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New York which had tremendous amounts of kids opting out … Their findings are:

  • The State’s original process to adopt the more than 1,500 Common Core Standards failed to include meaningful input by educators and was not done in a sufficiently open and transparent manner.
  • The Common Core Standards may not be age-appropriate in early grades including K-2.
  • The Common Core Standards do not adequately address unique student populations, such as English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities.
  • The Standards are too rigid and need to be adaptable with more local school district and educator input.
  • There was not enough time for teachers to develop curriculum aligned to the Common Core because much of the sample curriculum resources were not available until after the Common Core Standards were already adopted in schools.
  • The State-provided curriculum created by the State Education Department (SED) is complicated and difficult to use.
  • There is widespread belief that the curriculum does not allow for local district input, lacks breadth, and is too one-size-fits-all.
  • There was a lack of State Education Department (SED) transparency and of parent, educator, and other stakeholder engagement in the development of the Common Core-aligned tests by the corporation hired by SED…..
  • There are concerns that students are spending too much time preparing for and taking tests and that teachers were only “teaching to the test.”
  • The Common Core tests do not properly account for Students with Disabilities and create unnecessary duplicative testing for English Language Learners


The Task Force recommends that the Common Core Standards should be revised to reflect the particular needs and priorities of New York State, and to address the serious barriers to successful implementation that have been identified by the Task Force. The Task Force makes the following 21 recommendations to properly implement a new system:


  1. Adopt high quality New York education standards with input from local districts, educators, and parents through an open and transparent process.
  2. Modify early grade standards so they are age-appropriate.
  3. Ensure that standards accommodate flexibility that allows educators to meet the needs of unique student populations, including Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners.
  4. Ensure standards do not lead to the narrowing of curriculum or diminish the love of reading and joy of learning.
  5. Establish a transparent and open process by which New York standards are periodically reviewed by educators and content area experts.
  6. Ensure educators and local school districts have the flexibility to develop and tailor curriculum to the new standards.
  7. Release updated and improved sample curriculum resources.
  8. Launch a digital platform that enables teachers, including pre-service teachers, and teacher educators, to share resources with other teachers across the state.
  9. Create ongoing professional development opportunities for teachers, teacher educators, and administrators on the revised State standards.
  10. Involve educators, parents, and other education stakeholders in the creation and periodic review of all State standards-aligned exams and other State assessments.
  11. Gather student feedback on the quality of the new tests.
  12. Provide ongoing transparency to parents, educators, and local districts on the quality and content of all tests, including, but not limited to publishing the test questions.
  13. Reduce the number of days and shorten the duration for standards-aligned State standardized tests.
  14. Provide teachers with the flexibility and support to use authentic formative assessments to measure student learning.
  15. Undertake a formal review to determine whether to transition to untimed tests for existing and new State standardized tests aligned to the standards.
  16. Provide flexibility for assessments of Students with Disabilities
  17. Protect and enforce testing accommodations for Students with disabilities.
  18. Explore alternative options to assess the most severely disabled students.
  19. Prevent students from being mandated into Academic Intervention Services based on a single test.
  20. Eliminate double testing for English Language Learners.
  21. Until the new system is fully phased in, the results from assessments aligned to the current Common Core Standards, as well as the updated standards, shall only be advisory and not be used to evaluate the performance of individual teachers or students….

The Task Force finds the following steps should be taken to properly implement a new system for the nearly 700 school districts and 5,000 schools and more than 200,000 teachers and 2.65 million students in the state:

• A comprehensive review of the more than 1,500 standards in Common Core in an open and transparent manner with significant input by educators, parents, local districts and other education stakeholders, with careful consideration of the appropriateness of these standards in early childhood, and for Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners.

• After the comprehensive review of the Common Core Standards, there must be modification, elimination, or creation of standards to form rigorous New York-specific standards.

• Thereafter, the new standards must be reviewed in an open and transparent manner before adoption.

• After the standards are finalized, the State must engage educators to create and disseminate sample curriculum units.

• The State sample curricula must allow time to be modified by the 700 local school districts and 200,000 teachers in order to ease the transition to updated standards while ensuring that local educators have the flexibility to tailor instruction to the needs of their students.

• Adequate time must be allotted for the State to train local administrators and teacher educators on the new standards and develop their capacity in order to lead a seamless transition to the new system.

• Sufficient time for the State and local school districts to help educators unpack and understand the new standards, design curriculum to meet local needs, and adapt instruction.

• A parent engagement process at the local school district level about the new standards, local curriculum, and assessments.

• An overhaul of the current testing system, including reducing the duration and frequency of test days and increasing test transparency to help students, teachers, and parents understand results and use these to inform instruction and support student learning.

• The creation of new assessments aligned with the new standards that incorporate significant involvement of and input from teachers, teacher educators, local districts, and other education stakeholders….


If Delaware had a similar task force, these would be it’s recommendations as well.  However, that we do not have.

We need one, and considering the recalcitrance from the executive branch, the legislative branch needs to step up and become the parent here…..  The spoiled  child needs put in his place.



Lavelle said he’ll use the attorney general’s feedback to determine whether there are loopholes regarding theft of public funds and whether state laws need to be changed.”

Of course there are loopholes in the law… It is called Chapter 5 in Title 14… subheading… “Charter Schools”…

If you give schools total freedom to control all their money and disallow any oversight by anyone, then whatever they do with it,  is legal…  You gave them the freedom to do that.. Below is the quote:

To that end, this chapter offers members of the community a charter to organize and run independent public schools, free of most state and school district rules and regulations governing public education, as long as they meet the requirements of this chapter, and particularly the obligation to meet measurable standards of student performance. Schools established under this chapter shall be known as “charter schools.”


Consistent with its charter and the provisions of its certificate of incorporation, bylaws or membership agreements, the board of directors of a charter school or schools shall, as to each charter that the board holds, have the power to:

(2) Determine its own budget and operating procedures;

Meaning if any charter feels it needs to have a Mercedes for its head honcho in order to compete with Tower Hill or Sanford, it can do so.

Though what these operators did was immoral and a theft of public funds for private use, they did not break the law… because the law is so poorly written it allows this……

Which is why, we need to fund charters only with line items in the state budget, for then different rules apply and we can try in court and punish those who unlike these… “actually” broke a law….

Title 14, Chapter 5, is very specific: stating that Charters can use the funds anyway they wish and laws preventing such, imposed on public school s by their districts, do not apply to them…..

Which is why it is rather funny that Greg Lavelle said this…. as a charter supporter….  He apparently doesn’t know that is what a charter is.



Our core commitment to education needs to be more than creating efficiencies among the various school districts; it must ensure our children learn to the best of their ability. Just as the Nemours Foundation does each day with student health, we must challenge old assumptions, if we are to deliver better results for our children and better performance from our schools.

I’ve talked with thousands of parents and teachers about how to improve education for our children, and the same answers emerge: We need to let Delaware’s dedicated and talented teachers teach. We need to get parents more involved. We need to push individual decisions down to the school level. We need to measure student progress throughout the year, not just at the end of the year. This year, under the leadership of Senate Education Committee Chair Dave Sokola and House Education Chair Terry Schooley, working with Lt. Governor Matt Denn and Secretary Lillian Lowery, we propose legislation that makes three critical changes:

First, it’s time to eliminate the Delaware Student Testing Program. We will replace it with a testing program that measures student progress over the course of a school year. Currently, my daughter gets her DSTP results when the school year is over. This does not help her learn and does not help her teachers adjust to her needs. It does not measure the progress of individual students or the excellence of any particular teacher. Our new system will offer far greater insight into what a student brings to class on the first day and what they need to learn so they can end the school year with the skills required to succeed.

Second, with money saved from moving investments from the back room to the classroom, we will reward excellence in education by paying the state’s highest-performing teachers more and better, reward truly great teachers in high-risk schools.

Third, we will offer greater flexibility to our local schools, so they can better solve problems and encourage them to be more innovative. In exchange for this freedom, districts will be held more accountable for results and will need to be more transparent in how they spend state money.

But education must not end with a diploma. To ensure our financial and economic foundation, while we better educate our children for a brighter future tomorrow, we must continue to educate our current workforce today and create an economic climate where businesses and employees can thrive across a range of industries.

Oh…. the irony 7 years later….. I was tempted to insert  red  rebuttals to snark all the wayward actions  taken in the opposite direction from this vision, but… you don’t need me to see that…

Score-point changes between 2013 and 2015 for fourth-grade public school students assessed in NAEP mathematics, by state/jurisdiction

Delaware's NAEP change

Our NAEP performance was really bad.. We almost tied for the second worst loss. (Thank heavens for Lillian Lowery’s Maryland for taking the greatest loss since 2013. Sending her across the Mason Dixon line paid off.)

The reason this is significant is because Common Core curriculum and methods, is all 4th Graders know… Students in the Fourth Grade in 2015, were in Third Grade in 2014, Second Grade in 2013 and first Grade in 2012…. When compared to our 8th Graders below, their score drop is double and drastic.

Delaware naep 8th grade drop

Though our state’s math scores dropped in 8th Grade, it is nowhere nearly as bad as other states .  These Delawarean 8th graders only had three years of common core.  Which means the first five years were under good educational policy and it was that strong base which put them at advantage over those states simply struggling financially to get their buses to run every day

Comparing these two charts and backtracking the students’ development to find the expanse of time they suffered under Common Core, leads to the startling conclusion:  Common Core is bad for achieving results…

The DOE knew this as early as 2012, when our state’s test results showed quite plainly that students in Common Core pilot classes had considerable drops in their DCAS scores from the previous year, whereas their peers being taught “old school”, had continuous gains.

Why that was never brought to legislator’s attention, or the News Journal’s, or the public, … is open to speculation.

4th Grade NAEP gain or loss (2015-2013)

NAEP map of 4th grade mathNAEP map of 8th Grade

8th Grade NAEP Gain or Loss (2015-2013)

Maps don’t lie.. Common Core has failed America….. So, why have no Delaware legislators put forth legislation removing the Smarter Balanced and replacing it with our own test, one created by our own teachers?

That is a puzzling question.  One could see if they were lied to, why they might originally trust the only source of information available.  But now, Murphy is gone. Truth is out. Evidence exists. We have the proof by the “nation’s report card” that Common Core is not just neutral, but dangerous.

So why has no one put forth a bill to undo the damage by getting rid of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, making this its last year?

By continuing to only do what we always have, we only get the same results we always got…



Having a positive mindset in math may do more than just help students feel more confident about their skills and more willing to keep trying when they fail; it may prime their brains to think better.

Of the children in the study, 47 were asked to either stare at a fixed point or identify whether a series of addition problems were correct while being scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, a noninvasive method of identifying brain activity by measuring changes in blood flow in the brain.

Professor Chen and his colleagues found that students with higher positive-mindset levels in math were more accurate at identifying correct and incorrect math problems, even after controlling for differences in IQ, age, working memory, reading ability, and math anxiety.

A lower positive-mindset level was likewise associated with lower math performance….

Students with high positive-mindset levels had generally greater brain activity in a number of areas of the brain associated with math problem-solving: the hippocampus, the left dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, the left supplementary motor area, the right lingual gyrus, and the dorsal cerebellum. In particular, the researchers found faster, smoother connections, called “upregulation” between the hippocampus—an area often associated with the ability to quickly remember math facts and processes—and the other brain areas associated with math problem-solving.

Common Core is designed to give children a lower positive-mindset level.. That is its whole purpose.  Take children struggling to jump over a 3 foot high jump, raise the bar to 5 feet, berate the children on their performance, and fire the coach because the same number who could jump a 3 foot high jump, couldn’t muster the 5 foot one…

How does that make a child feel.  How does that make you feel?

Hence their focus on rigor and grit.  Nicer words than “child torture”, I’ll admit, but still having the same meaning…

This study suggests that the wiring of our brains is such that when we have a positive mental attitude, we perform better….


But at least there is a study now that has data to prove it… The corporate education reformers who suggest  that having a prison-like atmospheres in their schools, who are keen on making little children suffer, who get so excited they perspire when they talk of failing 70% of America’s students…  still have zero evidence that their solution has ever borne results… All they have is theory.

So now, we evidence that backs common sense; evidence that debunks Common Core… It’s lightweight. It’s the first.  But still it is evidence that pursuing the Smarter Balanced Assessments past 2016, will drop Delaware even lower in Math than it is already….

It is ironical that on the NAEP, often called the nation’s report card… recently in the news for its collapse and the negative direction its results .. did have bright spots that continued the historical gains the NAEP had always shown up until now…  .but they came from states not doing Common Core… Those states jumping into Common Core most aggressively (Delaware is one) had the greatest losses over 2013….

So evidence is mounting… Common Core is bad.  Smarter Balanced Assessments take us in the wrong direction, and the only reason we went down this path, was because someone connected with it was going to get rich one day….

(or get mentioned on Chuck Todd broadcast as a person-to-be-watched.)






Yes the kids.

But everyone is talking about them… Not that it is greater or less than that true tragedy, I want to talk about what is NOT being talked about….

How Delaware MET’s failure impacts students in Christina School District.

210 students attend the school, as far as the money goes.  If those 210 had remained in the district, the district would be $4342 richer for each student… $911,905…..

Bottom line is because Delaware has this misguided Charter School program, Christina District shelled out $911,905 dollars this year so 210 children could get an inferior education….

That is just wrong.

Charters don’t only hurt those students getting an inferior education, but they hurt those who stay in public schools which have to cut back due to $911,905 dollars less.

Just the average across the whole district, those 16,255 all as a conglomerate, LOSE   $56 dollars because of Delaware MET……

This one school, an absolute failure, yet someone (check the landlord) did get rich off the deal. cost every single child of Christina $56 dollars…

Your Christina tax money…. $56 that SHOULD HAVE GONE TO YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL….  is gone… waste, waste, waste…

Check.. Based simply on the average loss per student, here is how just this one failed charter affected your child’s school…….

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Based on averages, and solely because of the DOE’s insistence and state board’s approval of MET,  each of these schools now has this much less to spend on educating its children entrusted to it by our system of laws, feeder patterns, checks, and balances.

During this holiday season it seems so appropriate to borrow some words from “It’s A Wonderful Life..”

“Strange, isn’t it? Each individual (charter school) touches so many other lives.”

Charters… the worst thing happening to American education. But we can fix that easily.  Fund them with line items in the state budget and disallow them to take money away from all other students in all other schools…


It is pretty simple.  It is how people learn…

The way our thoughts are gathered is like a crystal of sugar in a solution of sugar water.  A molecule touches another in close proximity and they join. Together they touch molecules closest, and they join too. Knowledge like sugar crystallization, forms from a center point outward.  One molecule on one side of the jar does not join with a molecule from the other side of the jar.

Often we can cause sugar to return to solidity in solution by putting an object into the solution which initiates this process. Several molecules adhere to the surface object and the crystallization begins.

We learn the same way.  We take what we know, and add to it.  We don’t learn foreign languages as our first language for example.  We learn objects in one language and that becomes our central core or language template… Then we can catalog another tongue by learning how their words and structure compare to our words and structure…

Across America, today’s learning process has become scattered.  We are required to put so many tiny pieces of a smörgåsbord’s item on a sampling plate, that it becomes very hard for the child to describe what the food would look like in its natural form… All he ever sees is tiny bite sized pieces… Describe a roast beef you ask them… It’s small, about a half inch square, it’s meat, and is chewy, and has juice that squirts out when you chomp down on it…  Is that big thing at the end of the table a Roast Beef?  Oh, no… they respond.

We learn incrementally on what we already know… which makes it hard to teach people who really don’t know anything, something.

When you take children from their environment and put them into someone else’s environment, they are going to take what they know and carry it to that environment, because it makes them comfortable and feels more like home..  They bring drugs, violence, more drugs, and more violence because in that environment, they control the dynamics and it is not as intimidating or scary anymore.

You break that by having children go to school in their own neighborhood. Now because they are “black” we have imposed legal restrictions on allowing them to be treated as children.  Restrictions that did not apply when Poles lived in that neighborhood.. Restrictions that did not apply when Italians lived in that neighborhood… Restrictions that did not apply when Irish lived in that neighborhood…. The only difference between the violence and crime then,… versus now?   Is that the NRA didn’t supply them with handguns back then.. Rifles were hard to get as well.  But you had switch blades.. brass knuckles… billy clubs…. baseball bats… and instead of heroin… you had boot-licker alcohol often made with methyl alcohol instead of ethyl..

But we taught those Poles in their Polish neighborhood… And Italians. And Irish..  Are they incapable of getting good jobs today?  No. They are highly capable today as White Anglo Saxon Protestants of filling in for an employer.  So will our blacks be if we let them go to school in their own neighborhood.

Because of their familiarity with the neighborhood, and close proximity to all they know, learning will process faster (as long as the disruptions are removed), just as were Polish, Italian, and Irish disruptions removed probably in the exact same percentages…


How it went wrong… Let us take Glasgow High School.  It once had a bad reputation.  All would agree that Glasgow’s problems were imported from the city.  All of Glasgow’s problems..were imported.. from the city.   The drug conduit was established.  Lots of money available in the suburbs led to a high demand for recreational drugs whose economy depended on individuals shuttling the contraband and payments up and down the 95 corridor.  The net result was violence which like Wilmington today, is 97% cause by fights over economic turf…..

The greater legal issues created inaction by administrators.  They could not be seen to have a mostly white staff discipline and suspend only blacks because flat out, that appeared racist… and so you did not effectively make positive change. You discussed, tried to look tough in case anyone was watching through the door, and then you let them go right back into their old environment with absolutely no real consequence….

Only after one time of showing the entire school you would back down to black thuggery, the entire control over discipline in that school broke down.

This would not happen in an all black school.  It does not happen in an all black school.  If a black principal in an all black school, suspends an person who is all black,,, it is not racist.  It is disciplining a thug so the rest of the children can learn…  Which we all agree is what needs to happen…  99% of our children enter the school system excited to learn…  when you let 1% stop that process, the entire school becomes disillusioned and soon, no one else wants to learn either.

We’ve always had reports of immigrant bashing…  gangs of one white subgroup would maraud against gangs of another white subgroup.  I’m sure it happened in the Roman Times as well.  But when you had Polish schools in Polish districts, you had Polish discipline in Polish districts, and for the most part, you had normal schools even though they were in impoverished neighborhoods just as are black schools now….

Imagine though, if you had Italians going to school with all Irish teachers, or Polish children going to school with Italian teachers… When one of those children misbehaved and were disciplined, would not wars erupt? Absolutely….

So we need to get over the idea that all black schools in black neighborhoods is a bad thing… It isn’t… Disrupting a child’s learning process by flipping the familiarity of their environment upside down, however is a bad thing….  I’m sure every parent of 30 to 24 year olds today remembers the trauma and learning problems that occurred when Christina District sent its suburban white children up the 95 corridor into the black neighborhoods surrounding Bancroft, Bayard, and Pyle, I believe…

Familiarity is necessary for learning.  And what we are most familiar with as young children is our home.  If we can count on that being unchanging, then as students we are free to have much more time to actually focus on what we are in school for… learning….

And when it becomes perfectly clear, that the sole reason blacks are in that all black school run by all black highly trained professionally trained educators….. is to learn… and that no unruly student is going to disrupt that process…. then we will have turned the corner.








There now is no reason  not to override Markell’s veto of HB50.

The past reasons, that it would damage education; that it would hurt Civil Rights, that it would restrict federal funding, that it would be damaging for the child, are as of its passage, superfluous.

Instead, the ESEA now gives states all rights on how to handle opt out. They still require 95% compliance on students taking the test, but the state has the right to decide how to now define compliance.

So simply put, the state can establish a formal deadline for opt-out, as it does for school choice, and all those registered before deadline are eliminated  from the pool of 100%… The compliance figure will then only then be based on the percent taking the test of the number of students who chose not to opt out,…  it should be over 95% without problem.

No penalty.

Would hurt Civil Rights?  The antiqued concern is that back when separate but equal ruled, they were separate, but not equal. Funding for black schools was cut or moved to white schools.  Educational opportunity between races was not equal. Today’s mandatory testing, …by forcing people to notice the inequality caused by poverty and prejudice, helps resources flow to areas of need. Civil rights leaders were concerned that without tests, the glaring inconsistencies again get pasted over and ignored, and black education again becomes inferior.

But with the ESEA,  comes new money for programs other than academics that are desperately needed.  Early Ed, Afternoon School, Daycare till single moms get off work. etc. The real needs now have money. Whether a student opts out or not in the inner city, now has no consequence on the flow of money to its schools. That is set in stone.

Likewise the fear that high opt outs would restrict Federal Funding.  That bluff was called and New York verified that despite almost 50% opt out levels, full funding hit each school.  As of passage and signing, funding is divorced from test scores.  High or low participation, the funding is consistent.  The argument that something bad could happen if opt out gathered steam has evaporated completely, even though no evidence was ever there prior…

The idea that opting out could be damaging for the child’s record is now gone.  States  no longer are committed to sticking to the PAARC or Smarter Balanced. They can all make up their own. In fact, expect a large push in Delaware to scrap this SBA and return to something similar to the DCAS, a great test if something could ever be called that…

Prior to this we always said: if you want to end the opt-out movement, end the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  That was the driver infuriating people enough to opt out their child!  If any opt out movement existed prior, it was very quiet… Anyone ever hear of an opt-out movement for the DCAS?

The entire function of the test is now eliminated. The test was purposefully designed not to benefit each child taking it.  Whereas comparatively, the DCAS test could be used immediately to provide feedback to the student still fresh from taking it, the Smarter Balanced results emerged the following school year and gave nothing but a numerical score, one that was isolated, scaled differently from any other testing score, past or present…. with as much credibility as a lottery ball dispenser machine spitting out a random number ball and that becomes your score…

The test was to be used to fire teachers and to fire principals and to close schools by forcing scores to remain below a fake bar of proficiency.  A bar set so high, even professional adults failed to best it.  With passage of the ESEA, test scores will NOT to be the  make-or-break main method of accountability…

As of passage, there is absolutely no reason for a child to waste any time on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  It does not help him. It does not hold anyone accountable, so really, why take it?

Parents as outlined in the ESEA have full right to determine their child’s education.  They are first line of defense.

HB 50 just makes this official… it provides backing so if a school is unfortunate to have a Principal Edward R. Rooney (Ferris Beullar’s Day Off) who breaks into your home to make your child take the test (practice your karate skills), you have backing to continue your right to opt out…..

Which is exactly why that protection needs to be reinforced… Oregon passed Opt-Out and will function fine under the ESEA….

The real issue behind HB50 is who will ultimately decide policy for the state: a governor who seems to be under the spell of Wall Street… or 62 individually elected representatives, each who live and shop in the districts that elected them, who all voted with the will of the people…?

That is why first order of business needs to be over-riding the HB50 veto which now though a perfunctory exercise, has profound symbolic and strategic value as future serious issues pop up in 2016 on which the Governor’s current actions bely him to be standing solidly on the wrong side….









The release of 2015 NAEP scores showed national achievement stalling out or falling in reading and mathematics..

Critics of Common Core tended to blame the standards for the disappointing scores.  Its defenders said it was too early to assess CCSS’s impact and that implementation would take many years to unfold….

In the rush to argue whether CCSS has positively or negatively affected American education, these speculations are vague as to how the standards boosted or depressed learning.

One telling example is this:

Something significant happened in 2011. It is probably safe to say that Common Core shifted text materials more to nonfiction than any event having occurred any time in the past.

There is no evidence however that shifting to non-fiction creates better students.  In fact, evidence points to the exact opposite.

Prior to WWII our English curriculum was heavily based on British Classical writings covering drama, prose, poetry, and novels. Only after the 60’s with the informalization of education and the original ESEA of 1965, did problems of not being college ready after 12 public school years of education, begin. Until that time, a literature heavy English curriculum was understood as precisely the kind of precollege training students needed.

The very gaps Common Core was addressed to alleviate, will worsen.

“High achieving students in academically oriented private and suburban schools may receive rich literary historical instruction, students in the bottom two thirds of our student population with respect to achievement, especially those in low performing schools, will receive noncumulative, watery training in mere reading comprehension.”

Does College and Career readiness depend on non-informational texts being taught over 50% of the time?  It appears no.

For one, the purveyors of Common Core offer no support or evidence showing how non fiction promotes higher proficiency in reading when compared to students who read almost entirely all classical fiction.  For two, there is compelling evidence that the opposite is true.

Literary study in 1900 shifted from studying the classics to studying British Literature primarily at the insistence of the Committee of Ten, a group who convened in the 1890’s to standardize uniform entry requirements for college.  Their work developed syllabi which listed required readings at each grade level. These syllabi influenced students up until after WWII. At no time did colleges cry out that a rich English literature background would impede college progress, In fact, it was seen as a necessary requirement.

Then in the latter 60’s as massive funding from ESEA began pouring into schools to alleviate “gaps”, academic levels began to become disappointing. In ELA efforts to improve achievement were undermined by inferior, lazy reading texts on lower levels of difficulty.  As a result, remedial course-work in college has exploded, aided and abetted by lower admission’s requirements..

One of the best publicly educated states this past decade as consistently been Massachusetts. In  1997 Massachusetts developed a literature rich ELA curriculum.  The results were impressive. Massachusetts led the nation in reading scores from 2005 onward. It’s numbers of Advance Placement successes, are also highest in the nation. Simply because they reintroduced classical British literature into all classrooms.

A diminished emphasis on literary study will prevent students from acquiring a rich understanding and use of the English language, a development which demands the exposure to the thinking of the most talented writers of English. Increasing informational reading in English class will tend to lead to a decreased capacity for analytical thinking in all students.

The choice of curriculum is not given a literary historical basis but instead is chosen by how well it supports the language construct being taught. In other words,”How” the test are supportive, takes precedence over what is being taught.

Common Core lays out what students should be able to do… not what they should know. In other words, the skilled naive worker…..

One can’t help but wonder if the case for more informational texts and increased complexity (though not necessarily text difficulty) is a camouflage for lowering academic challenge so more high school graduates now appear ready for college upon or before graduation.

The recent collapse of NAEP scores show that dissipation of knowledge, is  exactly what is beginning to happen…..

Graphs are nice for a glance. But they are difficult to flip between when finding comparative data… And if you saw the graphs in the post below this, congratulations.  And if you haven’t yet, flip here and accept my congratulations .  These numbers come from those graphs….

Here are Excel spreadsheets to augment other comparisons.

Excel ELA levels for SBA

Excel MATH levels for SBA

And here are the visuals.

img sba ela

img sba math

A couple of trends stand out. One is that obviously that 11 Graders did not take this test as serious as their counterparts. For them there was no reason to take it and they obviously did not invest any effort.

Second is that those Delaware students in first and second grades whose curriculum WAS Common Core in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, received enough training and skills to do well on this test in 3rd and 4th and 5th grades. Expect this trend to continue and as each year graduates and marches across the columns… In 5 years the third graders will be in 8th Grade and the entire row will be near the top. (Congratulations to the Governor in office during 2020 under whose term amazing progress will be claimed to have been made in education….)

This simply means that if you were trained in Spanish two years before your Spanish test, you did better than those who weren’t trained in Spanish who had to convert everything from the original language learned, into the language now being tested.. I hope everyone gets the analogy so I don’t have to explain it.

We tested in a brand new way. Those trained in the new way did better than those trained in the old way whose brains had to translate what they once learned, over to what they now were being tested….

But caution should still be made when comparing our state to other states. No one can be held accountable for these scores because they are so many variables still in play.

One example: Delaware is well wired for the internet and all of its tests were done electronically.

That creates test taking problems in the higher grades. The student may do the complicated problem correctly but err in its input. Other states, particularly those outside the compact East, took their most of their upper level tests with pencil and paper, not having sufficient internet in place to test every student electronically. This pencil and paper testing familiarity could play in having the Midwest states score surprisingly higher in the upper grades, despite their scores being below Delaware’s in the early grades…

But quite strikingly…. whereas other states range of scores were consistent across their grades, Delaware’s change occurred because our state’s grades tumbled between 5th and 6th to then hold at that level, not the level of the first three grades. That precise pinpoint in time was the year we began teaching Common Core.  What this test proves is that if taught a new method you can be tested on the new method;  but if taught the old method, you are lost. Whereas other states (not as forwardly prepared for the Smarter Balances as Delaware) were lost across the board,  we were only lost 6th Grade on.

Each state sets their own cut scores.  So although Missouri may have taken the same test as Delaware students, it deemed a lower score as proficient in comparison to us.  All this graph shows us is the percentage of proficients.

All which support one developing conclusion. The idea that these tests would allow cross comparison across all boundaries is now defunct. Meaning that these tests if further developed to improve student development, may have some future merit, but to have them used for any accountability or ranking indicator, is shameful.

This test bears false witness as to whether a child is proficient or career or college ready.  We need to return to the old method. At least then, we knew….