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Perhaps it hasn’t been made clear with all the scandals breaking minute by minute from inside the charter school’s network… One would rightly get the impression that our entire educational system if not government has run amok…

To be clear; that is not so.  It is only 4 people in gatekeeper positions who either let legislation go forward or not, which are creating this gigantic mess.  just 4 people….

Governor Jack Markell  — vetoed HB 50 , the most popular legislation overwhelmingly passed by a bipartisan legislative vote to allow opt-out.

Secretary Murphy — now leaving and whose villainous leadership vacuum here will now be filled by Gov. Markell hand picked appointee Penny Schwinn.

8th Senatorial District Senator Dave Sokola:  who bottled up HB 186  (a bill mandating public audits on Charter Schools) from going onto the Senate Floor for a vote. Also Sponsored SB 51.

27th Representative Earl Jacques   Was unceremoniously put in John Kowalko’s seat as chair of the House Education Committee and has since held up all responsible financial legislation aimed at holding charter accountable to taxpayers funding… Also sponsored HB 165 which now allows the state to subsidize private owners of charter schools with less accountability than have public schools.

Most of our legislature and public officials are deeply concerned about the horrid policies now crushing schools, students, teachers, and parents.  Yet based on our system which allows individuals to decide what pieces of legislation they shall be allowed to vote,…. nothing happens.

4 people… Remember that the next time you go off on generalities… it is not a problem where everything is fvcked up… It is a problem where 4 certain people are making everything fvcked up…

Last spring, you wouldn’t find the fifth-graders in Language Arts class reading as many rich, engaging pieces of literature as they had in the past or huddled over the same number of authentic projects as before. Why?

test calendar

Because teachers had to stop teaching to give them a Smarter Balanced Assessment online sample test that would prepare them for the upcoming Smarter Balanced pilot pre-test which would then prepare them for the Smarter Balanced test itself – all while taking other tests required by this state.. This amounted to  three tests, each  over 2 ½ hours, in a single week, the scores of which would determine the academic track students would be placed on in middle school the following year.

Even now in the Department of Education are upcoming policy changes they hope to sneak through requiring kids to be held back if they do not score proficient or higher on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Which means if you child got a proficient this year, you had better worry.  He is very close to failing next year.  If he got under proficient, he will if this gets sneaked in, be held back until however many years it takes to pass the test.

This is why the corporate shills Markell, Sokola, Jacques, Lavelle have pushed so hard against opt out…

Opt out is the parent’s right to refuse to play… consider it simply as you writing a note to keep your kid out of dodgeball on the day it’s played in gym.

Ask.  Why should your child suffer just so they can rate both schools and teachers’ performances?   Is that the reason you and your spouse decided to have or keep your child, so he could one day help in the evaluations of schools and teacher’s performances?

Parents by now have seen their Smarter Balanced results.  Parents by now have said this does not represent MY CHILD. By now parents finally understand the silliness of making their kids suffer so heavily just so Corporate America can open public education to private investment.

Parents need to say…. Nope, we’re not going to take it…. we’re not going to take it anymore….

Which incidentally sounds exactly as if it came from a 80’s anthem …

We’re Not Gonna Take It, We’re not gonna take it. No, we ain’t gonna take it
We’re not gonna take it anymore

Opting out of the test is the best thing you can do for your child.  Don’t worry, there are absolutely zero negative consequences against which you cannot be allowed to sue.   So opt out, dare them, if you get one ounce of negative feedback, sue them and pay off your house…

Opt out passed the House 36-3 and the Senate 14-7… both have veto over-ride majorities if they choose to overthrow the governor’s veto.  Already If you live in Christina District, opting out is the law of that land,  officially approved by one of the most parent friendly school boards in this state.

Most of all,… you owe it to your child.  School should be for children again.. and you can make the difference. Opt out.


Hawaii (not shown) enters at 48% passing ELA and 41 passing Math.

Below is a chart put together using US Census Data.

Oregon  2% black.

Connecticut  11.5% black

Vermont  1.2% black

Delaware  22.2% black

Idaho  0.8% black

Washington 4.1% black

Missouri  11.8% black

Maine  1.4% black

West Virginia 3.6% black

California 6.5% black

Hmmmm. very interesting.  It appears that Delaware’s blacks are superior to 5 other state’s whites.  So don’t let them hit you with that achievement crap over your head….  In fact, Delaware’s score is pretty impressive. which means that the building blocks were in place long before we rushed into this test.

One of the best pieces I’ve read. Sometimes we are too ingrown to this controversy to be able to explain it adequately… IF you are just now wondering why your child’s scores are so low, and if this test is NOT a true reflection of your child… THIS brilliant piece below is WHERE you need to start.


OK, so what in the hell is the big deal about asking kids to take a standardized test, you might well ask, and that is an excellent question.

Smarter Balance and all the hype behind hides the most important question and therefore the answer as well. Is the test useful, and the answer is no. It serves no educational use and damages the overall learning experience.

Let’s start with the basic question, what is the purpose of the test? As I understand it, as a teacher with over 25 years of experience, the purpose is to provide one of two things.

A) Do the students understand the content I am teaching them?

B) At the end of the unit, have the students mastered the material?

Now, both A and B offer me immediate feedback, allow we to intervene appropriately as well as to challenge those who have already mastered the…

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When Governor Markell vetoed HB 50, the said he could not support encouraging opt-out of the annual state assessment, which provides information for teachers and school leaders to determine areas in which students are excelling or need additional help.

The results are out, and so every parent desperately looks at the chart to see where students are excelling or in need or additional help.

Here is what they see.

They see their child’s literacy score and math score… It ranges between 2210-2724 for ELA; 2235 – 2748 for math.

They see what looks like a thermometer divided into 4 levels.  Across the middle of the graph is a dark line representing he cut score. which in English Language Arts is 2531 and in Math it hovers at 2552.

On the side are listed three headlines…

  • State Average 2523
  • School Average XXXX
  • District Average XXXX

and similar for Math……

  • State Average 2511
  • School average XXXX
  • District Average XXXX

They see a marker like the mercury in a thermometer rising to show their child’s score. They can compare their child to the state average, school average, and district average.

Beneath these graphics on the bottom half of both pages is a box which on ELA is broken down into 4 columns and on Math is broken down in three.

In both ELA and Math the top line reads.

How Did Your Student Do in the Different Areas of the Assessment?

The Columns in ELA are Reading, Speaking and Listening, Writing, Research/Inquiry.

The Columns in Math are Concepts and Procedures, Problem Solving: Modeling and Data Analysis, Communicating Reasoning. 

Then underneath in each column, are a triangle with an exclamation point inside, and the words… Below Standard For This Area..

Finally below that are the announcements…

In ELA,….. Student has difficulty (a)reading closely and analytically to comprehend a range of increasingly complex literary and informational texts); (b) employing effective speaking and listening skills for a range of purposes and audiences);(c) producing effective and well grounded writing for a range of purposes and audiences);(d) engaging in research and inquiry to investigate topics, and to analyze, integrate, and present information)…..

In Math….. Student has difficulty (a) explaining and applying mathematical concepts); (b) solving a range of complex well-posed problems in pure and applied mathematics, making productive use of knowledge and problem solving strategies);(c) clearly and precisely constructing viable arguments to support their own reasoning and to critique the reasoning of others)

There is then a FAQ portion which goes like this for both ELA and Math….

The Smarter ELA/Literacy Assessment has four claims: Reading; Speaking and Listening: Writing; and Research/Inquiry.  Each claim is a summary statement about the knowledge and skills students are expected to demonstrate on the assessment related to a particular aspect of the Delaware Content Standards–Common Core Standards for the ELA/Literacy…

The math is identical except for this line which subs for the highlighted line above…

Three Claims:  Concept & Proceedures; Problem Solving; Modeling and Data Analyses; and Communicating Reasoning.


 Then in bold, they  give you advice I’ve been saying  for years now….


Take the test.

Gain familiarly with the test software platform and sample test questions for grades 3-8 and 11 by taking a practice test.

Followed by a paragraph that declares boldly:

Learn More.

On the back of the four page folder, in the top half, is a dark box with buff colored font.

Resources & Facts

Then in white colored font it asks:

Are my child’s scores good enough?

While it is the goal of the school to have your child achieve at the highest level possible at a minimum, children are expected to perform at the Meets Standard level in each subject at each grade level.

How are student prepared for online testing?

A practice test is available to families to try out the on-line testing system at  To use the practice test, you will need to install a free Mozilla Firefox browser on your home computer. The latest version of Adobe Flash must also be installed on the computer. A link to download the browser can be found on the website with the practice test.

What about families that do not have home computers?

Delaware State Parent Advisory Council respects the fact that in order for families to be able to provided optimum support to their children they will need a home-based computer and internet access.  The advisory council may be ablet o provide these valuable resources to low-income families. Please Contact the Delaware State Parent Advisory Council, P.O. Box 643 New Castle, DE 19720. (302) 722-7206.

How will Smarter assessments contribute to student success?

Administered online these new assessments provide an academic check-up0 adn are designed to give teachers and parents information to help students succeed:

  • Smarter assessments replaced existing tests in ELA/Literacy and Mathematics for grades 3-8 and high school.
  • Scores from the new assessments represent a baseline that provides more accurate information for teachers, students, and parents as they work to meet the demands of college and career.
  • Parents can use this information to better communicate with teachers and school administrators about their child’s success.

Finally one more buff bubble with this inside…

visit  for more information onf DE reports.


That is what is says. here are some issues.  There is nothing that tells parents or teachers what their child is missing.

Student has difficulty explaining and applying mathematical concepts…  So is he bad in division? And is it just long division? Or is it addition, subtraction, multiplying, division, averaging, exponents, formulas, algebraic thinking, pre calculus, geometry, etc…  Where is the specific information we are suppose to get out of this $119 million dollar paln? The DCAS gave us much more detailed information.  This test’s results compared to those of previous tests is a flat out joke.

Student has difficulty reading closely and analytically to comprehend a ranges of increasingly complex literary and informational needs…

“This child’s in third grade”… i just want to know if she can read.  She reads fine in car as we drive by readable signs.  So what part of reading is she not getting?  On this the Smarter Report card is silent….”

We now know why there is a direct correlation between test scores and family income.  My goodness, can you image taking this exam without prior access to computers except when they come in on their first day and take this test.  This is where this test is more discriminatory than any previous.  This slants the higher scores to the wealthy because only they have access to computers at home,. and leaves the poor choking on dust. You must have a computer to do well on this test; versus you only need a pencil to do well on the last test with which we replaced with the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

You should have your child’s score today or tomorrow.. Every parent will look and say : “WTF kid, you’ve gone down!”

Blame not your child. Blame not his teacher… Instead, blame Jack Markell… (Mark Murphy leaves in 9 days so all the blame on him will be sent there simply to shift it from where it deserves to lie which is),  Blame Dave Sokola.  Blame Earl Jacques… These three destroyed your child’s score….

The achievement level setting process was set by two groups. an online panel that allowed broad stakeholder participation and provided a wide data set, and a more traditional in-person workshop that provided focused judgment from a representative stakeholder panel...  Both panels used the “Bookmark Proceedure”, (Lewis, Mitzel, Mercado, & Schultz, 2012),

In technical speak  each multiple-choice item was mapped in accordance with its “probability of correct response” for each scale score, and each constructed response item was mapped once for each score point, that is, for the probability
of obtaining a score of 1, 2, 3, or higher at each scale score point.


The standard Bookmark procedure (Mitzel et al., 2001) is a complete set of activities designed to yield cut scores on the basis of participants’ reviews of collections of test items. The Bookmark procedure is so named because participants
express their judgments by entering markers in a specially designed booklet consisting of a set of items placed in difficulty order, with items ordered from easiest to hardest.

This method is versatile in mixed testing environments and so with increased new testing it has acquired new popularity.  The participant reviews the test. He ranks each task in one of four categories.  (Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced), The participant then organizes all the questions based on his judgment from easiest to most complicated, and puts them down in a little book.

The Bookmark procedure relies on the basic relationship between person ability () and item difficulty (b), discrimination (a), and pseudo-guessing (c), where the probability of answering a dichotomously scored item correctly (P) can be expressed as shown in equation 
Pj(X=1|) = cj + (1 – cj)/{1+exp[-1.7aj( – bj)]} 
where Pj is the probability of answering correctly, θ is the ability required, aj is the item discrimination index, exp is the exponential function, and bj is the item difficulty index.

With each question in the Bookmark procedure, the basic question participants must answer is:  “Is it likely that the minimally qualified or borderline examinee will answer this SR item correctly?

Which means we have to define “Likely”….

The Smarter Balanced chose .67 (short for .66666666666666) or 2 times out of three. In other methods like the Rasch model using a binary system, “likely” is defined as 1 out of 2 or .50.  Why the Smarter Balanced chose this method they neglect to say; they just mention that the originators of the Bookmark pointed to 2/3 and their own experience aligned closer to the 2/3’s assessment.

In the Bookmark procedure, panelists are typically asked to find an item that a certain percentage of examinees at a critical threshold will be able to answer correctly. The cut score is identified at the point in an ordered item booklet beyond which panelists can no longer say that the target group would have the specified likelihood of answering correctly.

So this translates directly to parents in words like this… The level of passing for your child was determined by panels who thought that at that certain level picked, a group lacking a certain brightness about them, would not be able to correctly answer the question other than by randomly guessing.

The score for basic is set to where that sub group would be able to answer the questions, but those not yet in that subgroup, would get them wrong. The same was done  between basic and proficient, and the same was done between proficient and excellent.

Parents should note this is completely different from how you were graded… When you were graded by your teacher, you studied a book or paper, or your notes, and then took a test to see how many of those things you could remember. if your memory was excellent you got an A.  If not, you got a score based on the number you got right.  Those scores were preset as 93% to 100% as A’s, 85% to 92% as B’s; 84% to 77% as C’s; 76% to 69% as D’s.  Below was an F.

Your score was solely determined by how many you got right.  Strictly mathematical. No one was trying to determine if you were “proficient” or not.. You were ranked by how many answers you remembered correctly.  If the test was easy, or if the teacher was great, everyone got an A because they all got more than 93% correct….

Where the Smarter Balanced Assessment differs from that, is that all cannot do well and get an A by doing work correctly. The cut percentages are set ahead of time…

The standards are based on predetermining the failure rate first,and working backwards from that…  We start by saying.  We want 30% to pass and be called “proficient”.  One could as arbitrarily say they want 50% to pass, or 60%, or 70%. That is the first step…. picking a guideline… Then, the participants go through the test marking their books and mapping out questions from easy to tough.

The score setters looks at the participants mapped data, and see from their scores, where that marker-cutting-line should be set…   Here is an example… Our 1500 person field test shows us that scores ranged from 2000 to 2800.  From the top working down, that student at the 30% of 1500, number 450 got 2554… That will be the cut score now set between proficient and basic….

2554 and above will be proficient. 2553 and below will be basic….

The problem with this approach is that if all the field test students tend to be good students and get between 2600 and 2800, the cut score are to be set somewhere 30% down from the top of that group….  Which bodes ill when other students take it. So composition of the field group is very important in basing any credibility of these field scores.

In the Delaware pilot year (2014), many teachers told their kids not to worry about the Smarter Balanced Field tests.  They were already burned out from the DCAS; they had already gotten their scores and everything, and this was after all… just a field test of no consequence for the kids.  Most kids did not take it seriously.  Many guessed randomly.

So when the cut scores were devised off those field tests, they took 30% of the lower scores and inaccurately predicted that would be the area where 30% of students were proficient and all others were not.

When our children took the test in earnest this past spring, the lowly “guessed-at” cut score, was so low that instead of 30% being deemed proficient, it came out as 50% who were deemed proficient.  Many said that was due to the success of the DOE but if you listen carefully to the DOE, they are backpedaling furiously to not mention that.  The reason being that this year’s scores has now more accurately set the bench mark, and that when devising where next years’ 30% cut off should be found, it will be much closer to where only 30% will actually succeed.  Your child may be deemed proficient this year… but by next year may score below proficient if this time he fell anywhere between that 50% person’s and the 30% person’s score across the state …

When you have a floating scale set by people theorizing and not teaching, a scale based allegedly on those formulas mentioned above but whose data imputing into those formulas is as subjective as hell (ability required, discrimination index, exponential function etc); it becomes very obvious that whether such methods are right or wrong, this in no way benefits your student.

When you get your results you will ask: what questions did he get wrong? How can he study to become better?  Or possibly was the question actually wrong and your very smart little student answered correctly, but was scored by machine incorrectly?

From this test there is no feedback.  No one can find out. Teachers cannot find out. No one ever is allowed to see the actual test. Your child therefore continues to make the same mistake a year later, and a year later, and a year later.

This is why parents today are asking their principals to opt out their child… This test does your child no good, and it takes away so much from his overall educational experience.  He is better off with one teacher, one set of rules, and the grade he gets, he gets because he got answers right…. When his test gets returned, he looks and instantly knows the right answer hence going forward….

For your child’s sake, Join us other intelligent parents and opt out your child from taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment….

Charter funding has come under the microscope.  In WDEL’s investigation on schooling changes, Charlie Copeland dropped this… “If we’d give $15,000 in vouchers a lot of doors would open for these kids.”

So the first question that comes up, is:  from whom does this $15,000 come?

If it comes from the property tax assessment then there is a problem.  People pay property taxes to schools for the upkeep of their neighborhood schools… A person in Appoquinimink does not think he’s paying for a Claymont School’s benefit. He pays his dues to better his local school so he can resell his property at a higher rate…

At least he thinks he’s getting something back for his taxes. and so those payments are less painful….

Recently some comments have arisen implying that the money that follows each child or in Charlie’s case, the $15,000 voucher belongs to the parent of that child… it doesn’t. However if the parents actually paid that amount in property taxes they would then have a better stance to begin their argument…

Although actual home ownership among parents of school children is hard to glean, one third of students across the entire state are on TANF or SNAP.  That requires their parents incomes to be below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level.

Very good chance they don’t own homes or property.  That percentage rises the closer one gets to the confluence of three rivers.. rising from 13.7% in Appoquinimink, 29.8% in Brandywine, 33.8% in Red Clay, 40.0% in Colonial, and 41.0% in Christina.

Those paying property taxes to keep up their houses value, would subsidize under this plan, the removal of $15,000 they and their neighbor’s pay, to transfer it to another district where it may benefit residents next to those schools, at the detriment and loss to local district into which they pay…

Further compounding this is that at least 60% of those parents near our city of Wilmington, do not pay any property taxes at all. They are subsidized entirely by all those property owners and business people who do not have children of their own.

Vouchers are like heroin.  And you know who makes the best case in promoting the benefits of heroin?  Sellers.  They can make heroin sound safe, harmless, fun, necessary, and socially acceptable, offering up no consequences upon ingestion. They leave a lot out. So it is with voucher proponents.  The idea that one can put their child in Tower or Tatnall and have someone else pays for it is addictive like heroin.  Why would one not do such a great thing.

But what the soon-to-be heroin addict finds out, is that eventually that bill comes due.  They have to back-pay the price for all product they used.  In a scheme with vouchers where the money follows the children who’s parents are not contributing to the pile, the person who pays the most (parent), is the school from which the child leaves.  Those left,… like society cleaning up after a heroin plague, are hurt by this drug laced action.

Yet with an open mind, there is a way that vouchers COULD work… We could say, “Gee, Charlie, if you think it is such a great idea, let’s have you and your high-income buddies pay for a  GIANT scholarship fund out of your pockets that gives all full tuition to students who want to go to Tatnall and Tower… You’re pockets are deep..”

This works because the person who benefits from having vouchers… (school entrepreneur) is also the one who pays for the privilege of doing so.)  Therefore this passes the “fair test”:  benefiting  those upper crust well enough, so they lose nothing”.

Well. Do you think he’d jump at the chance to pay for all these children to go to better schools?  If he says no, then obviously with all he knows about this issue personally, the answer is not to have anyone else pay for it either… Obvisously if Charlie doesn’t want to jump in with both feet, it’s because he knows doing so is a bad investment.

We have all been warned….   Heroin sounds good too if you only listen to the dealer….

After considerable hard work the champion of children now has up, a list showing the rates  of each school opting out.. Jumping out are some success that were hidden in the overall averages which originally showed that over 95% of students took the Smarter Balanced Assessment….

We now know that was because the ass-licker schools all turned in 100% participation rates which overrode some of the more trustworthy schools having higher rates of opting out..

Here are the ass-kisser schools… and if you know anything about these, boy, does that description fit to a tee…

Academy of Dover 😛

Charter School of Wilmington 😛

First State Montessori Academy 😛

Lake Forest North Elementary School (Lake Forest) 😛

Lake Forest South Elementary School (Lake Forest) 😛

Richardson Park (Elementary School) (Red Clay) 😛

Star Hill Elementary School (Caesar Rodney)  😛

South Dover Elementary School (Capital) 😛

Sussex Technical High School (Sussex Tech) 😛

Every school is listed.  Go here and look up yours… Then swear it will be much lower next year and work to opt out your child and those others whom you know as well..

This chart proves beyond all doubt that opting out is the right of parents and only those schools with the most obsequious of leaders, are the only ones articulating the strongest to intimidate parents against opting out.  Obviously they put their career advancement at a much higher peg then the grade advancement of your child…..

2016 United Opt Out Conference: Philadelphia, PA Feb 26-28, 2016


For more info... go here…..  all the big names are scheduled to speak…



A.  Type out letter to hand to my children’s Principal’s secretaries tomorrow while school is in session….

Dear Principal and other Education Officers.

Under the authority of HB50, vetoed by the governor but buttressed by statements that it only codifies rights we already have, I am withdrawing my child from being forced to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment.   As his parent, I hereby opt my children out from taking this test…. 

Thank you,

B.   Type up email telling all on my email list the reasons I have chosen to opt out and that I hope for the sake of their children that they do the same…… Then “send to all”…..

C.   Iron a red blouse and a red shirt with red tie to wear tomorrow….

D..  Print up flyers to hand out in my neighborhood tomorrow evening as I walk to all the homes with children.

Attn. Parents:

You have the right to opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  100% of child psychologists recommend your child opts out.   Most college professors have scorned Common Core and prefer their students to have been taught the old fashioned way.  They say Common Core skips the most important basics… 25-30% of your tax dollars get sucked up by this one test.  That money could be used to put more teachers in classrooms and have more educational experiences for our children…  I live in this neighborhood and can help with any questions you have regarding either Common Core or the Smarter Balanced Assessment… You can take your child’s test yourself by visiting this site….

As a parent its the most important site you’ll ever see…. 

Thank you.

E.   Go early to my child’s school and hand out bottled waters to parents with a sign behind me saying  “Smarter Balanced Hurts Children– Opt Out.”

F.   Paint “Refuse The Test On My Back Window” and tie my spouse’s beer cans to my back bumper…..

G.  Pre-write 3 pads of 3M sticky-notes…..   REFUSE THE TEST……  to be distributed where ever they might be read……..

H.   Write a thank you note to my child’s teachers.. and slip in my child folder…

Dear Teacher:

On this day, I especially want to thank you for your service to my child.  I am so proud of all you do.  Teaching is a noble profession and only the most noblest of us, rise to take it on.  Just wanted to let you know I opted my child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment today, and that we are doing this for you and your peers as well as he and his peers too…. You work too hard to have our children’s scores bring you down and kick you out… We support you. We love what you do…

Thank you…. 

I.  Write “REFUSE THE TEST”  in colored chalk on sidewalks one block away from  your child’s school….  Do a full circle around the school…

J... Send email soliciting support for your actions….

Dear All.

Today I begin my parental duty of refusing the test… I was a rebel. It was fun.  I opted my child, I spread the word, and have become inspired by all the support I’ve gotten from parents across the board.  I am not alone.  All parents feel as do I, just have not gotten the courage yet to do what I did… I would like to help… if any of you have questions you think I can answer, don’t hesitate.  It’s your child and I know you love them as much as I love mine… Refusing this test is the most important thing I’ve ever done… I would like you standing next to me… 

(PS  I can help you write your letter; just ask)

Thank you…. 

K.  Read Exceptional Delaware at night to see all that happened since I can’t make it to Dover at 12:30 pm… If you can, send me a note…. Be brave;  and thanks…