kentucky.  Common Core failed 70% in New York, and it is predicted to fail 70% here in Delaware according to Mark Murphy himself….  Obviously our legislature will have to create a stop gap.  We simply don’t have room to fail 70% of our students and make them take their current grade over.  Or go to summer school.  But that is exactly what this bad law demands!

Because if one does not meet that unbelievably high bar set for students?

(f) School districts may require any student to participate in academic improvement activities specified for the student by the district in accordance with the Department rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this section or in accordance with the district’s own policies. A student who refuses to comply with a district requirement for participation in academic improvement activities shall be subject to the same disciplinary actions as for other acts of absenteeism or truancy.

Parents! Forget that family trip to Disney World next summer.  Forget your summer vacation plans.  Forget any control over your family’s life across any summer  in years to come… For at will, any administrator in any school, can dictate that your child attend remedial classes, provided they were one of the 70 % who were not deemed proficient on material tested 3 grades ahead….

Be gentle when you get your child’s SBA scores and remedial notices.  It is not your child who failed you.  It is your legislators. Their names…

Dave Sokola.

Darryl Scott.

Pete Schwartzkoph.

Valerie Longhurst.

Greg Lavelle.

Michael A. Barbieri

Patty Blevins

Debbie Hudson

Debbie Hefferman

Harris McDowell

Bob Marshall

And to be fair, there are those who in vain, voted to derail this process… giant heroes seeing this whole schennigan as a flawed and dangerous piece of legislation.  These need your support so much this fall…

Paul Baumbach

John Kowalko

Charles Potter

James Johnson

Helene Keeley

Bryan Townsend

Ernie Lopez

Bob Venables

Gerald Hocker

Colin Bonini

Brian Pettyjohn

David Lawson

Cathy Cloutier

Gary Simpson

Andria Bennet

Stephanie Bolden

Mike Mulrooney

Kim Williams

 

You should never vote for someone who hurts children. Whether blinded by business, lobbyists, or in search of a personal bond with this administration, there is no excuse for hurting children….

Disrupting a family’s trip to Disney World over something so arbitrary and pointless and ridiculous, is grounds for being thrown out of office….

Only you can do it. Get busy.

 

 

 

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