The entire nation was set on the course of Common Core … Delaware raced to be first… Filling out applications to “Race To The Top” it was accepted first and there Common Core had an extra year of implementation.  Therefore seeing how Delaware is functioning is good for showing how the rest of the nation shall fare when it too reaches that level Delaware now is …

Fact is, in very many areas, solely because of Common Core, Delaware is less better than it was before “Race To The Top” became a priority. We as the first state, are now fighting for survival in a race to the bottom because of our state’s enthusiasm to embrace an untried, untested, and unproven strategy to implement better learning processes….

This can be seen no better than our failure to improve ELL in Hispanics here in Delaware…

Again charts show this better than do words…..

Hispanic score gainsOne can see from the above grade 4 score-chart, gains have been made nationally on the NAEP since 2005 to 2015, a rather impressive achievement, and something which would be celebrated if it were not completely overshadowed by the current focus on achievement gaps.

Hispanic score gains 8

Same with the national Grade 8 scores on the NAEP. All segments trend upward over ten years, an amazing feat worthy of celebration.  Meaning we are doing a much better job in taking children who have never heard English and do not have it reinforced at home, and giving them the ability to survive in our English speaking country.

But instead of celebrating this good thing, we beat up ourselves over a self-imposed restriction called “the achievement gap”…

So we are complaining and trying to develop a process which makes children who don’t know English and don’t have it reinforced at home, catch up and surpass those who grew up learning English and always have it reinforced everywhere they go…

It is pretty silly really, isn’t it?   Shouldn’t we concentrate on the big picture and improve the reading rates for all Hispanics and ignore the fact that the achievement gap will always be there and possibly grow larger due to natural selection?   The only way to REALLY improve the Hispanic achievement gap is to pull them out of their families and put them in English speaking ones of higher incomes… Something that will never happen.

It should also be acknowledged here, that before we were worried about testing, Hispanic scores rose much higher than after we began to worry about them.  This should be no surprised to anyone who’s followed what goes on in education lately because of the testing requirements placed on teachers and students.

Because WE are focusing only on closing achievement gaps, we are teaching only the test to our Hispanic students.   All they learn is how to take the tests. This readily explains the slumps from 2013 to 2015 in the charts above.  This slump comes about because of pressure top-downward.  Teachers are told they have to get scores up on their Hispanic children.  And the only way to do that is to teach them how to fill in the bubbles of the test, how to accurately guess the right answers, and when and when not just skip a question.  Strategy outranks knowledge of language….

And make no mistake!  All children are suffering from this strategy that Common Core forces on every single school required to be evaluated by these tests. It is just that with students who learn one language at school and another at home, the differences are wider and more pronounced.  One can immediately see the impact without  other issues clouding the picture.

And so if you are astute, (I’m very lucky, most of MY readers are) you are probably putting two and two together and saying to yourself that 1) if the national average score has risen for all Hispanics over the past ten years, that 2) if Common Core and its tests negatively impact the learning process for all students, that if 3) Delaware has a year more of Common Core under its belt than other states, then probably Delaware is near the NAEP’s bottom rank of all states when one compares the gains or losses Hispanics have faced during the Markell administration’s second term.  If you are astute, that is what you should be thinking right now…..

Hispanic ranking by state 4

Hispanic ranking by state 8

Delaware, 2nd to last of all 50 states in gains made by Hispanic 8th graders ….. Thanks, Jack Markell and Mark Murphy.

WE went the wrong direction in Race To The Top and corporate reform… Today it is very obvious that the test has got to go.  We already have great overall accountability in the NAEP… These calls from lobby shills saying we need to keep the Smarter Balanced to make schools accountable, are exactly who and what is ruining education for all of 130,000 + of Delaware’s children in public schools.

Nothing wrong with accountability.. it worked very well until we started focusing on the Smarter Balanced Assessments.  Again, don’t take my word. Just look at the charts.

 

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