Much has been said about Mr. Newton’s elucidation over how the DOE is giving itself a different standard than it itself gives to schools, teachers, students, and parents.
It says: ” you’re accountable and we’re not.. ”
If you read Mr. Newton’s piece you would know that the Delaware Department of Education was put on the spot by the Federal Bureau of Education for it’s poor performance and that the DOE came up with a plan that does not hold them accountable to any results other than trying as hard as they can.
The irony here is that the results for which they were busted, deal with test scores. Putting the DOE in the spot of telling teachers and 6 priority schools, you are to be fired and privatized because your scores show you are failing, yet in their plan to get themselves off the hook for their own low test scores of IEP students, to the Feds they only have to show they put some effort towards solving the problem…..
The reality behind this is that the DOE, of all entities, knows that test scores of students are not a good measurement of how well schools are doing… They know because they see the raw data. They see good students get low scores; they see bad students get high scores; they see schools making great improvements get low scores primarily because of parent’s income levels and subsequent lack of personal involvement with their children’s homework, and they see schools get high scores simply coasting along on minimum effort, again due to the affluence of that student body’s parents…. They see this.. They know!
Which is why, THEY CAN’T BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE TO ANYTHING BASED ON ….TEST SCORES!
Which is exactly what the intelligentsia has been saying all along. Test scores are a tool. We don’t rate a farmer on his hoe. We don’t rate a surgeon on his scalpel. We don’t rate a cashier by her register. And therefore we can’t rate a teacher, school, or education by its test scores. It’s a tool and nothing else.
When we tell Jack Markell we can’t rate student performance by test scores, we get the same answer:… (Just ask Greg Lavelle, Harris McDowell, Bruce Ennis, Dave McBride (the four who got “the treatment” and changed their anti-Smart Balance Assessment vote to yes))…
It’s not perfect but it’s just the way things have to be done. It is the pinning underneath the whole system.. We get chaos we are told, if we drop holding everything accountable to these test scores… (To some extent; on the smaller scale they have a point: Federal money is tied to test scores and since we can’t function without Federal money, we have to follow what “our bosses” (the Feds) insist we do)….
“So we have no choice” we are told… “We have to fold up these six schools and give them to our friends, charters, because of these student’s low test scores… ”
And this is what is wrong, just plain wrong… we do have a choice. We always have choice.
“Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” — Declaration of Independence
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.– Frederick Douglass
“In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: (1) Collection of the facts to determine whether injustices are alive; (2) Negotiation; (3) Self-purification; and (4) Direct action.” Letters from A Birmingham Jail
Every human being has the right, if not duty, to stand up for the betterment of our species. When faced with an iron-clad rule allowing no dissension or no input into negotiable arbitration, it is one’s utmost duty as a human being to stand up for ones principles and rebel.
Simply say no. and then fight to defend that almighty right given to us as a moral human being, the right to say no….
The obvious duplicitousness, (two faced lying) being done by this Department of Education in holding those underneath accountable to standards they themselves know to be absolute false manifestations of truth, show to the world that pursuit of this agenda any further by the rest of us, takes us down the wrong road….
The wrong road is instilling change based on false, fabricated data. If all peaceful and law-abiding attempts by parents to correct this future path are thwarted, impinged, eradicated, and punished, it then becomes the right, the duty of all citizens as felt by Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglas, and Martin Luther King, to overthrow the entity holding mankind in chains, and create a new world where what is right can continue to thrive.
Defiance comes in many forms: taking up ones musket against the mightiest army in the world; refusing to get out of ones seat on a bus; walking across a bridge in Selma.
This is why, Delaware must become the first state to galvanize a state-wide protest where all parents keep their children home on test week… Sorry, sick. Got a fever. Too contagious.
It is your money. It is your school. You have the right to make your will known and you have a moral obligation to do so. Because if you don’t, you are no different from those who supported the colonial governor during the Revolution, who supported slavery before the Civil War, who supported desegregation before the Civil Rights Act.
Opt out of a test that even the DOE knows is bogus and not worth a dime in the real scope of measuring progress or anything else for that matter. Because if you truly want to help Wilmington’s inner city children have a fair chance in life, it can be done in relatively very easy steps…
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….