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It’s an intergalactic kegger where the last one standing is holding the check……

Kilroy has it up….. 

9 states bailout, 4 thinking about bailing and 4 states weren’t dumb enough to join

And that does not include South Carolina which dropped out and this year gave their own test.

As  states bail out, the fixed cost of running the Smarter Balanced Assessment becomes split by fewer and fewer states. What was originally costed out being divided by 26 states and territories… , then dropped down to 24 states and territories,  then down to 19…….  and now… down to just 16 governing members of the Smarter Balanced consortium….. soon to be 9….

Whereas Delaware once paid one 26th of the Smarter Balanced cost,,, it is now being hit with one 9th….  We will be hit with a $50 million dollar tab for playing the Smarter Balanced Assessment game…   $50 million already being charged to us because we didn’t have enough sense to bail…

“Your check, sir…….”

This is Dave Sokola’s legacy.  This is Earl Jacques legacy. This will be how all of Delaware will remember Jack Markell as the budget for 2017 gets smacked with $50 million big ones..  and we will be paying a huge bill for a test we did not use…

We need to get out of the Smarter Balanced Consortium.  Everyone else is. We need to realize the only reason we are still in is for Jack’s pride.  It does nothing for students. It does nothing for teachers. It does nothing for principals… except focus all their attention 180 degrees away from learning…. We are dumbing down Delawareans and our educational leadership is directly showing us the way.

It has been 7 days now that the Delaware Department has sat on the results of the Smarter Balanced Assessments. Day one was the release by other states of their preliminary data alerting all that the state now had the results…

One must ask why in the “most open and transparent administration in Delaware’s history” (Markell’s state of the state claim) we are still waiting for the preliminary data to be released.

As everyone knows, the DOE right now is in deep lockdown, All hands working feverishly… Yet it is the middle of summer?  Never has happened before.

Putting two and two together one can not help but wonder if the test results are being doctored to achieve a certain slant? Are data banks being scrubbed so no one can check the validity of the scores?  Are numbers being manipulated because the results were what we in the field predicted and not those aligning with the predictions of the governor or his DOE?

We may one day know…but as for now…..

All we can be sure of … is: this is day 7…. Something in the DOE is not right…..

Time now to revisit this….

This is why we need to nix the money out of campaigns… It puts a dollar amount on speech.

Which denies everyone’s right to be heard…

Which violates OUR right to free speech….

Which is unconstitutional……..

Thereby Citizen’s United IS unconstitutional…..

A curious thing popped up in Tennessee. I would be interested to follow it across several states because in theory, the same problem should hold true across the board….

In ELA in 2013, schools were, across the board much more likely to receive positive value-added scores for ELA in fourth and eighth grades than in other grades (see Table 1). Simultaneously, districts struggled to yield positive value-added scores for their sixth and seventh grades in the same subject-areas. Fifth grade scores fell consistently in the middle range, while the third-grade scores varied across districts

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Table 1. Percent of Schools that had Positive Value-Added Scores in English/language arts by Grade and District (2013) (Districts which had less than 25% of schools indicate positive growth are in bold)
District      Third      Fourth    Fifth     Sixth     Seventh      Eighth
Memphis      41%       43%        45%      19%        14%           76%
Nashville      NA        43%        28%      16%        15%           74%
Knox             72%       79%        47%      14%         7%            73%
Hamilton     38%      64%        48%      33%      29%            81%
Shelby           97%     76%         61%       6%        50%            69%
Sumner         77%     85%         42%       17%      33%            83%
Montgomery NA      71%         62%       0%        0%              71%
Rutherford     83%   92%         63%      15%     23%             85%
Williamson    NA      88%        58%      11%      33%           100%
Murfreesboro NA     90%        50%     30%     NA              NA

SOURCE: Teachers College Record, Date Published: June 08, 2015
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17987, Date Accessed: 7/27/2015

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The premise made in the article (tongue in cheek) was that if a teacher scores bad on their Praxis, they get shoved to either 6th or 7th grade… All schools put all their bad teachers together in 6th and 7th grade?.. But look at those scores. There is something definitely going on at that level. and then, things return to normal as the grow older……

How can all students be great until they get to 6th grade then tube for two years, and bounce back?  Can it truly be as Markell and Murphy insist, the teacher’s fault?

Obviously not.   I don’t think anyone has to defend the scores… There is obviously something wrong here….

To explain, let me refresh how these scores are set…  You have a raw scores and a set score… The raw score is what we think of when we take a test… Oh, we got 550 out of 800.     The set score is where you create a stoplight of categories and label them exceptional, proficient, basic, and below.   Someone has to choose the number above which one gets one category; below which they fall into another.  This is called the cut score… Does your child make the cut and get into the upper two categories?

One can raise the cut levels to fail more people; one can lower the cut levels to pass more people.. Essentially someone actually decides what percentage should be called proficient, and what percentage should be below that level…  Once the raw scores have arrived, they then figure the levels where to separate the wheat from the chaff.

This means, if the raw scores on the test are very good, the percentage still stands… One can do well and get a failing grade because so many others happened to do better than them…  It is arbitrary.   Likewise if the raw scores are very bad, the highest and lowest categories will have the same percentages as before… The test determines rank, but does not determine what a child does or does not know…   That is because this test is not designed for students.  It was designed to fire teachers and close schools.

If you digested all that……. here is what happens. Once you set the scores for the eleventh grade, you go backwards down the grades setting scores that if passed will eventually meet that score you set for the graduating class.  A graph of what you did would look like this…

linear graph

Equal improvement across every grade… So you would set the cut scores along a linear line like this so every grade got improved….

But something systematically fails in 6th Grade and 7th Grade…  Across the board the expectations are set too high, and though children learn a lot in that year, they are not meeting the level of learning that was arbitrarily set for them.

In grown up terms it would be like you did Zumba every day and your trainer expected you to do it for one more hour each day….  Going from one to two, not too bad… Three hours to four… wow, close to your limit… 5 hours?  You needed help but got there… Now… after doing a marathon 5 hour stint… the next day there is no way you can do a 6 hour run.. Nor can you do a 7 hour run the day after… But after rest, you are able to designate a whole day so you do your 8 hours and the 9 and 10 hour days seem like regular days now….

I wondered:  what if there were brain charts of human development that might shed light on this mystery?

brain development

courtesy of docstoc

Notice the major drop in vision, hearing, habitual ways of responding, and language.  (The math dropped less and its standardized scores across the state of Tennessee corresponded likewise).  All the ELA skills have reached bottom of scale around 6th of 7th grade..

So we are testing children at a point when their capacity for brain growth for language is at zero and we are setting benchmarks based on when they were young and capable of growing new neurons and connections at a very rapid rate…

Now these kids learn fine just like you and I learned fine in 6th and 7th grades… The problem with this test, is that they don’t learn exactly up to the level of what someone behind a desk in Washington guesses they should learn; or more likely, doesn’t even care if they learn or not; he just wants his paycheck….

Here is what I saw that was fascinating…. peer social skills was developing at a very high rate compared to everything else.  This makes sense if anyone has children. At 6-7th grade they suddenly realize they need to gain skill at dealing with peer issues.  Unfortunately this huge part of their brains growth and development is not on the test.  Instead, they are being tested as if they were newborns….

Obviously the idea behind Common Core, is that if you force kids to learn more faster they will do it… However all of us would think it would be stupid to force a horse to go 100 mph… Horses simply can’t do that… Likewise, a child in 6th and 7th grade cannot perform faster than his brain will let him… It stands to reason if his brain has stopped growing in that field, his scores will too.

So every child in 6th and 7th grade will be labeled a failure… Their teachers will be fired.  Schools will be prioritized and rolled over to charters…. and it was all for naught…

Nothing was wrong.. They children are doing fine… it is the test that is fvcked up and boy, is it fvcked up royally…….

We did not have this problem with the DCAS…We must all join and scrap the Smarter Balanced Assessment and replace it with the DCAS ……

In Delaware, Common Core IS the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  You remove the Smarter Balanced Assessment, you get rid of Common Core…

Opting-out is nice, but this test’s removal is mandatory if we want educational gains to continue forward…….

(Educational Researcher, August/September 2014, p.286)  Gary Orfield.

Instead of reporting in terms of performance categories, we could report performance in terms of scale scores. A solid body of empirical research suggests that scale scores provide more complete information on performance and are more useful for the purpose of informing improvement efforts.

But unfortunately for corporate America, scale scores do not promote the lie that our educational system is failing… That lie is only propelled by reporting performance “categories” which are made up structures having no relevance outside the committee making them up……

Where are Delaware’s……

This is day one….

Link to Washington State’s Preliminary Report

Flag Over Delaware Capitol

He vetoed HB 50. Vetoing Opt Out sets segregation back to 1956…….  One could possible see a future Governor Charlie Copeland becoming the new George Wallace… But Governor Markell?   Vetoing a bill that segregates, then under-funds black schools worse than they were in Alabama of the 50’s?  And doing it over a  crushing 14-7 Senate vote and a 36-3 House vote in favor?

When all other states are FINALLY taking down the Rebel Flag,  Delaware is preparing to make itself ready to raise theirs …… Look around.  The signs are all around you….

And urges every black legislator to jump on and fully support the removal of the SBAC from all schools….

The problem in Delaware as other bloggers currently heap heat on those black legislators who just Uncle Tom’d their race , … is that those people were lied to and wantonly accepted those lies like a big Largemouth Bass willingly accepts a twisting worm twirled around a hook with a line running straight up to the water’s surface.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is the absolute worst thing that has ever happened to black people.  It is worse than cops killing black youth.  It is worse than the high conviction rates piled on blacks instead of the light sentences doled out to whites.  It is worse then the number of blacks in prison…

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is a tool ….. One designed to label black children as failures, and affirm white children as successes….

Black schools are disproportionately funded, and their students will be disproportionately labeled as failures.  Using standardized tests to label black people and immigrants as failures while systematically underfunding their schools, has a long and ugly history in our nation’s history…..

Those blacks who voted against the opt out movement, are rushing separate but unequal segregation forward faster….

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is simply unfair… We once had a very fair test, the DCAS, but Greg Lavelle’s vote last year caused the Smarter Balanced to become law of the land….

All blacks need to opt out… All immigrants need to opt out… All economically disadvantage children need to opt out.  All special education children need to opt out…  Everyone needs to opt out…. We need a different test.

Your children are not failures… it is the test which is…   Get rid of the test.. Tell your legislator to get rid of the test….  If you can possibly do it in public to put him on the spot… more power to you.

Delaware’s NAACP needs to fire its leadership and get itself in line with the national movement of Black Lives Matter… Our leader is a flat-out Uncle Tom. No ifs. No ands. No buts.  Until you vote in change, we  Delawareans continue to have the Samuel Jackson character in Django running the blacks in the household dominated by the rich investors of the Delaware Way.

Who left out there has guts?

We need a NAACP leader who fights to rid Delaware of all Charter Schools.  Fights to rid Delaware of all corporate tests and return to tests written by teachers (DCAS).  We need a NAACP  leader who calls on all schools to strike, hell with the law.  We need a NAACP leader who calls on every black, every minority, every free lunch child, and ever special ed student to opt out of the test right now…. We need a NAACP leader who stands up for Black people… Not one who goes running into the governor’s chamber for a photo-op anytime someone calls them out for what they truly are….

In response to Governor Markell’s veto on HB 50, the next step is undertaken.  Many may not know how to get a bill past a governor’s veto.  So here it is.

Step 1:  Bombard the leaders…. Just like dropping bunker-busters where we thought Saddam was hiding, you try to decapitate the opposition by taking out their head… Since we aren’t killing anyone we use different tactics which is political pressure.  First off, understand this. You who are reading this are the front line.  If the front line does not react, then the second through 100th lines will not react as well…

Copy and Paste  or create your own and send as an email to the House and Senate leadership…

Dear_____________;

Please. For the sake of democracy, schedule a special session to override Governor Markell’s veto before the School year begins in September.  A bill passed overwhelmingly in both houses was vetoed solely to appease special interests.

Presient Pro Tempore – Patricia M. Blevins (D)

Phone: (302) 744-4133

Email: Patricia.Blevins@state.de.us

Senate Majority Leader – David B. McBride (D)

Phone: (302) 744-4167

Email: David.McBride@state.de.us

Speaker of the House – Peter C. Schwartzkopf (D)

Phone: (302) 744-4351

Email: Peter.Schwartzkopf@state.de.us

House Majority Leader – Valerie J. Longhurst (D)

Phone: (302) 744-4351

Email: Valerie.Longhurst@state.de.us

Step 2:  Pressure your local representative…  He/she has just finished 6 months of emotionally draining sessions followed by long drives and is finally on break. The last thing they want is to hear from you… Which of course means:  NOW, is the time….

Dear _________________:

I’m am disappointed in Governor Markell’s veto of HB 50.  It was overwhelmingly passed by both chambers.  However our Constitution allows for We, The People to override a special interest’s hold on a governor, by having a special session convene and vote to overide that veto.  Please contact your leadership and demand that this take place before the beginning of the school year so all parents and teachers have clarity and can make plans accordingly.

Step 3:  Become a whistleblower, hero, or troublemaker (same thing, depends on who is doing the calling) for your district’s representatives…  Tom Carper for what little he’s worth now, once gave some awesome advice back when he was governor… “If you want us to do something….. MAKE us have no option but to do it…”  I sat in the audience and went, “wow, brilliant” … He’s saying that he has to answer to people too, and if you have more people and clout, he can tell the others sorry and vote against his friends.. and we all know that though it takes great courage to stand up to your enemies… it takes far greater courage to stand up to your friends…

So we as citizens of this great state, have to make it politically so:,… that no legislator has a chance unless he supports the special session to override Jack’s veto….

And one does that… how?

By getting others on board…   Which since 99% of Delawareans are for the Opt Out Bill, should be easy as long as you try…

Go to your computer and type out one paragraph why YOU think the opt out bill must pass… Make it personal and stick to what you know….  Print 5 copies and go to your front door.

Next, go out your front door…  either left or right and knock on the first neighbor you see home… Do small talk because if you are like most of us, you’ve done nothing but say “hi” since Christmas vacation.   In that conversation somewhere say “did you hear that Governor Markell vetoed the opt out bill?  What’s up with that?”…..  It’s summer so most likely they:  a) haven’t heard; b) have no idea what the opt-out bill is unless they have children; and c) are only interested because it is you, their neighbor doing the talking….

Ask them what they think?  Just talk. They are human beings and don’t need preached…  You have deep concerns and let them know… Ask them to call or email their rep…. (they probably won’t) but the next time someone knocks on their door summer 2016,  they will get an earful.  Then, if you have time, go on to another house…

Your effectiveness will come from that you are a human just like them who lives in their neighborhood.  You are not some kids hired from Minnesota with tablets and clipped speech asking them to support Corporate American Philosophy.   You will plant a seed and they will question the big questions…   “Why is our government so out of whack?”  “Why is our government voting for the rich few, and leaving millions in the dust?”  “Why is our government doing this to children so friends of theirs, already rich, get richer?”  “Is this the type of America my parents or grandparents fought our nation’s enemies to preserve?”

These thoughts bubble up over time, so even if you did not get an email or letter sent, you alerted a concerned citizen to now mistrust anything the US Chamber of Commerce or Corporate America hitherto says…

And you will like doing it…   all will treat you with courtesy and sincere honesty and you will return the favor…   You are not there to win minds and influence decisions…  99% of people are already on your side… You are there to inform.

So inform them in your own unique way that our government here in the State of Delaware is in dire jeopardy because the will of the people this session was totally ignored by a governor kowtowing to special interests….   If we get ignored now, we will certainly be later ignored when they try to put a cancer-causing power plant in our back yard… or a nuclear reactor… or raise our electric rates 60%… or have us billed monthly for our water to hide a 35% price increase embedded therein…

This debate really is about who runs this country… special interests who can now buy politicians…. or you and me… That is why everyone reading this needs to actually meet and greet their neighborhood….

Then, and only then,  will your legislator truly listen to you… because you have acquired more power than can be wielded by any lobbyists….

In World War II we  cracked the German’s Enigma Code and were able to decipher all their plans.  Very instrumental in helping us win the war. You may have seen this article that does the same with the takeover of education.

http://cashinginonkids.com/brought-to-you-by-wal-mart-how-the-walton-family-foundations-ideological-pursuit-is-damaging-charter-schooling/

It’s long and illuminating and will be read by the handful of true educational warriors.   But it drew a parallel in my memory discussing how how Wal*marts used to approach small towns and leave an economic wasteland behind, in which they became the monopoly and all others shut down.

We have for a long time berated the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for creating and funding Common Core.  If any good can be said about their massive amounts of money, it is that at least with the Gates’ Foundation, the strings attached are not stretched tight; there is leeway for those recipients to move around.  Not so with the second largest donor to American Education: the Wal*mart Foundation.  To receive their money you have to be very clear in your attention to do away with high paying teachers, and breaking up the union…  And based on most conversations… it really is all about breaking up the union…  (Unions are an antithetic to Wal*mart.  If Wal*mart ever unionizes…poof… its competitive edge is over)

One can say this hard line with lesser dollars is more influential than all of Gate’s money… If you need more than one source of income, and one source has loose ideals and the other’s are very tight, you are going to satisfy the one with the tight ideals because that is the only way you can still have both sources of income…   Just like if you were working two jobs, and one doesn’t care when you show up and the other will fire you if you are ever one minute late, you always give the one who will fire you first priority…Always.  They dictate your life, not the other one, and certainly not yourself.

It might be wise to review the Wal*mart model now, as in how their businesses operate.

Of the 10 richest Americans according to Forbes magazine, four are members of the Walton family. The Walton Family Foundation was established in 1988 and is based in Bentonville, Ark., the home of Wal-Mart.  It it he Walton Foundation that parcels out cash to those who promote its ends, which are indeed the same as the company’s.  How could they not be?

The foundation’s stated mission is to infuse public education with competitive pressure through school choice. The theory is based in retail: If consumers have options, they will choose either higher quality or cheaper products. Merchants who can’t compete will go out of business, opening up space for new entrepreneurs to enter. Through this constant churn of options, the theory holds, quality will improve across the board. In public education, that means flooding the market with schools, aggressively closing those that are labeled as “failing,” and opening up pathways to allow new school operators to take their place...

Although the foundation implies that this market-based model will lead to the improvement of all schools in a system, a different endgame is clear through its philanthropic portfolio: The foundation endorses the eventual elimination of public education altogether, in favor of an across-the-board system of privately operated schools.

Which is also how they run their business.

Wal*mart pulls up into a small town with the promise of jobs.  The businesses in the town fight back but eventually the governing body approves the Walmart going in and it is always by a split vote and always with the majority of one…. And those few who swung and voted for Wal*mart mysteriously all begin renovating their houses with sources of mysterious income.

Once approved the building goes up… In one month, Wal*mart cuts 25% of its initial hires.  Buy 4 months another 25% is gone… Then it tweaks the employees downward in single digits over the course of the first year… So after its initial promise of 300 new jobs to gullible small town council members, in the end it hires a steady 75 jobs… Meanwhile the entire center of the town folds up… Gone are all the retail outlets that have been there since the town was founded. The brick buildings either get boarded up, or sell cheap to some basket weaver and the town begins to die.. The competition is outside its tax base… Within the tax base, all the old income is gone.

Then once competition is eliminated, the prices go back up and there is really no change in savings from those that were there before..

Here is what one of the sub-foundations funded by Walmart says in his sales pitch to wealthy investors…

“Charters are competitors. They steal customers, deplete revenues and increase costs. When charters siphon off kids, they not only take the money that comes with them, they often cause nearby schools to operate under capacity. This increases inefficiencies and per-student costs because all that empty space still must be maintained.

As charters continue to expand, they will force districts to make more and more tough choices on personnel, closing schools and redrawing attendance boundaries, both political poisons. We are seeing this play out in spectacular fashion in some older urban areas.”  Mike Thomas, FEE (founded by Jeb Bush) $4.8 million from Walton Foundation.

And that is exactly what happens when you allow charters to come into your neighborhood… The end game has nothing to do with whether kids learn.  It is over who will get the money we spend to teach our kids…

Now if charters had a good track record, one might look at them favorably, after all it might benefit kids… But the reality of looking at Charters is like looking at Walmart…  The quality of their merchandise is the lowest quality one is allowed to sell. They underpay their workers which swells up the assistance levels required by the local community.  Instead of good wages, they pay poor wages.  The SNAP and Medicaid programs stay filled at capicity even though the employment rosters show the county’s unemployment has dropped a few notches.  If you want service… forget about it… It takes one hour to shop, and two hours to wait in the only checkout line they will open.

One of their most telling lines comes from their former director who published his views on education…..

“… The only course that is sustainable, for both chartering and urban education, embraces a third, more expansive view of the movement’s future: replace the district-based system in America’s large cities with fluid, self-improving systems of charter schools.”

Smarick (the above quote’s author) offers a “road map” for destroying public school districts. It includes a saturation investment strategy to build market share in a few targeted districts. Once the charter sector reaches a tipping point in student market share, he predicts, traditional districts will no longer be financially or politically sustainable:

“As chartering increases its market share in a city, the district will come under growing financial pressure. The district, despite educating fewer and fewer students, will still require a large administrative staff to process payroll and benefits, administer federal programs, and oversee special education. With a lopsided adult to- student ratio, the district’s per-pupil costs will skyrocket.”

“At some point along the district’s path from monopoly provider to financially unsustainable marginal player, the city’s investors and stakeholders—taxpayers, foundations, business leaders, elected officials, and editorial boards—are likely to demand fundamental change. That is, eventually the financial crisis will become a political crisis. …”

The foundation’s education program pursues this endgame through three major program areas: support for vouchers, both publicly and privately funded; support for charter school start-ups to encourage and enable the rapid growth of the sector; and public policy advocacy, to ensure that the road is clear for expansion with minimal regulatory interference….

The Walton Family Foundation’s flagship strategy for transforming public education was (and continues to be) to allow taxpayer dollars to pay private school tuitions for selected students…

And that is it’s entire end game… Destroy public education entirely.  Then in it vacuum, insert ones investment through charter schools…

Whenever a public official goes against 90% of public opinion, and votes for charter schools or to not allow the opting out of the test which will create the image that public schools have failed…. you know they are in the payment of someone….

We have already asked that Matt Denn the Attorney General have his office investigate Rep. Earl Jacques’s personal funding secretly through a Grand Jury Investigation.   (He has mysteriously renovated his house) .. We hope our Attorney General recognizes the serious of the crime of having ones vote bought, and initiates an investigation to determine if criminal activity was beset by Earl Jacques’s rather bizarre defense of an indefensible position…..

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