You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘It’s About The Kids’ category.

kids-map

Scholastic does mock elections which historically predict the winner.  The above is this years compiled across the country.

The kids got this…

I post this because many of my Republican friends are in denial.  And my third party friends are in la la land…. From this map, the latter need to move to Washington DC.

Advertisements

 

“I am often asked what I would like to see happen above all else in our country and in our world.

So many things to pray for, so many things to work for,

But certainly my answer would be a world, where all children are loved and cared for–

first by the families into which they were born, then by all of us who are linked to them and to one another.

When we are reminded of the bounty and protection we enjoy, most of us are … grateful.

Our gratitude has its roots in a view of government that dates back to the days of the Pilgrims, and the successive waves of immigrants who came to this country, seeking religious and political freedom, and better economic opportunity.

In this view, government is an instrument, both to promote the common good and to protect individuals rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

There is nothing more important to our future than the well being of our children, for children are at our core==

Not only as vulnerable beings in need of love and care, but as a moral touchstone amidst the complexity and contentiousness of modern life…

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes children to raise up a village.– to become all it should be.

The village we build with them in mind, will be a better place for us all…..

Hillary Clinton — “It Takes A Village”

It is with deep personal sadness that I write this.  All of us who send our children out the door every morning, never thinking it may be the last time we see them, are deeply affected.  All of us uttered when we heard:  that could have been my child.

The tragedy has now broadened.  Three more families are having their lifelong dreams snuffed out with the arrest of those responsible for the death of that child..

Recently the talk shows were abuzz with one of the lawyers’s statements trying to woo public opinion towards sympathizing with the newest victim, the one arrested, and take our minds off the previous one, the one who died.

That man is just doing his job.  He is being paid to represent the best interest of his client and he is doing what he is being paid to do.  Getting angry at him for doing his job, though human, is not in society’s best long term interest.

The cause of death, it appears was congenital heart failure, and the lawyer’s argument that his client could not know about the flaw and was just having a little fight, never intending to kill her target, is probably accurate.

Yet, had the “little” fight never occurred, she would be alive today.

This is ultimately for the courts to decide.  What we need to decide is what will we do about this.  That is very important.  A very horrible, horrible thing happened in that school. Justice must be meted out.  In that courtroom battle we will be spectators only. We will have no impact on its verdict.

But we can do a lot of things.  One of the first, is to vow that this can not happen again. The second is after making that decision, to begin working on preventing any other occurrence.  We should do it because we know our child could be the next one.

Everyone on social media, on talk shows, in any public forum, has their opinion on what is needed to prevent the next re-occurrence.  Some ideas are good; some impractical. They’ve been rehashed over and over so there is no point in me adding the same.

Because if you sit back and listen to them?  They all start with…….”Somebody should do something about……”

Better security.  Cellphones.  YouTube.  Bullying.  Conflict Management. Better parenting. More religion.  Better teaching.

And the lists tend to go on and on…. If you are like me, you probably saw the problem was in the first paragraph, not the second…. Wanting “someone” else to do something instead of you being the force of change….

And that is where this murder or killing, for me was different than all the others… I came to the conclusion that before my child or any other gets similar treatment, I need to work of doing something to fix this problem…

This tragedy is deeply depressing… It IS a sign of hopeless times.  And there is nothing worse in the human condition, when you have exercised all your options, and know there is no hope left in you, for you.  Things so much bigger than you have brought this down upon you.  It was pointless, pointless, pointless.  There is no redeeming factor here.  A very wonderful child, who we would all be happy to have our children behave like her, is not here anymore.  And to make things worse, her killer, is not some horrible, horrible human being, a maniacal, bloodthirsty, psychopathic, destroyer of human life… She too, is very much like our some of our own children… Anyone of which could possibly make the same decision under duress as did her, and instigate what they thought would be a minor fight for whatever reason, that went horribly wrong.

Four lives ruined, because of a fight…

It is all so senseless. So pathetic. So tragic in the deepest way.

So what are you going to do about it?  Yes.  I said “you”.  What are you going to change in your own life that may at some future point in time, prevent a similar fight or argument that might also produce a similar morbid result?

Because that in essence, is what these things happen for.  Though they happen on their own, outside of our world, outside our influence, they turn out to become a reality check on how little control we have over our fate. They become a reality check on how much we coast through our lives, preoccupied with things we think are so important, but when confronted by such events they are but minuscule compared to the loss of a child’s future.

And if… “you” don’t do something, or change, or do anything different to make a difference in some small way in the future, then there is no redeeming value in the loss of Amy…. But… if you make a point, any point, some point, just something different, to change something in the future, then believe it or not, there is some redeeming value in this action.

Now this is a hard topic, especially for her extended family.  For them this is superfluous; nothing will bring Amy back.  Nothing will fill that hole that remains for the rest of their earthly lives.  Which brings back anger, hurt, rage perhaps, at least once every … single… day.  But the rest of us can swear that this girl did not die in vain.  The rest of us can swear that this girl woke us up. That this girl made us change in ways so that the world did become a little better for some people… The rest of us can swear that we will make positive change in our lives, her memorial… That she touched something in us that changed us; something that would still be inert, had this horrible tragedy not happened.

If I’ve lost you by this point, you are probably wondering what on earth could you possibly do to honor this person appropriately with your life choice?

So let me give one example before I close and I recognize that not everyone is the same as me, so if this rings hollow, I’d suggest you try what you feel is calling you to do…

But here is one thing.  When you have a crowd of kids in your house, throw together some snacks and call them all together… Tell them you are sad someone had to die in school but you want to teach or tell all of them how they can prevent that from happening to them…. you can tell them that if their friends say they will beat someone up, that getting an adult involved beforehand, can fix the problem of why they want to beat that person up, without having anyone get hurt as a result.  You can tell them stories of when you were little, and regrets you carry to this day. You can tell them that hurting someone just to be on YouTube is wrong; that if they watch those things, they are making others want to do it more… Best bet is for them to say doing that is stupid and to talk their friends out of it.  You can tell them how easy it is to die, and how horrible one feels if one accidentally kills someone; how afterwards their life becomes horrible and worthless when it could have been great and fun.  You can tell them that a good rule is that if they wouldn’t want someone to do something to them; they shouldn’t ever do it to someone else…

You should make it clear you love them; both your kids and their friends.  You don’t have to say it, but if you treat them with respect, they will know.  And if you did that, and followed through all the way through High School, and beyond, and you did just that little thing for Amy, …. then in a small mysterious serendipity sort of way, something good did come out of her murder whether that killing was intended or not….

And if all of you did it… there would be more good than if just one… And if you put what you were doing on Facebook or Instagram, inspiring other parents to do the same, and they did it, there would be a lot more good than if you hadn’t, and if they got results so it spread, then the possibility out there still lurks that great positive change all over, came about because of the horror of what took place in that school bathroom..

And if, when you are very tired after a long day of work… just want to put you feet up, turn on the TV and zone out for a nap, but don’t, and instead talk to your kids and their friends one more time, asking how they are, how their day went, and what they wanted to do in their future….and you did it, because something inside of you said only through your actions will redemption come through Amy’s passing, then regardless of how much you hurt, regardless of how close you were to her, regardless of how hopeless this made you feel… it was not in vain……

And if all of you can do that…. we are well on our way making sure another child, never, ever, gets killed in school. Period.

 

 

 

 

Your Name 

Your address

Date:

 

c/o Your Child’s School

Your Child’s School District

Your School Districts Letterhead Address

 

ATTN:   NOTICE TO OPT OUT

 

Dear School Official:

Please do not give my  (child’s name, child’s number) a Smarter Balanced Assessment this year.  His parents have decided to opt him/her out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

This opt out ONLY applies to the Smarter Balanced Assessments for ELA and Math (plus DCAS Science in 5/8/10th Grade and  Social Studies if in 4/7th Grade).

It does not apply to other national tests the school may choose to administer.

Thank you.

Signed:

Parent’s Name.

======================

And that is all you need…. Then slip it into a plain blank envelope and tell your child to give it to his homeroom or class teacher, depending on your child’s age…

And you are done…. 

(If…. the child is forced to still take the test, please be forthcoming and many of those cases could be the underlying basis for a lawsuit this summer if enough parents do not have their requests honored. )

But hurry now. Time’s winged chariot is almost here…

 

 

 

First the Con’s.

1) Your child will not get “a score”.

2) No data about your child will be sold to tele-marketers who could (for a fee) send information which could possibly help augment your child to do better his next year.

3) Your child’s teacher, school, district, will not get rated based on your child’s performance.

4) Your school may not meet the 95% testing rate required by the “OLD” No Child Left Behind Bill to give credibility to its ratings. The current bill states that 95% of a school’s students must take the test for it to have any legitimacy, but states now get to decide how to determine who the 95% gets to be… (One option is to allow parents to opt out prior to a posted deadline absolving them from being included in the pool of test takers.)

5) Opting out isolates the state from being the sole determiner of how your child is performing; forcing that important decision to be determined by a lowly teacher who only has just spent 180 days getting to really know your child.

6) If large numbers of people opt out, then we really won’t know how well schools and districts can perform on standardized tests. We will only be left with ancient methods of determination, such as all previous generations (including those currently serving in the General Assembly and Governor’s office) underwent as they progressed though both their elementary and secondary school systems.

7) Minorities and children of color who opt out will have to be rated by how well they did on classroom, homework, quizzes and teacher developed tests to see if they are ready to be passed to the next level. And teachers do not grade with the cold efficiency of a computer.

8) Testing companies will be cut off from large sources of income. To develop this test, $100 million inside Delaware was spent alone on all upgrades required. Loss of this income will hurt some fly-by-night companies currently located outside Delaware in right-to- work states causing them possibly to fold.

9) Think tanks like the Fordham Institute will be the laughing stock of all other think tanks if not all parents require their children to take the test as required.

10) Opting out skews the data. It becomes meaningless to use it because it no longer represents a real reflection of reality.

11) Legislators receiving kickbacks and underhanded payments from educational corporations and lobbyists, will have to find another source of external income, if the opt-out movement completely destroys the testing consortium’s ability to deliver decent product those tests get termed by their state legislatures.

=====

So you see, there are considerable concerns behind the movement to opt out ones child. One should be very careful before doing so because heavens, we can’t have our legislators lose external income, now, can we?

Therefore it is important that we also look at the pro’s, for this is a big decision for each parent and should not be taken lightly. The only way one can make a proper judgment over what is the best future course for your child, is to look at both side, ask yourself how this course affects your child’s future and then make a smart, balanced assessment.

So here are the pro’s for opting out….

1) Your child will not get “a score”. In certain situation, this can be very advantageous to your child. If all the scores from his peers are low, he gets the benefit of doubt and is assumed to be smarter than the rest because their is no data on him proving he isn’t. Therefore he is privy to every opportunity given to the elite of that school, because for all intents and purposes, he as an anomaly is better than those who performed negatively. Opt-outers get the better teachers, better courses, and better opportunities.

Why is getting no score a good thing? The answer is the test. You can take your child’s test here. The test is designed to discourage, demoralize and dishonor you son or daughter. You can see from the example that no real world skills are involved in its being taken.. It is all about knowing tricks, both verbal and mathematics. Instead of learning principles which one can apply across any discipline or any subject, ones learns a plethora of little tiny tricks such as this second grade one: “when subtracting eleven from a number, just subtract 10 first, then subtract one more.” Although simple in a one case scenario, it complicates later tasks involving multiple steps because instead of using one system to subtract all numbers, one if forced to use 10, one each for each number 1-10. Try it here: 4403 – 1211 = ……..

As everyone knows being put in a pool of potential selectees is fine if one is to be selected for a prize, therefore being picked is good. If one is being selected for a punishment however, being picked to be selected, is bad. The Smarter Balanced Test is more of a punishment than a prize. So not getting a score becomes more advantageous than getting a negative one.

2) No data about your child or his parents, will be sold to telemarketers who will cease at nothing to get you to buy their product. “No” is not an answer they understand. Opting-out is your only insurance that your dinners will not be interrupted, since private education companies were granted exemption status from the no-call lists you may have thought were a sufficient barrier. Furthermore prying eyes will not be able to discern the political, religious, or emotional leanings of his parent from his data he is forced to enter when taking the test.

3) Your child’s teacher, school, district, will not get rated based on your child’s performance on this standardized test. Standardized tests rating schools are a relatively new phenomenon. Everyone over age 25 went to school without them. We really don’t need them to determine if a school is working effectively or not. True they can provide some clarity, if the tests are handled in a proper manner. Such as having everyone run a mile around the school track will also determine who your best mile-distance runners are. However, rating a school by that method would be silly. And that is the whole argument behind rating a school by its Smarter Balanced scores. Just as not everyone is physically prepared to run a 4 minute mile, neither is everyone entering the school system at the kindergarten level on track to be college or career ready. Yet corporate reformers are using this very guideline to rank schools. If you are in a fat district your schools’ mile times are low. If you are in an exercising district, you’re ranked well and receive adulation and rewards for it. How well you were coached or taught, has no relevance to the equation. It is not measured on how well you improved, only how fast your tested mile-run was. Had Earl Jacques been rated by a physical program such as this, there is no way he’d graduate to meet proper credentials to be elected legislator from the 27th district, even if his constituents are brain dead from living so close to Cecil County.

4) Your school may not meet the 95% testing rate required by the “OLD” No Child Left Behind Bill to give credibility to its ratings. That is one of the founding principles of opting out. Parents who took the trial tests, realized this test was a stupid pile of crap (to express it politely).  Rating good teachers and good schools by a stupid pile of crap was not responsible adult behavior. Therefore if a parent could cause that stupid pile of crap to be ignored, they would be doing society, themselves, and their children a huge favor.   As we saw with the Priority School debacle put forth last year by Delaware’s DOE, if you have a good school that has low scores, you get kicked out, it gets privatized, and suddenly, your school is a crap-ass charter that can’t do anything right and closes mid-year. as did Delaware MET.  Preventing that from happening by keeping the test scores below 95% is a good thing… a very good thing.

Other tests are credible.. This one isn’t.  (Did you take it yet?)  Common Core and its tests are complete nonsense, difficult for adults to comprehend, impossible for children to follow, and the whole program needs to be shut down forcing us to return to tried and true ways of teaching that brought American society to the high level it is today. Parents who can muster more than 5% of their peers to also opt out, need to do exactly that…..

5) Opting out isolates the state from being the sole determiner of how your child is performing; leaving that important decision to be determined by a lowly teacher who only has just spent 180 days getting to really know your child.  Most parents prefer this.  A teacher knows what your child is missing. They know it very early and do not need to wait after a year to find out after that child has moved out of their class and up a grade. They know and can work with that child to grasp what they don’t know.  Everyone over age 18 was rated by a teacher.  No one in Delaware was held back due to their DSTP, or their DCAS.  If held back it was because their teacher felt they did not have sufficient building blocks to assemble concepts required of the next grade.  PSAT details now show that the United States provides the best educational results across every level of income in the entire world…. (the results showing we are behind were skewed; our affluent beat their affluent; they did not test their poor, whereas we did which of course pulls our average scores down)…

At stake is who in America is responsible for the education of your child? The parent?  The child?  The state?  If the state wants one thing and the parent wants another, who wins?  That is what this battle is over: who is the ultimate decider?  Are we a government for, of and by the people?  Or….. are we people put here simply for the privilege of our government?

This very fundamental American right and concept is  truly at stake here. If opting out is forbidden as 27th District’s Earl Jacques is wont to do, the Constitution of the United States becomes weakened by this precedent. The state (Federal Government) has become more important than any of the people making up this nation. Instead of government being an institution that supports its people’s right to earn their livelihood, it becomes the sole reason for these people’s existence. It becomes their king in essence, 240 years after we threw off that yoke in our Declaration of Independence.   We now must do this thing (Smarter Balanced Assessment)  because our King has decreed we must do this thing. Even though it hurts our children’s development. Failure to comply results in punishment.

Gone is our chance to decide what is best for our child.  Whether as parents we decide to let our child take or not take the test, should be decided upon the quality of the test, not a governor’s intransigence.  If these tests were good, there would be no controversy. But far too many parents have taken the test themselves and know this test is horrific for their child.

In a true America, shouldn’t they have the right and responsibility to raise their child correctly despite a well intentioned government getting it horribly wrong?  That at its core, is what Opt-Out is all about…  It is about Americans doing what is best for them, over what is best for their elected officials who made a big huge mistake initially backing a wrong program…

6) If large numbers of people opt out, then we really won’t know how well they can perform on standardized tests. ..Originally with Common Core there was supposed to be one test for all America.. Four states opted out.. therefore there would be five different tests. Then two consortia were formed, PARRC and the Smarter Balanced. There were then 6. Minnesota only took the ELA; they used their own math. So their were now seven standards.  Indiana dropped out, creating the eighth.  South Carolina created the ninth.  Oklahoma is creating the tenth. Most other states decided to create their own tests.  there are at least 26 different tests in effect. The new ESEA allows all states to make the determination over what they want to use as their assessment. We are back to every state testing to their own standards.  Score comparison this past year between Delaware and Ohio and Massachusetts and California is pointless.

Secondly, there are tricks to scoring well on standardized tests.  Those who take the SAT a second time invariably see a jump in scores because of knowledge gained from their past experience. This would not happen if the tests strictly measured ability. In fact, there are businesses who excel at teaching students “HOW” to take the SAT, citing the benefits their programs give those children in higher scores.  Scores not based on what they know, but based on their strategy in how they take the test.   Those not schooled in such principles rest at a disadvantage. This obviously is not a fair assessment.

However, sitting in a classroom for 180 days in front of the same teacher, does give an assessment that comes close to the mark of actual ability. Therefore opting out and ruining the results for all who didn’t, by dropping schools’ threshold below 95% is a valid way to remove at least the importance placed on standardized testing from our schools.  It is actually a good thing if we do not know how well schools do on standardized tests. It puts them in the same boat as all those students matriculating before state testing became the law of the land…. Instead of focusing on their “public” image, schools  get to return their focus on each of the individual students passing through.

7) Minorities and children of color who opt out will have to be rated by how well they did on classroom, homework, quizzes and teacher developed tests to see if they are ready to be passed to the next level.  No more will their fate be determined by a standardized test written in a foreign language.  Whereas no one has any difficulty understanding the back and forth dialogue in the movie Straight Outta Compton, for someone growing up in an urban environment it is hard to pass a test written in Midwestern English dialect with a sentence structure very different from English learned in minority households. The correct answer should be: “so what if we can’t speak Midwestern.”  If a top selling movie can use dialect and have instant auditory recognition across all segments of American society, this type of dialogue is sufficient for communication in mainstream America. One understands it; it is useful; it gets a point across.  But measuring ones ability to speak as a Midwestern white person of Norwegian/Swedish ancestry and using that as the one single sole determiner of ones English ability, is not very well thought out. There is an valid argument for it even being racist.  Whereas everyone knows blacks and Hispanics have endearing accents, those charms are dismissed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment. “No! You must talk like a white person. and not like a southern white person or a northern, or a western, but as a Midwestern person in order to score well on our ELA tests… ”
Of course. that is totally ridiculous. It is a flaw readily seen by  simply reversing the concept and imagining if we tested all America’s students using the Urban Dictionary as the source of all ELA definitions.  Our morally astute rural Midwesterners, instead of leading the pack would be pulling up its bottom. It is one thing to demand that English be spoken so that we have a nation that can understand each other. But to specify exactly how that English will be assessed for your individual score, when top selling movies make it obvious that for the purpose of communication a standard the equivalent of the King’s English is irrelevant, means this test is flawed.  It is actually unAmerican, because it imposes false standards which prevent all people from having an equal opportunity.

Point being, a teacher can effectively understand and pass a child who is smart, witty, engaging yet uses different dialect to their full advantage.  A computer gives them a score of 150 out of 800 possible on their ELA.

8) Testing companies will be cut off from large sources of income. This is money that prior to testing was spent on educating our students. Recently estimated at $1.7 billion across the US, that essentially averages out to $65 dollars extra spendable on each student…  Whereas we might be jaded at shrugging our shoulders over the cost of a meal at a casual dining chain restaurant, its impact on education can be readily seen if we simply look at its aggregate in one classroom of 20 students… $1300 dollars extra to be spent on that elementary grade’s classroom ( or $216 for each of 6 high school classrooms.)

Although DC moguls will be heart strung to see high priced career employees receive pick slips, one has to ask how can that money be better spent?  A) for drinking alcoholic beverages along Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown? Or B) on children across America struggling to learn in schools struggling to fund themselves?  I may have a bleeding heart but I’ll side with the children every day.  Hopefully you will too and opt out your child to make this happen.

9) Think tanks like the Fordham Institute will be the laughing stock.  

And this is a bad thing?

10) Opting out skews the data.  If all special ed students opt out our score aggregate will be higher. If all minorities opt out, our scores will also be higher. If all affluent children opt out, our scores will be lower.  If lots of people opt out, taking the test becomes a useless exercise having no purpose at all. Apparently those insisting on maintaining these tests think we need more proof that test scores are determined by by the upbringing children have before they enter the school system.. If they enter respectful of knowledge they do well; if they enter dismissive of knowledge, they don’t.  But most of us believe the data from last year illuminated the problem rather well across all states, across all districts, across both private, charter and public education… High standard test scores are not affected by teaching skills. Over and over and over we saw they ran opposite to the amount of children listed as free lunch… Very few, your school had high scores.  Very many, your school had low scores.  it was ubiquitous across every category.  If there was an anomaly, it was accompanied by multiple erasures on the hard-copy tests.

So whereas opting out may skew the data from an aggregate of tests, poverty itself skews ones educational ability entirely.  It is impossible to isolate poverty from influencing education unless you first insist that there be no poor in America, that everyone has a livable wage and can work if not for an employer at least from home.  If we are going to raise our educational levels it must start with raising our nation’s standard of living.  If any good came out of the the Common Core testing regime, it is that we finally have evidence to show that without a doubt, the crises of education rests solely on the crises of having those living in poverty…… There is no doubt over the connection; there is only left, the avoidance of mentioning the real issue.

That said, there are many options.  The best one so far is that instead of insisting on high standard assessments, we focus on seriously letting no child fall behind.  That means we put more teachers in classrooms; that means a mandatory 11:1 student/teacher ratio in k-5 and 9th grade in any school with over a 50% poverty level.  That means abolishing the idea that all children enter school equal, and focus instead on making sure all children get the best possible opportunity to grow and develop during their 13 years of compulsory education.  In challenges like these, investing in human capital is better than trusting machines.  We need to realize this,  and empower human beings to solve it one pupil at a time.  Your opting out, will help make this happen.

11) Legislators receiving kickbacks and underhanded payments from educational corporations and lobbyists, will have to find another source of external income.  

They will cry. wring their hands, and wear sack cloth.

Screw them. Vote them out for they sold out your kids future to line their own pockets.

There is no reason for insisting on NOT allowing parents to opt out their children from standards assessments , ….except that they are somehow on the take, and doing so will somehow interfere with their personal accumulation of income.

Any politician who is against opting out… has a personal angle funneling your child’s misfortune directly into their or their friends billowing pockets.

THERE

IS

NO

OTHER

VALID

REASON

FOR

DISALLOWING

PARENTS

TO

OPT

OUT.

===

Period.

 

 

 

Here is a teachers idea of how Common Core should be taught… ie, close reading of a text…

It is broken down into three readings… Reading one, Reading two, and Reading three.  To show grownups what this does to the joy of reading, another  Nancy Bailey (no relation to George) last year took the classic The Night Before Christmas, and after each paragraph, inserted the criteria required to teach in Common Core.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

STOP!

The First Reading

What is the main idea?
Summarize the passage I just read.
Do you have questions about what I read?
What did you hear?
What is this about?

The Second Reading

What text structures and text features were used?
What is the author’s purpose?
How does the author feel about the subject?
Why did the author use particular words and phrases?

The Third reading

What Inferences can you make?
How does the author support key points?
How does this relate to other texts you’ve read?
How does this relate to your life?
How does the author support key points?

——

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

STOP!

The First Reading

What is the main idea?
Summarize what I just read.
Do you have questions about what I read?
What did you hear?
What is this about?

The Second Reading

What text structures and text features were used?
What is the author’s purpose?
How does the author feel about the subject?
Why did the author use particular words and phrases?

The Third reading

What Inferences can you make?
How does the author support key points?
How does this relate to other texts you’ve read?
How does this relate to your life?
How does the author support key points?

=====

She ruins the entire poem.

Now, besides the irritability of having to stop one’s train of thought every stanza… look at some of the required discussion questions..

What is the main idea?….  Answer… Everyone was asleep… Do we really need to dissect a poem to infinity and beyond to understand that it is about late night when everyone is tired and going to sleep?

Duh.  Really how much more can we learn about everyone being asleep, something obviously heard and understood at first reading, by discussing it excessively in class?  Does this make children smarter and able to read better at some future point? Or does it teach them to play video games all day at home and not read at all?  Obviously it does the latter.

Another question:  what text structures and text features are used?  Excuse me… what is a ….. text structure…   How in hell have I been able to read and write my entire life without knowing what a…. “text structure” is?  Oh, of course I can guess… by saying the too obvious…

“Excuse me, teacher, is it the structure of the text?”

“Why very good kavips, you nailed it exactly… The text structure is the structure of the text”….

“Ma’am?”

“Why yes little kavips.”

“So how is this text structured, can we see it?  What supports what, like on a bridge?  You know how the bottom holds up the top?  So where is the structure in this?”

“I’m sorry, little kavips… no one knows… You see English is a living language changing every day, and if there was structure that was too tight, it couldn’t change… ”

“But what IS the structure, can you explain it to me?”

“No. it is unexplainable. It IS after all, Common Core”

====

In the old days we used to diagram sentences.  That was visual and real and very helpful in understanding adverbs and participial phrases.  We don’t do that any more… All we get is one teacher’s goofy definition of structure she pulls of the top of her head since it is never explained, which is different from all other teacher’s definitions of structure.. So much for “one” curriculum.

—-

Whereas this curriculum may have a place in some specialized field of literary English criticism, perhaps Harvard…  the intellectual movement that Common Core’s ELA forces on children, “only focus on the text”, was debunked as a critical movement back in 1949.. The world has moved on…

All but David Coleman, the founder of Common Core.

Dare you. Read the poem all the way through, answer every question. (No adult will, but yet we thrust it on our children because they have no power of complaint) … then, opt out your child so Common Core disappears after this year and your children again can learn that learning about what is cool, is fun.

In the meantime, next year (2016) pay attention to our General Assembly.

Look for a:

Bill to replace the Smarter Balanced Assessment

Bill to replace Common Core  curriculum with Delaware’s own standards.

Bill to fund Charter School by line items in state budgets and not allow them to steal money from good public schools and bad.

Bill to minimize Standard test results to only 5% weight on a teachers evaluation, making it a factor of no consequence except in borderline cases.

Bill to raise taxes only on  the top 1% of the state’s revenue earners, to be used to fill in budget gaps looming so large they call loudly for drastic cuts, all unnecessary if taxes just get raised on the top one percent…

 

 

 

 

I was recently reminded of this because I just saw Charter Schools in Washington state have their state funding cut off today.  They are scrambling to find alternative sources among private donors…

We should revisit exactly why the Supreme Court in Washington decided Charter Schools do not belong in public education, and must be defunded at once.

Washington’s Supreme Court ruled Charters were unconstitutional because the state’s high court ruled that charter schools do not qualify as “common” schools—basically, public schools—in part because they are not governed by voter-elected school boards, but rather by appointed boards.

Without that designation, charter schools weren’t eligible for the funding they expected to get, and the court reasoned that voters would never have approved the creation of charter schools in a 2012 ballot initiative if there was no money to pay for them…

Let me explain why this is different from hiring a private construction company to build a road.  In that case the population tax money goes into a general fund.  We elect representatives whose job it is to decide how to spend those public funds.  Therefore indirectly due to our hiring of the legislator, we have input on how our money is spent. Which basically is the argument for independence outlined in the Declaration of Independence.  We were taxed without representation.

Charters differ because they are funded per student.  That means public money follows the student away from public schools to private schools.

This obviously hurts public schools.

If Republicans wanted to start a Corrupt Moral Values Charter School to obfuscate truisms from sheltered public,  they would get public funding, they would get approval, they would recruit students from among the sheltered public, and with each student they would receive public funds.

But the taxpayer who pays that money for his own school, has some of that taken away and sent to the private charter school. That money loses their right to impact how it gets spent because a private board then decides how it is allotted. Which is about as un-American as it gets.

Therefore Charter Schools are unconstitutional... as long as they are funded as currently.  But if they were funded by a line item in the state’s budget, then like any other government outlay, we would have imput through our elected representative…..

 

Many people don’t have a clue about what education entails. To them, simple appeals may be deemed to have some merit.

But in reality, simple solutions even in our own lives, which are often offered at the drop of a hat by our own relatives,  are way too simplistic to work….  Beware of the same in education.

If anyone says any of these following three things, they are not to be trusted. They cause more harm than good.

Merit pay for teachers. Judging teachers’ merit—and pay—based on their students’ test scores is a particularly meritless notion that resurfaces regularly…. Simply put, all it does is it reward mediocre teachers who luck into teaching at affluent neighborhood schools, and terminates excellent teachers who got the short stick by being in a poverty school…  The test scores are based on affluence only.. Lots of nurturing as a child = higher scores; hardships as a child = low scores.

A three-year experiment by the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University spent more than $1.7 million to give bonuses to selected teachers in Nashville, Tenn., schools, and found, overall, that students of teachers who didn’t get the money performed as well as students of teachers who did.

A similar three-year program in New York City—a beloved initiative of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg—spent $56 million in group bonuses, but was halted in 2011, after outside researchers found that it had had no effect on student performance. Texas dropped its merit-pay program in 2013.

Since no one becomes a teacher to get rich, it would be logical to assume that educators would not be strongly motivated by a financial incentive. But people for whom money is the ultimate reward—a description that fits much of the Wall Street/hedge fund “school reform” crowd—just won’t believe the truth, even when it is before their eyes.

Scapegoating teachers for schools’ poor performance. It is an prime axiom of the reform movement that teachers are the prime cause whenever a school is struggling, and that it is vital to get rid of a stubborn cadre of veteran instructors who have tenures and can’t be fired or won’t leave. Anyone associated with Rodel has directly swallowed this harmful axiom.  The first step of our six turnaround schools was to be the firing of all teachers and only rehiring 50%…  Calmer heads prevailed fortunately.

Studies show one doesn’t need to fire teachers in a low scoring school. They flee on their own.  Personnel records show priority schools from 2010 to 2015, just five years, have on the average only 20% of their original staff remaining.  The others fled to other schools in that same area. Meaning that the newest teachers are thrown to the wolves first, and given assignments in inner city schools where teachers of experience are most needed.  Again, the myth that test scores determine teaching ability, leads policy sharply to towards the wrong result.

The irrepressible fictions of the charter movement. No myth in the modern school reform narrative is more pervasive than the idea that charter schools have somehow solved the riddle of public schools and poor children.  Even in Delaware where the Charter bubble only recently resurfaced under the political protection by the Markell camp,  there are still people scratching their heads over how can it be that Charters cannot even come close to performing as well as the same public schools these people have spent their lives disparaging.

Charters nationwide do not have significantly better test scores than public schools with similar populations. Charters in New York City—now 10 percent of the school population, thanks to Mayor Bloomberg’s devotion to their cause—overall score below the citywide average in reading.

The more “successful” a charter school, the more likely it can be found to employ some or all of the following tactics:

Enrolling significantly fewer of the highest-need students than neighborhood public schools, including the homeless, English-language learners, and those with the most serious physical and learning disabilities.

 Forcing struggling students to leave. A recent New York Times investigation found that one Success Academy charter school in Brooklyn had a “got to go” list of students the principal was determined to get rid of; what’s more, as such students leave—by expulsion, counseling out as bad “fits,” or because the family is moving—some charters refuse to admit new children to replace them, a strategy that keeps scores up.

Adjusting the definition of “poor.” While charter students tend to be poor, a close analysis reveals that in many successful charters a significant percentage of students are significantly less poor than the local average. Given the importance of family income in determining test scores, this gives them a marked statistical advantage over their peers in standardized testing.

70 percent of the public school students in New York City are poor under federal guidelines. Tens of thousands of them are reading and doing math at levels equal to or exceeding those in charter schools. The only secret that charter schools seem to have discovered is how to charm the wealthy and well-connected, and how to promote themselves to people who would rather embrace myth that makes them feel good, than carefully weigh the facts.

The next time you hear anyone use these axioms, whether it be the House Educational Committee, a Rodel press engagement, an editorial in the News Journal, or a governor on the Rick Jensen show……. challenge them… Say “that’s not true. That goes against Common Sense.  Show us the proof that what we know is a myth, is really true…  Where after 30 years of corporate reform in education, is the proof of your side?”

We have the proof for our side.

 

YOU MUST RESIDE IN THE 27TH REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT.

Battle Ground XXVII

Whether you register as a Republican or Democrat, your incumbent has been considerably weakened last year and this.

Here is what you will have behind you.

Financial resources of the Delaware PTA organization, consisting of parents and teachers from North Claymont to Southern Fenwick Island who deeply care for all children and want them to learn, not jump through meaningless hoops that curtail their development.

Backing from the DSEA teachers’ union, including financial resources and unlimited manpower…

Additional backing from regional teachers unions, such as the Red Clay and Christina local collections who would bend earth and water to replace Earl Jacques with someone who actually cares about kids.

National publicity and financial support from anti-Common Core affiliations sprouting up across America, including some well known like the BadAss Teachers association, and Diane Ravitch, who follow Delaware’s actions through its excellent blogs.

The power of hundreds of thousands of holy prayers rising upwards and a few financial resources from parents absolutely incensed over how the Smarter Balance Assessments manipulates their child to feel stupid when they aren’t,  and who read widely of how almost every other states is running away from Common Core but yet see this incumbent using his leadership position solely to block each, all and every reform.

Support from all the significant editorialists and newscasters in this state, who will give you unlimited access to get your message out. That would include BOTH Rick Jensen and Al Mascitti on WDEL who would do so, because you are fighting a common enemy: corporate interference into public education. .

Here are your incumbent’s crimes……

Authored and pushed forward a charter bill (HB165) which removes $21 million of your dollars our of your school district and gives it to charters scattered all over the state.

Refused to allow the Opt Out Bill out of his committee though it had 52 of 62 (82%) of our General Assembly supporting it.

Called parents pussys because they were afraid of a “little” old test.

Consistently votes for those rights and financial concerns of international corporations over any concerns from people living on Cann Ave.. his own street.

Is personally responsible for the Smarter Balanced Assessment being given to your children.

But the main crime despite all these horrible issues,  is that as chair of the House Educational Committee, he had multiple chances to act to return Delaware to a much better test, and did nothing….

The fact he does nothing in his leadership position, is the prime reason he needs to be kicked out.  We need someone who does SOMETHING!

Voters in the 27th have lately been ill served. Especially if they have children.  No other candidate anywhere in this state can garner this much support so early on. Not even our Representatives in Washington!

Please hear our calls.

Run, run, run….. Voters in the 27th are desperate for any, any other option, regardless of party affiliation…  We will support Democrats who run against him.  We will support Republicans who run against him…. We will support Independents who run against him..

If you are a mom or dad… please, please, please run.  It is really not hard to do at all.  Again, all the experts above can guide you through the process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATE ACTION
Florida:

Florida adopted more than 100 revisions to the Common Core State Standards to adapt them to Florida learners following a large-scale review and series of public hearings.

Indiana:

Indiana became the first state to withdraw from the Common Core consortium in 2014 and adopted new standards for ELA and Mathematics validated by state education stakeholders.

Oklahoma:

Oklahoma became the second state to withdraw from the Common Core consortium in 2014 and adopted new standards for ELA and Mathematics validated by state education stakeholders.

South Carolina:

South Carolina became the third state to withdraw from the Common Core consortium in 2014 and adopted new standards for ELA and Mathematics validated by state education stakeholders.

Louisiana:

The Louisiana Governor and legislature enacted legislation to direct the
Education Commissioner to review and develop new standards from 2015-
2016.20 The Education Commissioner also conducted an online survey to gather public feedback on specific standards.

Maine:

The Maine Education Commissioner created a 24-member panel in 2014 to
engage the public, evaluate, and make recommendations on the Common Core Standards.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Governor appointed a committee to review the Common Core Standards and make recommendations regarding revisions before January 2016. The State Education Commissioner also conducted a public online survey to gather public input on specific standards.

North Carolina:

The North Carolina legislature created a committee to review the Common Core Standards, gather public input, and make recommendations to the legislature before December 2015.

Oklahoma:

Oklahoma enacted legislation to repeal the Common Core Standards and revert to its previous Oklahoma standards. School districts retain the option to teach to the Common Core or the Oklahoma standards.25

Pennsylvania:

The Pennsylvania Governor ordered a delay in the implementation of the
Pennsylvania Common Core Standards in 2013 in order for the State to conduct a review and make modifications.26 Approved revisions to the PA Core Standards went into effect on March 1, 2014.

Tennessee:

The Tennessee Governor appointed a committee in 2014 to review the Common Core Standards, gather gather public input, and make recommendations before January 2016.

New York:

Governor’s task force recommends Common Core be scrapped and new state standards be compiled by professional educators and that educational corporations be completely shut out from the process.

====

Delaware

The lemmings follow their educational leaders over the cliff obviously hypnotized by the personal magnetism and scintillating personalities of both Dave Sokala and Earl Jacques.…..