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New York is exploding.  Not only with the mayors race which is centering now on the Bloomsberg educational policies, but the debacle of test scores across the state, those same ones that failed 70% of all kids in New York State, have driven passions up to a feverish pitch.

If you thought Rodel has always been on the right track, you need to see what is happening in New York State.

For those who don’t still know, the idea behind school reform is that you implode the public educational system, destroying it so badly, that private schools or charters, can move into the vacuum and educate children for a profit…. That is the underlying premise behind educational reform.  If a school is doing well, you say it isn’t, you force it to do test after test until it really isn’t doing well, and then you close it.

Philadelphia, Chicago, and DC all shut down tremendous numbers of public schools this year.   They intend to give the empty buildings to their friends for free, and allow them to open schools on those premises.  Their friends stand to make a lot of money.

Charter schools thrive on choice.  Every parent wants to choose the best for their child, and charter schools sell that well.    “Our student are good “they say, “for if they get low scores we kick them out.  That is why our scores are so high…”

And it is true.  If one looks at Delaware’s highest scoring school, it is a Charter. but it is a Charter with hardly any blacks, and hardly any children on free lunch… So duh… it’s scores are higher.  The problem in such a comparison, is that public schools, with the same amounts of rich white kids sprinkled with a few Asians, do better than charter schools of the same mixture.  Public schools have more resources; public schools teach better.  Likewise upon looking at the low end, where almost all the students are on free lunch, public school low income students, score significantly higher than do their counterparts in Charter Schools.  Again, more resources.

But charters still argue with choice.  If your school is failing they say, why should your kid be forced to remain in a failing school? That argument is very deceptive and certainly rings true upon first hearing…. Why would we keep a genius in a bad school, when a great one opened up a block away?

The answer to that question is simply not every child is a genius.  As there is a ying to a yang and a Laurel to a Hardy, their is a Sith Lord to the aura of choice… (Dark Side; get it?) 🙂

That is that 40% of kids in Charter Schools get kicked back to public because they are bringing down the test scores.

So… 40% is the same as 2 our of 5, or 4 out of 10….  Choice is ruining the lives of 2 out of every 5 kids, … They got pulled out, and pushed back; losing a whole year because their parents “choiced” them into a school that taught by test scores…

So offering choice, ruins the lives of 2 out of 5 students.  That is two who are ruined to three who make it.  Now if there is nothing wrong with the public school to begin with, we just created a negative situation out of one where none occurred.

2 people our of 5 would have learned had that Charter not opened.  Actually all 5 would have learned.  But now, 2 people out of five are remedial, simply because the Charter School wants to lie about their high test scores…

So when someone pulls a Diller and starts screaming that children need a choice…. let them explode and while their insides are dripping off the ceiling, … say “by your figures, two out of 5 students will  be forced to transfer out to keep your schools test scores up. Where is their choice? Those people don’t have a choice.  They can chose to go into a charter school, and you’ll get to keep the money, but they can’t choose whether or not they get to stay.

Better to have all students succeed in a good public school, than force 2 our of 5 to become the Lost Society…

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.3 million is $300,000 dollars to those of you not mathematically inclined… How did they do that?  By transferring only part of that money they withheld from the Christina School District over to Charter Schools… They take $2.3 million away from Christina;  give $2 million to Charter Schools, and presto, they pocket a cool $.3 million and no one is wiser.

So did we just hear that right?  They are taking $2.3 million from the neediest school district in the state, one with the highest number of low income students, and giving it to charter schools, which cater to the wealthy?

Yes.

Are they taking government money originally earmarked for the public’s school children, and just giving it away to friends of theirs, to do with as they wish?

Yes.

Your money. Earmarked for your children.  Now goes to wealthy friends of “theirs” who for a profit, can now open up a “charter school” to make money while you get poorer..

That is what charter schools are.   Private businesses who make  their money by enticing children’s parents to sign up, then collecting money from the state to educate that child.

Remember Chris Castagno?  He ran as a Republican for New County Council Executive once? Well under the guize of 4048 Associates, his group got $100,000 a month for an old abandoned building he let Pencader Charter School move into….. to the tune of $1.1 million a year... The total Pencader cost to the state that year was around $2.9 million.

Does it matter that the school was so poorly run, it had to be shut down? Yes, to the tune of $1.1 million dollars of income each fiscal year that is no longer coming in… As for the children?  Heck they can go back to public school; its probably better for them anyways…..

So over the life of  Pencader, Chris Castagno made $7 million from money that was earmarked for your public school child.

And he is not the only one… Every developer has property just sitting around.  Putting more money into the existing school system does nothing for them. Ahhh… but put it into Charters?…….

This new $2 million going to Charter Schools is a “thank you”… It has not one thing to do with education.  While Christina’s impoverished school children go through the day without school lunches,  the wealthy of this state can toast Jack Markell with the most expensive champagne, the richest caviar, all for his part in helping them take from the poor to waste upon themselves…

$2 million straight from Christina, will now be handed over directly to wealthy private charter schools…

Unless you complain, beginning now.

Today is School Board Elections…Polls are open 10-8…  If anyone is sponsored by Markell or Rodell or RTTT or WSFS, don’t vote for them.. If anyone is sponsored by DSEA, they are on the students side. They are safe.

So go out and vote like a goat… Be…  B-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-D

Common Core is being defeated.  Some states like Delaware are doubling down which is about as effective as using children fo stem the Russian Invasions of Berlin.  Most states are abandoning the idea before they lose their investment…..

Common Core is actually uniting various groups once thought completely unmixable, bonding them in opposition to its implementation.  Called “Obamacore” by Conservatives.. Called a “Mistake” by Teachers Unions. Called a “Boondoggle” by state legislators trying to find ways to pay for its cost. Called a “National Disgrace” by Progressives worried over its damage to our international competitiveness. Called a “Tyranny” by the Tea Party, outraged over the complete loss of local control…

One entity still defends it.  Wall Street and those who serve it.

For those of you who don’t know, Common Core was actually developed by our state’s Governors. Jack Markell was a one of the leaders who pushed this. The program was then adopted by Obama and under his secretary of Education, Arne Duncun, all federal money as been tied to its implementation.

In fairness, I like Common Core. It embodies most of the ideas I have stressed since blogging.  However, though it sounds great in theory, I must admit, it is not working.   Our children are being denied a great education because we are teaching remedial math and remedial English over and over again for one reason…. to boost test scores.   The reason for this focus on test scores,is because that is how we determine which schools we will close down, which principals will be forced to resign, and which teachers will be fired.

Obviously in that environment, all a child will learn, is how to take the test, and how to score the most points with their answers.  Nothing of which will help them or help us in the real world when they become our newest generation of the employed….

The problem is not with the principles or aims of Common Core. The problem lies with the tests and their current use as a weapon to hold over people’s heads.  The tests were meant to be used as a tool for analysis…  How much did Johnny know in September. How much does Johnny know in January?  How much will Johnny know in June?  What a great tool if it were honestly applied and not doctored up, contorted, or flagrantly adjusted in order to prevent a horrible outcome that has absolutely nothing to do with each student’s educational needs!

From the American Teachers Union –Randi Weingarten….““The Common Core is in trouble, There is a serious backlash in lots of different ways, on the right and on the left.”

Across the nation states are rushing out tests based on the new standards without preparing teachers and designing new curricula… Here the states are saying… “Take this test you’ve never seen. If you don’t do good, you’ll lose your job.” “Kid, on this test you’ve never seen, you did bad. You can’t graduate despite your 4.0 average.” “Ladies and Gentlemen; parents of this district! Your attention please! We have to close this school because your students, failed this test on stuff they’ve never seen.”

That is why parents are fighting back. 8 moms in Texas have pushed a bill in Texas to roll back the number of tests required to graduate from 15 to 5. Governor Perry will veto it.

That is why one child in five fails the Texas standard tests.

Alabama, Indiana, Georgia and South Dakota have legislation ongoing to pull or modify Common Core Standards.

Kentucky just had a 30-40 point drop in scores because of Common Core. The assessment you took this year was much more rigorous than anything that you’ve had before. It takes three or four years for the teachers and the kids to catch up.

But legislators are not the ground level.. Teachers are. New York put a message board so teachers could comment on issues they were having with Common Core implementation….. Most of the comments are negative.

There is something wrong with the timing of this test. I thought we were testing kids on their ability to really read closely but all they had time to do was rush rush rush. Also what was weird was the passages were not that hard – so it’s not going to look that hard. And the questions weren’t that hard. But the answers were ridiculous. Adults with PhDs wouldn’t have known which were the right answers sometimes – really. But when you have barely a minute to think about it, it really became a test of how much you could rush or how much you could remember off the top of your head….

My sixth grader was in tears after the second day of the test. Didn’t even get to the essay – has NEVER had that happen before. What’s the point of making kids feel this awful about themselves? He’s a good student, now he feels terrible

What’s up with reading four pages of directions to the kids before they start? My English Language Learners were in a daze…

Watched my child do test prep booklets, test prep mornings, test prep afterschool, even test prep Saturdays. Then she didn’t even get to finish the test. Taking her to a bookstore this afternoon to find some real reading..

Third graders had to keep rereading and rereading these long answers to find them in the passages. Is that really what we want third graders doing? I’m worried about them poring over these small details forever.

The test wasn’t hard at all but timely. Students couldn’t finish the exam. How can we judge students on an essay when they weren’t able to do the essay because of timing. Common core wasn’t written to test speed reading it was written I believe for deeper comprehension. Its almost as if we set up our students for failure. Also for a company to use text from their books in an exam seems unethical and unfair. Lastly I wonder if the writers of the test should be judged on some of the grammatical errors that occurred in the answers that seemed not to make sense and often times looked like two choices could answer the questions…..

Including questions that were both tedious to interpret and would require the stamina of an Olympic athlete to answer is at best unrealistic, and at worst, cruel. I am also baffled by the decision to include texts that are recommended on the Engage NY website in terms of level of complexity for 7th graders, on a 5th grade exam. Is the message for teachers then that grade-level reading is now inadequate and instead, all students should be reading several grades above their level?…

Is your blood boiling yet? If you have children, I’d be willing to bet it is….

Spend an evening reading what is really going on with Common Core….

Then, do something about it….. Start with calling your Governor….

Lucy Calkins, a professor at Teachers’ College at Columbia University: “I’m a big supporter of the Common Core. I wrote the best-selling book about it,” Calkins said. “But this makes even me question it.”