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Forget the Tea Party.  Forget Constitutionalists.  Forget cowboy sheriffs with guns….

Let us focus on law.

From the Stimulus came the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and the Race to the Top grant programs that enabled the Department of Ed to set rules for education, in exchange for the money – rules that normally would be determined by the States themselves under the 10th Amendment….

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

These reforms actually violate three Federal laws. The Department has simply paid others to do that which it is forbidden to do.  Taxpayer money from the stimulus  was used to implement reforms that weakened every State’s autonomy over education…  The Federal Government is running education against the 10th Amendment, even though not specifically allowed under the Constitution.

The flimsy excuse that these ARE state standards only comes from the fig leaf that these standards were led by the Governors at the National Governors Association…  There is no such thing in the U.S. Constitution as a council of governors. Comparing best practices is one thing, but Governors working together to jointly address issues and create rules that affect the whole nation is not a legitimate alternative to Congress, our national representative body. The organizations that introduced Common Core to our nation, state-by-state, had no constitutional commission to do what they did.

Furthermore, it was not the Governors who devised the standards.  The Math Standards were developed by the following, mostly private citizens with no educational background.

  • Sara Clough, Director, Elementary and Secondary School Programs, Development, Education Division, ACT, Inc.
  • Phil Daro, Senior Fellow, America’s Choice
  • Susan K. Eddins, Educational Consultant, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (Retired)
  • Kaye Forgione, Senior Associate and Team Leader for Mathematics, Achieve
  • John Kraman, Associate Director, Research, Achieve
  • Marci Ladd, Mathematics Consultant, The College Board & Senior Manager and Mathematics Content Lead, Academic Benchmarks
  • William McCallum, University Distinguished Professor and Head, Department of Mathematics, The University of Arizona & Mathematics Consultant, Achieve
  • Sherri Miller, Assistant Vice President, Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS) Development, Education Division, ACT, Inc.
  • Ken Mullen, Senior Program Development Associate—Mathematics, Elementary and Secondary School Programs, Development, Education Division, ACT, Inc.
  • Robin O’Callaghan, Senior Director, Mathematics, Research and Development, The College Board
  • Andrew Schwartz, Assessment Manager, Research and Development, The College Board
  • Laura McGiffert Slover, Vice President, Content and Policy Research, Achieve
  • Douglas Sovde, Senior Associate, Mathematics, Achieve
  • Natasha Vasavada, Senior Director, Standards and Curriculum Alignment Services, Research and Development, The College Board
  • Jason Zimba, Faculty Member, Physics, Mathematics, and the Center for the Advancement of Public Action, Bennington College and Cofounder, Student Achievement Partners

The English Language Standards were developed by the following… non Governors…

  • Sara Clough, Director, Elementary and Secondary School Programs, Development, Education Division, ACT, Inc.
  • David Coleman, Founder, Student Achievement Partners
  • Sally Hampton, Senior Fellow for Literacy, America’s Choice
  • Joel Harris, Director, English Language Arts Curriculum and Standards, Research and Development, The College Board
  • Beth Hart, Senior Assessment Specialist, Research and Development, The College Board
  • John Kraman, Associate Director, Research, Achieve
  • Laura McGiffert Slover, Vice President, Content and Policy Research, Achieve
  • Nina Metzner, Senior Test Development Associate—Language Arts, Elementary and Secondary School Programs, Development, Education Division, ACT, Inc.
  • Sherri Miller, Assistant Vice President, Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS) Development, Education Division, ACT, Inc.
  • Sandy Murphy, Professor Emeritus, University of California – Davis
  • Jim Patterson, Senior Program Development Associate—Language Arts, Elementary and Secondary School Programs, Development, Education Division, ACT, Inc.
  • Sue Pimentel, Co-Founder, StandardsWork; English Language Arts Consultant, Achieve
  • Natasha Vasavada, Senior Director, Standards and Curriculum Alignment Services, Research and Development, The College Board
  • Martha Vockley, Principal and Founder, VockleyLang, LLC

Those who are test makers and test evaluators, with a very personal financial stake who would benefit greatly from the outcome are highlighted in RED.

There is nothing in the Delaware Code that says Delaware is subservient to a Think Tank.  There is nothing in Delaware Code that says Delaware’s standards are required to be written by LLC’s. There is nothing in Delaware’s Code to even suggest, that because the standards were developed by those who would later profit greatly from them, we are entitled by our Constitution to accept them.

In fact, no vote by any elected official who is accountable to the people,  has ever been required before implementing Common Core.  IT JUST WAS DONE.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that in the only election where this ever went before the people for a vote, Indiana 2012, the people overwhelmingly threw it out and put in an opposing overseer who was outspent 50 to 1….

All signs of the Unconstitutionality of Implementing Common Core….

Forget the Tea Party.  Forget Constitutionalists.  Forget cowboy sheriffs with guns….

Focus on the law.

Why was this implemented without going through the people first?  They are, after all,  officially “the boss”.

The definition as stated by its inventor … Mike Cohen, Achieve’s president, is this:  “that is the gap between what it takes to earn a high school diploma and what the real world actually expects graduates to know and be able to do”,

I’m sorry. This is absurd. Have we really reached the point where we have to invent a problem by finding the middle ground in something that works, then split it into two parts and work to bring the lower part up to the higher part?….

To me this “expectation gap” is something new. One either graduated high school or didn’t and went on through life based on that choice…. It appears now we have arbitrarily split those high school graduates into two groups. One, those who are B+ and above; and two, those who are B level down through D

But since we can’t create a $400 million curriculum on the idea of effectively lowering grade curves, we invented a curriculum that starts with yelling at kindergarteners for sloppily filling in tiny circles when they can’t even hold a pencil correctly, and smacked it with the name: “college and career ready.”

This program sets the goal to have graduating “D” students rise up to being “B” students, and it has to start in kindergarten, with assessment tests 3 times a year and more each year after that…

The only net difference is that instead of saying you graduated with a C+, you now say you graduated with a 632…. because we are pinning everything to the Common Core tests.

The net total of all we are doing is changing a letter grade to a number and to do so,… it is costing school districts across this nation an extra $16 billion a year on top of what the Federal Government promises and the state punitively takes away….

How about you? This pattern  reminds me so much of junk bonds. Actually that is very appropriate since the impetus of Common Core is being driven by Wall Street.

With junk, opportunists bought the cheap F rated mortgages. They then split those up in five groups and rated their junk A thru F. based on their merits and sold them off. Those F‘s that wouldn’t sell? They then split them up, rated them A thru F then sold them off. Again those left over which did not sell, got split again, and sold…. An entire securities market was created out of mortgages that would never get paid; for in the beginning, all were rated F….

But out of these arbitrary splits a whole industry was created, people got hired, and the bubble swelled, all out of what was once thrown away as  junk.  Eventually at some point in the future, its buyers discovered what it was all along: junk.

“College and Career Ready” is the exact same process now being used to separate what used to be simply either “graduated or didn’t graduate” into multiple distinctions, all requiring excessive investment and in the end, having a result that is still the same, just going by a different name….

So what is the expectation gap?….  As it’s coiner defined, it is the gap between what it takes to earn a high school diploma and what the real world actually expects graduates to know...  “Here Son, you’re graduated!  Run my shop for me, I’m going to take a nap.”

C’mon. Seriously?

.

  • The Founder who gives himself a salary
  • The Board who pay themselves handsomely
  • The Real Estate Broker
  • The Landlord of the Property
  • Vendors who provide Food and Services
  • Construction Crews whether for renovation or ground up
  • Regulators who must inspect the premises.
  • Charter School Umbrella Groups

Did I miss anyone?

 

Against this we must balance the negatives.

  • Children sent to Charter Schools who receive inferior education
  • Teachers underpaid at Charter Schools
  • Less money spent on classrooms at Charter Schools
  • Poorer test scores when Charters are compared to Public.
  • Less overall funding available for needier students still left in the public schools.
  • Children refused entry based on learning disabilities and or economic status
  • The Blight that descends upon a district that allow Charter Schools to come in.
  • Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington DC, Milwaukee, all failing because they allowed Charter Schools.

One must look at the social costs of establishing Charter Schools very carefully.

If one wants creativity and innovation, establish a private school.  Catholics did quite well on that principle.

But public school are for “The Public”.  If it gets paid for with public funds, it needs to benefit the public.

  • Not the Founder
  • Not the Board
  • Not the Real Estate Broker
  • Not the Landlord of the Property
  • Not hand picked Vendors
  • Not affiliated Construction Crews
  • Not Charter School Umbrella Groups

Delaware needs a very serious discussion as to why we got sucked into the Charter School Get Rich Scheme and why we are still considering even more.

Gun Violence Cost Proportioned

80 percent of the cost of treating victims of gun violence in 2010 was borne in part by taxpayers, according to an analysis of hospital and insurance data.

Hospitals in the U.S. spent $630 million in 2010 treating the victims of gun violence, two dollars for every man woman and child in America. The Medicaid costs of gun violence alone that year amounted to approximately $327 million. Private insurers, and hospitals eating the cost of the uninsured, made up the remaining $403 million.

The average cost of a hospital visit for a gun violence victim is $14,000 more than that of the average hospital stay.

But is the hospital cost the only cost to society? It appears no. Gun violence cost the US $174 billion in 2010. The societal cost per firearm assault injury (includes workloss, medical/mental health care, emergency transportation, police/criminal justice activities, insurance claims processing, employer costs and decreased quality of life) … was $5.1 million for each fatality and $433,000 for each hospital-admitted patient. You as a consumer pay this cost in everything you buy; it is added in. Put in perspective that amounts to $522 dollars for every single man, every single woman, and every single child in America.

How can we save ourselves this money? How can we stop the majority of gun violence? Very simple. Register every gun to an single owner so if a gun is used to kill, someone gets held responsible. Very simple. Registering hurts no one; your car, your house, even your vaccinations are registered for example.

Isn’t it horrible we are having a big battle over something as tiny as registering a fire arm which over a decade has cost every man, woman, and child $5,220 dollars? Over “registering?” We’ve lost our senses.

Americans are paying dearly for the “privilege” to keep a gun that is non-traceable. By registering all firearms and thereby being able to keep guns out of those who would use them in criminal actions, great savings can be saved for all the millions of the American people.

We did, we almost won this with the first wave of the attack; we did far better than we expected; we suffered no causalities. Time to launch again for 2014. The truth, and money, both lie flatly on the side of registering all firearms…

Goal should be: if you are not an upstanding citizen? No Gun. Period.

state tax ratesCoefficient Index 2013
Courtesy of Tax Foundation and Philadelphia Federal Reserve

The Real Way to Achieve Educational Reform
Courtesy of Arizona Daily Star/Fitzsimmons

Finally data is proving the point.  In Florida, the Department of Education publishes their study showing :

  • Of the 209 schools in Miami-Dade and Broward with at least 90 percent of students receiving free or reduced lunch, 78 percent received a grade of C or worse. Roughly 39 percent of these high-poverty schools received a D or F.
  • Of the 43 local schools with much lower poverty rates (30 percent or fewer students receiving free or reduced lunch), 86percent received an A, and none received a D or F.

This is in spite of Florida’s (aka Jeb Bush) concentrated attempt to bridge the gap.  Florida’s school letter grades are heavily influenced by standardized test scores. Because test scores drive the calculation — and because research shows that poorer students don’t perform as well on those tests — the better grades assigned to wealthier schools are not a complete surprise.

So are testing grades measuring how well a school teaches kids, or are they simply a reflection of how much money the parents of those students have?

The grades have remain lopsided in Florida even after the state added student learning gains to the formula in 2002. In theory, adding student growth was supposed to give poorer schools a better shot at success, as they would be rewarded for boosting the performance of students

It appears that in spite of all we can do…. and I mean all we can do…. that education will continuously have a direct correlation with income of each student’s parents.  One entry grade teacher remarked you can tell who will be good coming in,  just by how comfortable they are in holding a book.

(Editor’s Note:  Here is where you throw your hands up in the air)

Time to try something new.  I present the kavips Formula for funding schools.

Take the test results from the past year 2013. Off to the side is a percentage of students receiving free lunch. Use that percent of increase as a modifier for this year’s budget. If a school is at 19% low income, they get 119% of their previous budget. If a school is at 90% low income, give them 190% of their budget. All others in between, use the same formula.

What we are doing is applying money at the point where the problem is. All too often, incompetent administrators blame parents. Blah, blah, blah, parents, blah, blah, blah. Well, except for shaming one or two, making a dent in that is entirely out of everyone’s control What we should be focused on, is how do we make an impact considering all the poverty surrounding these school’s neighborhoods?

So how did civilization survive the Dark Ages of medieval times? There were far more of them, than us back then. Civilized man built fortresses, behind which he could retreat if necessary. They preserved civilization inside the high walls, because it sure wouldn’t last outside them. Taking a clue from that, we make our schools fortresses. Not pillars of forebodence, but a welcoming place separate and safe from the real world. A place of no bullies, a place of lots of healthy food, a place to do homework after school, a place to sing, a place to paint, a place to read or get read to. A place to discuss life in the neighborhood, where people really were interested in what you had to say. A place to bring mom. or dad. that had things for them to do. Heck, even let them catch up and finish their missing degrees.

But a fortress to protect civilization. To be sure there will be those who try to crush it. Just as during the medieval time slot, dark knights would try to undo the good they correctly saw taking away their livelihood of crime.

So. lets jump forward one step further and look at this example. You are a new teacher. You get a choice. You can go to the inner city where you will make a huge impact, change lives and perhaps the course of history, and have 90% increase to spend in supplies over what you would if you stayed in the safe suburbs. Or perhaps you are a new principal out to make a name for yourself. You can take over an inner city school, with almost double (+90%) the state money of a suburban school, or stay in your suburban and doggedly try not to slip backwards with less funding.

This counters the reality of today’s practices. Today we cut back and starve our inner-city schools, yet lavish funds on our suburban affluent ones.

And we wonder why test scores mirror the poverty line almost exactly! If someone is ignorant, testing 47 times isn’t going to teach anything. You get the same answer each time.

Money to testing, is just being thrown away. Better instead, to allow a school to receive more, the higher its student’s poverty levels are! That would be “real” education reform….

(Note, this concept was on Rodel‘s original plank (2008), but if you look up their recommendations now, increased funding is completely out of their syllabus.) (The 1%’rs got squeamish)…

Examples:

In Cape Henelopen District:

Brown (W. Reily) Elementary School with a low Social Economic Score of 76.7% gets a 77% budget increase.
Dover Air Force Base Middle School with a low Social Economic Score of 14.0 % gets a 14.0 % budget increase.
Fifer (Fred) Middle School with a low Social Economic Score of 57.2 % gets a 57.2 % budget increase.
Frear (Allen) Elementary with a low Social Economic Score of 52.0% gets a 52.0% budget increase.
Postlethwait (F. Niel) Middle School with a low Social Economic Score of 45.7% gets a 45.7% budget increase.
Simpson (W.B.) Elementary School with a low Social Economic Score of 51.6 % gets a 51.% budget increase.
Star Hill Elementary School with a low Social Economic Score of 37.3% gets a 37.3% budget increase.
Stokes (Nellie Hughes) Elementary School with a low Social Economic Score of 62.7% gets a 62.7% budget increase.
Welch (Major George S.) Elementary School with a low Social Economic Score of 28.2% gets a 28.2% budget increase.

Courtesy of Frank Capra

 

Any investor knows you buy low and sell high.  Buying high and selling low makes you a loser. The same goes with a business.  Buying a business doing very well, will leave you no room for growth.  Your pie can only get smaller, as more businesses arrive on your block and begin exploiting the fact you are so busy, by offering similar quality and prices with lower wait-times.  Their profits grow; while both your market share and profitability decline.

This is why people like monopolies so much.  One can consistently almost guarantee one’s income and profitability.

Now because of “math” it is easier to show great gains on low profitability options, more bang for the buck, than on high ones.  The closer one is to zero the higher percent increase one can show their clients.  If you have just one customer sale, it is easy to have a 100% increase by having 2 customer sales; someone just has to walk into your store.  But if you have 1000 customer sales per day, then it is rather hard to jump up to 2000 customer sales per day.  Where are you going to put them?

Understanding this  is critical to growing the economy.

History lesson.  In the summer of 2007 ARM’s started defaulting as the higher rates kicked in, starting a mushrooming effect up and down the securitized mortgage chain.   In 2008 when Lehman Brothers collapsed,  all hell broke loose.  The world financial markets came within 20 minutes of collapsing entirely.  But the US under George W. Bush restored confidence in the dollar, and people decided to leave their investments alone and let them ride.  That is his most defining moment.  That is one memoir I want to read.

Fortunately Ben Bernanke was an expert on the Great Depression.   Bolster the banks, keep money solvent, coddle corporations, and keep the infrastructure intact.   Knowing full well, if it totally collapsed (like a small town losing its factory) there would be no economic driver to hammer the economy back into shape.

For this reason, great pains were taken to assist big business on their bounce-back.

They bounced back very well.  Only this time, they didn’t need as many people to work for them.  Over the last decade, software had become smart enough to replace many jobs people had previously occupied..  Just that before the recession,  it wasn’t that obvious, It was only after one let people go and ran well or better without them, that one realized how just how fat you were beforehand.

So this brings us to the point.  We have invested in corporate bounce-backs as far as we can go. We have hit the ceiling as far as getting a return on our investment.  On the other hand, now on the labor side, we have great opportunity.  Every little investment over there into into putting people to work, will return great dividends very quickly.

We have to realize there as simply some jobs in society that cannot be performed by machines inside  corporate establishments or a banks.   Those jobs, simply put, are ones whose duty is to watch corporate giants and banks to insure that they comply within the law and prosecute them fully when they step out.

We need these jobs.  We really need them now.  After all, people do not work best without any accountability.  In fact the opposite is mostly true.   When you have to personally answer to a boss, you are more productive. Even when  that demanding boss is oneself; they still answer to someone. Consider the opposite.  If you could be paid whether you did work or not,  would you be as productive as you are now, where if you don’t do work, you don’t get paid?  Or would you take advantage of that opportunity, to heck with productivity, and seek to experience some of the quality of life you missed hereto? Our corporate entities and banks need to answer to a boss. That boss should be the American People via their proxies. the government watchdogs.

Those record breaking Corporate profits which are achieved by cheating society, are not really profits towards society’s benefit at all.  Some one has to eventually pay for them.  If you pump toxic chemicals into the ground to avoid paying for their disposal, at some future point when they hit a water table, society will have to pay to remove them and the damage they caused as well.

It is cheaper now to prevent that action while we have tons of money, than it will be to fix it when we simply do not.

The small business method to fix our economy, is to hire more government workers (invest in a brand new business) and pay for them out of the corporate earnings (our business already tapped out) because they can run with less people.

It is really no change from before.  Except for the person writing the check.  Prior to the recession these people worked for a corporation and got paid by their company. Where we need to go, is to have these people work watching over their former corporations,  now getting their pay checks written by the government, which gets its extra funding to cover their pay, from taxing the excessive profits those corporations are making.  Why are the making them?  Because they aren’t working as many people….

This is quite sustainable when viewed from this perspective, as would be readily seen by the owner of a small business.   If we were happy in the nineties, back when everyone was better off each year than they were before,  then we can be happy again, just by keeping all portions similar, just moving labor from the private to the public, and increasing assessments on the private sector to pay for it.

There are those who will scream.  They are selfish. They will be proven wrong.

As our planet becomes more crowded, we need more solutions. Some solutions are not very profitable and for that reason, we need a government capable to grow to meet them.

The old arguments of government being the problem, are long gone.  They weren’t true ever, though a lot of people believed them back in the day.  The opposite is certainly true now.  As a society we need more watchdogs working to make our lives better.  As a society we really don’t need more profits.  We have too many of them now and really, what good are profits really doing for us? None. Instead, we need more people working and buying things..  Nice things that someone’s got to make…

It is time to pivot in how we view the entire American economy.  Let’s hire us some watchdogs and cut the deficit while doing so, by increasing the rate of taxes on all those profits being sucked up in excess because a lot of workers got fired..

When one looks down over the test scores just release one is quick to notice a pattern.

Appoquinimink dropped -4.4 in 3rd Grade, -2.6 in 5th, -0.1 in 8th and was +2.3 over last year on its ELA. In math, the same trend: -3.0 in third.-6 in fifth, -1.4 in 8th, and 2.3 in 10th.

Watch the trend.

Brandywine ELA -4.3; -0.1; -1.7; 3.0.
Brandywine Math -6.1; 1.4; -3.2; 1.8.

Caesar Rodney ELA: -9.0;-0.3;-1.1;-.-0.6.
Caesar Rodney Math: -5.4;-0.5;-0.9;-2.6.

Cape Henlopen ELA: -10.0;-3.4;-0.4;+0.1.
Cape Henlopen Math: -7.2;-5.4;-0.2;+5.6.

Capital ELA: -6.1;-3.6;-3.4;+2.1.
Capital Math:-2.7;-6.2;-1.4;-5.1.

Christina ELA: -8.2;-2.2;-5.3’+9.2.
Christina Math:-4.0;-5.9;-3.5;+4.3.

Colonial ELA:-3.7;-1.3;+2.3;+0.3.
Colonial Math:-0.6;-6.2;-5.7;-9.5.

Indian River ELA: -5.5;+2.7;-4.3;-0.7.
Indian River Math:-4.5;-0.6;-5.6′-4.3.

Lake Forest ELA: +1.2;-2.5;-4.1;-1.1
Lake Forest Math: +2.2;-7.6;-0.8;-9.1.

Laurel ELA: -2.3;-10.6’+4.9;-5.2.
Laurel Math: -6.8;-10.3;-6.9;-12.6.

Milford ELA: -7.3;-7.9;+0.9;-4.4.
Milford Math:-4.9;-13.6;-0.9;-13.6.

Red Clay ELA: -2.5l+2.2;+2.4;+10.0.
Red Clay Math:-3.8;+1.3;+1.0;+8.1.

Smyrna ELA: -1.3;-2.7;-10.;+7.5.
Smyrna Math:-0.6;-1.6;-5.2;+9.6.

Woodbridge ELA: -1.3;-6.3;-9.4;+18.7.
Woodbridge Math: +1.6;-15.2;-7.3;+2.9.

Statewide ELA: -4.9;-1.8;-1.2;+2.1.
Statewide Math: -3.9;-3.8;-2.8;-2.0.

The basic trend carried over into the state totals, is that the greatest losses occurred in 3rd grade, and the greatest gains were in high school, at the tenth grade mark.

This is the exact opposite of normal trends. When a new program gets rolled out, usually the impact is felt first in the third grade, and that moves upward year after year. In the past, when we’ve rolled out a new curriculum, we focused on the lower grades primarily and augmented that base as they climbed upwards. Most of our gains would be front loaded in the elementary grades, with our minuses taking place in the high schools, who did not have time to learn the “new way”.

This showing the opposite way, is bad news. For this data pattern is saying that those who were immersed in Common Core are the ones who did the poorest, and those who may have dodged it entirely or got a glancing blow, did much better than those on curriculum.

Bad news.

There is enough evidence here to make the hypothesis that Common Core appears to give results poorer than non-common core curriculums. That is why the high schools did better (they weren’t touched) and those immersed pulled down the state’s score.

If anyone has seen the common core materials that actually make it into the classroom, you will instantly understand why these scores dropped.

Changing the Goal Posts in the Middle Of The Game.

Delaware’s New and Old Goals

Chart Courtesy of Transparent Christina

Black type = the original RTTT Application Goals
Red type = detail required to understand and compare the original goals
Blue type = where we stand now at the end of 2012=2013

From our state application for RTTT funds sent to the White House in January 2010.

A)  Delaware will show results quickly. With Race to the Top help, more than half of Delaware’s students will be proficient or advanced on NAEP, and the achievement gap will  decrease by 50% no later than 2014-15.  (The  2009 baseline achievement gaps for Reading are as follows: white black(20.6); white Hispanic(16.8); Disabilities or not(42.6); English proficiency(36.9); Low Income Gap(19.4); Female/Male Gap(7.9))  As of now 2012-13, we stand at the following:  white/black(23.2); white/Hispanic(19.7); Disabilities of not(48.3); English proficiency (36.6); Low Income Gap(23.8); Female/Male Gap(-). Except for one, all gaps have grown under RTTT, not shrunk.

B)  All students will meet state standards,  graduation rates will rise and more students will enter and be successful in college. Graduation Rates in 2009 (85.3). In 2010 (86.7). In 2011(78.5). In 2012 (80.0). In 2013(tba).  Under RTTT graduation rates have fallen, not risen.

C)  In Delaware, student growth is not one factor among many; instead satisfactory student growth is the minimum requirement for any educator to be rated effective. Student growth is now considered essential to teacher and leader effectiveness. In 2013 the entire state’s scores shifted backwards, causing the entire system to receive a rating of ineffective.  As teachers must be fired for poor performance, expectations are that the Governor and Secretary of Education will fire themselves when their replacements have been fully trained in 5 weeks.

D)  Delaware’s newly-defined regulatory framework for school turnaround gives the State the authority to intervene directly in failing schools and requires schools to demonstrate results by achieving AYP within two years.  The state average was 10 points below this year’s target, and now has to increase by 30% to hit next year’s target.  Perhaps we should give someone the authority to intervene directly with the failing members of the Department of Education to require them to demonstrate results by achieving AYP within two years?

E)  By the 2011-12 school year, Delaware’s reform program will be fully operational, leaving the state education system to concentrate on driving rapid improvement to  achieve the greatest possible gains in student achievement. Since 2011-12 under RTTT our graduation rate have dropped 7.7%. . 

F)   Through this reform, Delaware will achieve the following goals:

• 60% proficient or advanced on NAEP 4th grade math by 2014-15….Although the NAEP scores are not out yet,  on the DCAS near 73% 4th graders were proficient in math 2012-2013

• 55% proficient or advanced on all other NAEP exams by 2014-15 Averages on all exams other than Science (under 50%)  in all grades were over the low bar set at 55%.

• Reduce black-white and Hispanic-white achievement gaps on NAEP by half by 2014-15…Blacks have widened the gap by 2.6; Hispanics have widened the gap by 2.9; disabilities have widened by 5.7; Non English has decreased by a 0.3; Low income increased by 4.4. 

• 100% meets-standard on the State’s math and reading exams by 2013-2014… With one year to go, we are near 70% on both.

• 87% graduation rate by 2013-14, and a 92% graduation rate by 2016-17… With one year to go, we don’t yet have access to this year’s data on our graduation rate. Last year’s rate was 80%, up from 72%.

• 70% college enrollment by 2013-14… Figures not yet available.  In 2011 the 4488 Delaware students who went on to college out of roughly 4 classes of 10,000 each, is 45%.

• 85% college retention rate by 2013-14 (with students earning at least a year of credit within two years of enrollment) Statewide 30 percent of Delaware’s ninth-graders remain in college by their second year,

G)  Require that teachers and leaders demonstrate satisfactory levels of student growth in order to receive an “effective” rating, and more than a year of student growth to receive a “highly effective” rating.  If the test is being used to rate teachers then we have catastrophic failure.  State average fell from 73 down to 70.  Target goal was 82. 

H)  Differentiating professional development, promotion, advancement, retention, and removal based on performance:  Either this won’t happen, or over 90% of our teachers will be fired.  As well as this year’s scores show how the merit system of bonuses would be a huge negative influence instead of a positive one.  Oh sorry, you don’t get a bonus for all your effort; test says you did poorly. This just shows Christina District was right all along.

I)  Improving and expanding effective preparation and certification programs. We did and with over 95% of our teachers rated as highly qualified, so far scores have trended backwards.  

J)  Linking tenure protections to performance: The State will seek new legislation requiring that teachers demonstrate student growth to qualify for tenure protections.  Embedded in SB 51

K)  Curricula in classrooms will match new career- and college-readiness standards, following centralized training:  Common Core

L)  Invest broadly in high-need schools, particularly by recruiting, training and retaining highly-effective teachers and leaders.  These schools received cut backs, and were not invested heavily. 

M) Turn around persistently lowest-achieving schools using a collaborative intervention approach supported by a strong regulatory framework.  Pencader?  Moyer(36)?  Reach(29)? Where is the DOE? 

N) Establish a rubric to rate teacher’s performances.

Rubric for testing teachers performance….  (here is the one used in New York as an example…

When Michelle Rhea started her current corporation for educational scorched earth tactics, she boasted she would raise $1 billion a year.

At the end of her second year, the two year total is at $30 million.  That is barely 3% of her one year goal.  If she was a teacher she would have gotten an unsatisfactory performance appraisal and would have been fired, by Michelle Rhea herself.

This whole “fire the teachers” is stupid, especially when the person calling for all the firing, won’t fire themselves when their performance comes in far, far, far below “expectations.”