As the battle to opt-out heats up, we hear from the spokes-legislators of the DOE against it, but not so much from those on the side of parents… Granted the DSEA (teachers’ association) and the PTA both support opting out… and we have John Kowalko’s bill HB 50 removing all penalties to children whose parents opt them out,…. we really don’t have enough noise coming out of legislative hall regarding this single most important issue….

I think we need riots.

Hopefully they come later.  For now we need bills on the floor that limit the damage these tests will do to future children.

As I have said, there is nothing wrong with raising a bar if all understand that raising the bar is just another way to describe the status quo… Poverty for example will still exist and the knowledge retained in each poor students brain will be exactly the same by year’s end, no matter where the cut line for scores gets set…..

They know what they know whether 70% fail, or 70% pass…. It is simply a judgment call where the line will get set in order for politicians to make some hay….

The problem all contend, is that these bogus tests will have real consequences… Instead of rating a teacher on how well she/he teaches, she is rated on how many of her kids are “above” the cut line…. and how many are “below” the cut line. Forget whether they learned anything this year.. Forget that they passed all the in class tests showing they “got it” this year.  Forget that despite their tough inner city lives, they actually learned something and became better future citizens for it…  Because under this regime, absolutely none of that matters…

When an independent agency hired by the DOE to rate teachers to high standards came up that 99% of teachers were proficient, the head of the DOE said the agency was flawed.  When an independent agency hired by the DOE to certify whether our improving schools were improving gave two “A’s” to two of the priority schools, the head of the DOE said that agency also was flawed.. Even though it was the University of Delaware.

This DOE ignores all evidence contrary to its make-believe positions…

So here is what this little state can do…. (modeled off Florida’s recently passed test reform law)….

I   Cap the amount of out of class standard testing to 45 hours….. There are 180 days of 6 hrs each in a school year; 1080 hours leaving 1035 for subject instruction. This high number of test hours accomodates upper-classmates taking the SAT, PSAT, ACT, and AP exams.  It necessarily eliminate the Smarter Balanced for that grade level…

II.  Eliminates the state’s 11th grade exam in language arts.  This test is redundant after the 10th grade test, and makes room for all the other tests juniors must take.

III.  Reduce the weight of student performance on tests from 50 percent to 5 percent of teachers’ evaluations.  This is  what research  consistently tells us is a teachers’ impact versus poverty, lack of parents, early childhood abandonment, hunger, abuse, and self survival. Thus only if a teacher was marginal in all other capacities, would her test scores even matter in her evaluation.  This accomplishes the prime goal of letting teachers teach, and using the tests to gather information on what works and what doesn’t.  Teachers in poverty schools need not worry about a scores impact; they can continue teaching their hearts out.  Teachers in wealthy schools need not worry about a scores impact;  they too can teach their hearts out.

IV.  Require an independent panel (no educational corporation  or non-profit board members) to assess the validity of the new Smarter Balanced Assessment.

V.  Assess the validity over whether scores from this test can ever be used to determine school performance on the state’s signature A-F accountability system….

VI.  Require a uniform assessment calendar to be used by all schools, especially corrupt Charters intent on buying Mercedes  with non-refundable excess student transportation funds.

VII.   Allows districts flexibility in measuring student performance in subjects for which there is no state exam

VIII.  Bars schools from administering final exams in courses for which there are already standardized end-of-course tests

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We need a bill like this to hit the desk this month… That is the legislature’s job,….is it not?

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