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If you are not a parent with children in school, you don’t know much about Opt-Out.  If you are a parent with children in school, you are very much aware about Opt-Out….

Essentially what is now called crony capitalism simply took over American education during the recession when money was very tight.  They immediately tried to classify all children into little corporate boxes which they designed to provide a continuous incoming revenue stream (for themselves)…

Parents knew that children should be learning more about what’s important in life and less about how to act like corporate schill,  and so parents looked for a way to stop it. Since all the corporate actions depended on having this one single test show beyond doubt that American children were more stupid they they really were, parents realized that if they could disable the credibility of these test results through not testing their children, then and only then would their requests have merit on boards overseeing education now staffed with crony capitalists.  Crony capitalists are those who preach the benefits of capitalism, but get their money from governmental handouts because of who they know in government.

The only way parents would get their wishes heard (they rightly concluded), was to refuse the test which if done on a massive scale would render the  published results untrustworthy, costing Capitalists lots of money, and therefore to the crony capitalists, the act of  fulfilling the parents’ demands would appear the cheaper option.

And at this point this article is going to leave the topic of education. Because I want to talk about the bigger issue at play here and it basically involves the future of every Americans’ economic freedom.

Throughout out years of history there is something uniquely America about the way we opt out.   Back when Britain’s Parliament decided that the Thirteen Colonies must pay some of their costly governance (Stamp Act), most Americans chose to opt out.  When the Brits relented and said, “ok, since you don’t drink very much tea, we’ll drop our tax on everything else”, the Americans opted out of drinking tea.

America was founded on opting out…

When the Pullman company said “no” to workers asking for a livable wage, workers opted out of working until those demands were met. Not willing to succumb to that loss of profits, the Pullman company reverted to violence to force people to work, and when that didn’t work, they convinced President Cleveland to force them back with a decree and he did.  They returned to work disappointed but the strike movement was born and would soon sweep across almost every industry.

It had to, because Opting Out is the only power (other than anarchy)people really have when things are stacked against them. Although  our nation is often deemed a representative democracy, under the surface enough representatives kow-tow to powerful interests, so the will of the powerful becomes the law of the land.

And that shuts the major door which working people have to implement their requests. As long as democracy continues as “majority rules”, you really don’t need “opt out” …  Instead, you opt not to return an official you despise and replace him with one more inclined to follow your wishes.

Now with Citizens United in play we are not even in the same world politically, as we were only one year into the Iraqi War (2004) .. As plainly seen by today’s Republican Party, very strange people as candidates are propped up by hidden money and it appears that with so much money, even without popular support weird candidates could still win.

So in those times when government and your bosses business are allied against YOU, you have to take non-governmental action to express your sentiments in a costly enough ways, so you too become part of the discussion….

Talk is cheap; money isn’t.

So if they don’t talk to you sincerely about your money, you hit them in their money…. You opt out of working for them. “Nope, not taking this today”

As Americans we tend by our altruistic nature to put other people’s interests above ours.  Not all of us, but most of us really do feel that way. It is why the rest of the world likes us. But the time to worry over your bosses profits before raising the prices for your services, has probably past…. Statistics show so much money in the top 1% came from YOU, because our Republican Congress this past decade let them run their hands through money which should have been yours.  You are working far shy of your income potential just because they are paying you much less for your services than they could easily afford. External factors have all been ruled out.  The  reason you are not seeing your income grow, is because THEY don’t want you to see your income grow.

The simplest way to get more money in today’s world, is to opt out of working for that boss, either permanently or on a strike. Every billionaire sports franchise has suffered a player strike in this century.  The owners first balk at not meeting players demands, and the players opt out of playing in their events.

No one can argue that NHL, NFL, MLB, or the NBA employees are impoverished. Players strike because the owners’ profits comes solely from their labor and as profits rise, they  certainly are entitled and deserve a cut in on the action. So do those who make cars.  So do those who work for airlines. So do those who cook your fast food. So do those who teach.

Strikes are simply about “cuts and percentages of profit”… as in do we cut you in on our huge profit, or on the other side, do we cut you out of your huge profits until you let us in on the action?

Today corporate overreach is so big, it is eating our public schools. Most likely that means it already owns your life…pinched between your bills and  your bosses demands.  But don’t you really deserve better?  Don’t you wish you were paid more for the amount of work you do? Why should you roll-over and resign yourself simply to settling for basic survival, instead of really enjoying your short time on this planet?  Don’t the rules businesses use against each other, apply to you too?  And the sad answer is that up to now, you DO settle for subsistence because you have been trained “not to rock the boat” or you’ll lose your job.  Your obligatory duty has been to keep the charade of normality continuing at your bosses pleasure, an action which plays directly into the hands of the 1%.

“Look at these fools, performing at the highest productivity America has ever seen and doing it for peanuts, while I’m beach-partying.”

For just a little bit more each week, you too could be partying… Which is why I think that the opt out movement is going national here in the US… jumping the confines of education to spread through out the workplace.

It is already prevalent among the millionaires.  They’ve been opting out of taxes for years now.  They opt out of regulations they don’t like implemented to protect the health of citizens.  They opt out of zonings they don’t like.  They opt out of environmental regulations. They opt out of following OSHA requirements.  They have been opting out a long time, which is why they are so afraid you will too.  They know its effectability.

Today, at no harm to your kid, you can opt him out of testing knowing full well that only then will changes get made. Once you succeed, apply that philosophy to the rest of your life…  HB 50 is nothing less than preserving YOUR right as an American Citizen, to opt out.  Imagine if asking for higher wages put you in jail.  It may one day. It has in corporate-run societies of the past.  But it will not happen here if your government preserves your basic American Right…. to opt out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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They were 39 days late… but we got them… The preliminary Smarter Balanced Assessments….

The big takeaway was:  is that all there is to it?

We’ve been arguing over this for 4 years.  (I’ve been doing it for 3). We’ve spent $119 million dollars of Race To The Top Money to bring this to fruition. And we’ve been promised so much good would come from this test that we had no choice BUT to go forward with it…

But looking at the scores, it is the same as it ever was….  Nothing changed.  Kids didn’t learn more. Kids may have learned less. If one takes the word of students and teachers, each student spent 8 hours taking this test spread over an average of 3.25 days…

At 70,000 Delawarean students taking the test, a total of 560,000 learning hours were spent on this actual test… One has to ask if that is worth the cost…

Over half a million hours were spent on this test…  just so we can fire teachers.  Is that the best use of our students time?  Or should every parent be concerned with this, and insist that we return to the DCAS, one which took far less time and unlike this test, gave teachers feedback they could give students immediately afterwards.

Because we all know.

If experts say 8 years olds should be able to jump over a 3 foot high bar and you raise it to 5 feet, you are going to have fewer successful jumps… So anyone who says “see, how terrible education is today?: by looking at these scores, needs to be laughed out, ridiculed, and then ignored….  Because they don’t mean anything… Nothing at all.

The real question that needs to be asked is this…  By raising the bar to 5 feet, did more people jump over the 3 foot bar then before…  That data would tell us if this program was a success or failure…

But we don’t have that data… All we know is that fewer people “passed” because we made “passing” beyond the capabilities of all but our most developed and well trained….

So.. parents… is this truly worth $119 million dollars?  So teachers…. is this truly worth $119 million dollars… So administrators… is this truly worth $119 million dollars?

Money that was taken from reading coaches that the Minner administration placed in every school.  Money that was taken from math coaches that the Minner administration placed in every school.  Money that was taken from having a policeman in every school…  Money that was taken from supplying classrooms.  Money that was taken from extra curricular activities.  Money that was taken from the libraries.  Money that was taken away from field trips. Money that was taken away…  .. from you… After all, it is your money now being spent on this…

Did you get all the worth over what you paid?   Are your kids Smarter?  Do they seem more balanced?

If yes, we can’t knock the program … It appears to have worked… But if no, then as many of us have pointed out, this is a boondoggle of epic proportions….

So, when you looked over the preliminaries… did you too say…. “Is that all there is?

Someone is getting rich… somewhere…

Yesterday, Lamont Brown, designated puppet heading up East Side Charter School was put on display for all of Delaware..  The officials pulled no stops in bragging upon his accomplishments…..

Lamont Brown can divide by zero; Lamont Brown doesn’t climb trees. He just pulls them down and walks on top of them;  Lamont Brown can kill two stones with one bird; Lamont Brown ordered a Big Mac at Burger King and got one; Newton’s Third Law is wrong: Although it states that for each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, there is no reaction after a Lamont Brown’s roundhouse kick; Lamont Brown counted to infinity – three times; Lamont Brown can slam a revolving door; Lamont Brown is suing My-Space for taking the name of what he calls everything around you; there is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Lamont Brown has allowed to live; Lamont Brown didn’t actually write books. The words assemble themselves out of fear; Lamont Brown is so fast, he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head; Lamont Brown sleeps with a night light. Not because Lamont Brown is afraid of the dark, but the dark is afraid of Lamont Brown; Lamont Brown once visited the Virgin Islands. They are now “The Islands”; Lamont Brown  doesn’t read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants; If you have five dollars and Lamont Brown has five dollars, Lamont Brown has more money than you; If you Google search “Lamont Brown getting his ass kicked” you will generate zero results. Go ahead, try it; Lamont Brown doesn’t wear a watch. He decides what time it is;  For some, the left testicle is larger than the right one. For Lamont Brown, each testicle is larger than the other one; When Lamont Brown does a push up, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the Earth down; ok…. one more….. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Lamont Brown.

Such were the praises thrown around the guilded hall yesterday…..

But, in that class of his so remarkably hailed…. 33 of the original 62…. were kicked out…  Meaning, that those who would pull down the scores were eradicated and only those who would excel were allowed to continue… You know, its what Dave Sokola calls: the Shanghai experiment…. where you only test your brightest then parade those results.

Well for S & G’s, I wondered how it would work to do the same policy to all  6 priority schools. What would it do to their scores?  It’s not hard; anyone other than a News Journal editor could figure it out in seconds.  What I did was basically factor out the bottom 53% of their student body, made them just disappear, and then apply the number who scored proficient, just to see what the proficiency percentages of these “improved” schools would be….   Only then, would we have an accurate comparison Between East Side Charter and the 6 Priority Schools?

The good folks at Delaware DOE provided the data. 

Bancroft Elementary  Originally at 401 students; with Draconian cuts now reduced to 188. (rounded all fractions downward; you can’t really have 0.7 of a person)  But we are concerned with only grades 3-5 who take the test… That would  be 177 students, and after cuts, (representing the 47% of those left at East Side)….. the number still left in those three grades would total 81.  So when you apply the actual number who scored proficient, (46) to those actually left (81), Bancroft would have scored a proficiency rate of 55.4.

The other five will be calculated according to the same formula.

Bayard Middle School  Originally at 463; now cut down by East Side Charter standards to 217.  117 originally scored proficient and would represent 54% of the remaining 217…. So Bayard would rest at the 54% proficiency level, if it were somehow allowed to follow the East Side Charter annihilation policy.

Stubbs Elementary  Originally grades 3-5 at stood at 156, now down to 73 students.  Those proficient (52) would turn in a 71.2% rate of proficiency, enough to pass the 70% bar set by No Child Left Behind.

Highlands Elementary  Originally grades 3-5 had 192 children but would be now cut down to 90.  Those original 65 proficient would now create a proficiency score of 72%… Again passing the super high bar set by No Child Left Behind.  A bar so high, every state is crying for a waiver because it is allegedly unobtainable!

Shortlidge Elementary  In 2014 grades 3-5 mustered at 163 students would be decimated down to 76 and those original 63 who were proficient, would then give Shortlidge a proficiency rating of 82.9%,,,,  Pretty darn good.

Warner Elementary   Again, 249 students in 2014;  cut down to 117, Those who were proficient (74) would give Warner it’s new and improve proficiency rate of 63.2%…. (A lot of that lowness has to do with the yet unexplained anomaly found in Grade 4’s math test; (20 mysterious unexplained missing percentage points) !!!!  )

So against these new and improved results, how does the fearsome Lamont Brown compare?

His proficiency in the elementary grades stacks up to…. (drumroll please)….. (bring on the accolades)….. (did anyone remember the bouquet of roses)…… (how about a fanfare from the house band?)  ……………

The great and wonderful Lamont Brown’s proficiency rating for the year 2014,  first in elementary grades…. and second in middle school grades……

IS…..

A…..

Whooping……..

72.5 %   and … a 46.5%

Equal to Stubbs, Equal to Highlands. Below that of Shortlidge.  Below that of Bayard.  Just a few point ahead of Warner….  Yet those priority schools did nothing different from the low scores they allegedly earned… In fact those are exactly the very same low scores they earned, just minus the dead weight kicked off in the exact same way as Lamont Brown is known for.

Meaning that the real star… the real person “the Boogeyman should be checking his closet for”….. is  none other than the fearsome, the stupendous, the omnipotent, the amazing, the superlative, the one who all others must tremble in her shadow…. yes….. “her”……  :  Maribeth Courtney. principal of Shortlidge.  But wait!  Isn’t that a priority school???

Now doesn’t that just throw a big juicy turd into the big pot of stew cooked up at the Riverfront yesterday?  Doesn’t it seem odd that so much hoopla was put upon one man, whose net result to society was that last year, 2014, , he graduated 10 proficient scholars out of his clutches to go on into the real world of 9th grade…. a number far inferior to those graduating with proficiency out of any of those schools the DOE was trying to close and turn into charters?….. His grand total requiring such accolades was Just 10 proficient students out of Delaware’s total of 133,369….

Here is why teachers are not speaking out…..

Today I was reading through the evaluation and of the 12 standards, 3 require you to show that you are supportive of and actively teaching the “Common Core.”  This is why teachers are afraid to speak out. I really am fearful for my job. There have been times when I have wanted to speak up, like recently when attending a district meeting and Common Core came up. The comment was made by a district official that those who were against Common Core were “kooks.”  This is the environment teachers have to work in.  If you disagree, you have no place to turn; you are hounded out.  I am ready to find another career and get out.”