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As anyone who has engaged charter supporters in their quest to determine what is best for education in the long run, knows these myths are false…..

  • Charters teach better.
  • Charters score better on standardized tests
  • Charters have few discipline problems
  • Charters have a high demand for seats, you can’t argue against high demand.

None of these hold up under scrutiny…  One quickly finds that in Delaware, whenever anyone argues for the continuation of Charter Schools, they are arguing for the continuation of one single charter school:  The Charter School of Newark. or CSN for short.. (One almost wishes they would add Yorklyn to their title so we could experience fond memories whenever we called it:  CSN & Y…)

There is only one argument for charters that has any merit, and that merit is not logical, but a strong one politically… People want to send their children to charters so why get rid of them…

True, Newark Charter (sorry Yorklyn) does have a waiting list, and so does Red Clay’s Wilmington Charter…

But what about the great and prestigious Academy of Dover?

Kevin tells us… 

Mr. Blowman noted that the school’s enrollment has declined steadily over the years, from 308 students in school year 2013-14 to 247 students this school year.

Their approved charter enrollment is 300 students.  Charters can’t go below 80% of that, so their magic number is 240.  How bad is it?  To put things in perspective, they decreased their Kindergarten classes from 3 to 2 this year because of lower enrollment.  That is their bread and butter for future growth….

So… Here is the bottom line….

IF……

  • Charters can’t teach better.
  • Charters can’t score better on standardized tests
  • Charters can’t have few discipline problems
  • Charters can’t have a high demand for seats,

Why do we still have this failed policy in place???  For just one school protected by the legislator who wrote the original legislation allowing Delaware to expirement with the then new innovation then called the Charter School theory?  He is, after all the head of the Senate Education Committee and he will have to be voted out or overridden by all other members to effect any change…

Why are we letting one person run the rest of Delaware’s public schools into the ground?  Even with one fifth of their income stolen from them, Delaware public schools are still the main choice of Delaware parents… Charters can’t even keep the minimum required number of seats filled?

This is why all need to send a donation to Dave Sokola’s opponent, Meredith Chapman.   If you live in the eighth, which runs the western border from Newark Charter School up to Hockessin, you lucky few get to vote to replace him.

 

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As the Rogue Ones all gather their forces to defeat the dark monstrosity being built on the edge of their star system, they got a much needed assist from the Feds coming to their rescue.

It was anticipated that teacher colleges would need to provide proof of their graduates’ classroom skills in helping advance student learning, under proposed rules issued Nov. 25 by the U.S. Department of Education…

Programs that failed to do so could eventually be blocked from offering financial aid to would-be K-12 teachers in the form of federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education, or TEACH, grants, according to the long-delayed proposal.  The rules are the Obama administration’s attempt to toughen what have long been considered ineffectual requirements left over from “No Child Left Behind”, for teacher-preparation programs in Title II of the Higher Education Act…

The U.S. Department of Education yesterday released its long-awaited final rules on teacher preparation.

Under the rules, states will be required each year to rate all of its traditional, alternative and distance prep programs as either effective, at-risk, or low-performing….

The annual ratings will be based on several metrics, such as a) the number of graduates who get jobs in high-needs schools, b) how long these graduates stay in the teaching profession, and c) how effective they are as teachers, judging from classroom observations as well as their students’ academic performance...

This is in direct opposition to the thrust of Dave Sokola’s educational policies which have had the direct consequence of destroying public education, thereby elevating and illuminating Charter Schools as the more desirable.  His policies preclude running off teachers, they preclude closing schools, and they preclude holding public schools to low ratings while providing Charter Schools with high ones… 

As of today, the thrust of all those policies now take us in the wrong direction to get Title I funding.

  • Instead of running teachers out of high needs schools, we need to get them to stay in high needs schools.
  • Instead of helping the state achieve it’s educational goals, TFA (Teachers For America) now hinders the state from achieving its goals.
  • Instead of making life hell on teachers in high needs schools, the state needs to all it can to maintain, grow, and prosper all those teachers in high needs schools. Every teacher in a high needs school  who quits, now endangers the income the state receives from the Federal Government. Free money that would need to be made up, if it were ever lost.

In a major change from the proposed rules—which were subject to heavy criticism from the fieldstudent learning will not have to be based on test scores or the proxy of teacher evaluations based on student test gains; rather, states will have the flexibility to use other measures deemed “relevant to student outcomes” and determine how various components of their systems are weighted…

 

This is the exact passage which will require the tweaking of SB51 or now it would just be reworking Title 14, Chapter 12…Subchapter VIII – Educator Preparation Programs.

e) Educator preparation programs shall collaborate with the Department to collect and report data on the performance and effectiveness of program graduates. At a minimum, such data shall measure performance and effectiveness of program graduates by student achievement. The effectiveness of each graduate shall be reported for a period of 5 years following graduation for each graduate who is employed as an educator in the State. Data shall be reported on an annual basis. The Department shall make such data available to the public.

(f) The Department shall promulgate rules and regulations governing educator preparation programs pursuant to this subchapter in collaboration with Delaware educators.

And here is the proper tweaking necessary to put Delaware’s Empire of Education, back under Inter-Galactic Law….. 🙂

e) Educator preparation programs shall collaborate with the Department to collect and report data on the performance and effectiveness of program graduates. At a minimum, s Such data measures performance and the effectiveness of educator preparation program graduates by student achievement. The effectiveness of each graduate shall be reported for a period of 5 years following graduation for each graduate who is employed as an educator in the State. Data shall be reported on an annual basis. The Department shall make such data available to the public. State mandated student test scores which have been proven to be ineffective determiners of teacher effectiveness, cannot be part of the evaluation process.

(f) The Department with the approval of the General Assembly, shall promulgate rules and regulations governing educator preparation programs pursuant to this subchapter in collaboration with Delaware educators.

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I look forward to these being put on the table in the first days of the new legislature…

For the timeline is thus… Under the rules, states must establish their reporting systems in the 2016-2017 school year, and can use the following school year to test out their systems. All reporting systems must be in effect by 2018-2019 school year.

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In another change from the draft rules, states will no longer be required to ensure that programs only accept top-performing students, as long as all students are held to a high bar by the program’s end. The aim here is to ensure that prep programs can recruit diverse candidates into the teaching profession.

Requiring another change in Sokola’s SB51 which is now

Title 14  Chapter 12…

Subchapter VIII.  Education Preparation Programs

  • (b) Each educator preparation program approved by the Department shall establish rigorous entry requirements as prerequisites for admission into the program. At a minimum, each program shall require applicants to:

    (1) Have a grade point average of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or a grade point average in the top fiftieth percentile for coursework completed during the most recent 2 years of the applicant’s general education, whether secondary or post-secondary; or

    (2)(1) Demonstrate mastery of general knowledge, including the ability to read, write, and compute, by achieving a minimum score on a standardized test normed to the general college-bound population, such as Praxis, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), or American College Test (ACT), as approved by the Department.

    Each educator preparation program may waive these admissions requirements for up to 10 20%of the students admitted. Programs shall implement strategies to ensure that students admitted under such a waiver receive assistance to demonstrate competencies to successfully meet requirements for program completion.

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    Never underestimate the power …of the Force…..

 

Data shows tests like the SAT are biased against students from low-income households.

Poorer students tend to perform worse on the test. The difference might be the costly prep courses, books and tutors, some experts say. Blacks and Hispanics also consistently score lower on the SAT than whites.The new thinking is that dropping the SAT requirement might encourage more low-income students to apply. But does it really increase diversity among enrolled students?

We have have the first trials…. Here are results of minority representation in each of these 4 year colleges before and after the test score became optional for admission…………

opt-out-admissions

In 2011 Wake Forest dropped the SAT test as a requirement to entering their colleges. Before Wake Forest made its admission process test-optional for freshmen entering in 2009, about 18% of the students were non-white. The following year, the number jumped to 23% and it now stands at 30%.

The share of students from low-income households who are eligible for Federal Pell grants also shot up to 11% last year, compared to 7.5% the year before the policy was implemented, according to data provided by the school.

In other words the inherent bias of the test was preventing many students from achieving Pell Grants and being accepted into a school in which they could otherwise succeed….

At Marist College in New York, which dropped the requirement for the freshman class enrolling in 2011, the share of minority students has jumped from about 14% to nearly 18%.

At Franklin & Marshall College there has been a more modest increase in the share of minority students over the past decade. The school, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was one of the first to go test-optional. But it has seen a bigger jump in enrolled low-income students than some of the other schools: from 7% to 18%.

None of these schools had to water down their curriculum due to people entering schools based more on both their GPA’s and teachers’ recommendations, and less on a standardized test score that was inherently biased against them due to environmental factors of their upbringing…

The ability of poor and minorities to succeed in college is independent of their SAT test score…

If fact, these test scores were preventing good solid citizens from achieving their dreams ….

One would assume the Smarter Balanced Assessment actually takes that one step further…

Instead of simply limiting college choices, it now carries this same stigma right down to the tests in lower 3rd grade where these biased results now insist one must be dumber and not on par with those students with whom one in class equally competes, who all happen to be lily white and have rich parents…
Opting out of the Smarter Balanced should be mandatory for every poor and minority child in Delaware…   It is the ONLY way to achieve your dreams it appears……

Remember the bally-hoo over Obamacare?  It has performed better than have Charter Schools.

Remember the bru-ha-ha twixted up over Benghazi?  Even that has weathered better than have Charter Schools…

Remember the IRS scandals over investigating the Tea Party?  Those were nothing compared to the malfeasance being reported daily in Charter Schools across America.

Remember the Maine?  No, …no one was alive then who is alive today….

But despite the last exception, Charter Schools have performed worse than anything in American History… Even the futures on American Indians performed better across time.

A quick review of the record shows that Charter Schools underperform their public counterparts.  Charters under-educate their students.  Teachers have better knowledge and credentials at public schools.  Cost per student is cheaper at public schools.

The only valid reason for continuing Charter Schools is to allow whites to go to school where Blacks can’t get in.

Other than that, there is no viable reason for maintaining a failing program that sucks valuable resources away from the viable solution solving the problem….

It is time to end Charters… period….   “White purity” is not a good enough reason to keep them going…..

dave-sokola

In writing a comment reply I almost tacked this on because it readily became apparent to me why despite Delaware’s education apparatus being in fairly good shape, we are beset with a battering of how f’d-up our local schools are… As any parent knows, their school is not f’d-up and ESPECIALLY when you put an assortment of parents across the state in a room and ask questions, you readily discern there is a dichotomy between how they feel about their  child’s school, versus the generalities of the state’s running this or that educational program…

The gist being that generally all education is f’d-up; but somehow their schools are awesome…

It is time to shoot the messenger….

Dave Sokola initiated the charter school process back when the first Clinton ran the White House… Particularly now that charters have a black eye, he has used the Educational committee to sneak lobbyist-written legislation through passage and a fellow Newark buddy’s signature to give Charters exceptional rights and access which no one else has…

What ever his reason, that is on him.. (It is not “the children”; his policies have made their lives hell).. But as Delaware citizens we have a choice this November to put our school bickerings on a back burner and move forward with improving the quality of education directly at the student level,….. OR we can continue to have the same confrontations that always say the same things on both sides, that are a back and forth of nothing that has not already been said…

Talk is cheap… As with your children, as with the upkeep of your house, as with the constant health of your car and your own body, if you want to get something done, you have to take the initial action yourself.

There is a wonderful human being named Meredith Chapman now challenging Dave Sokola for his 8th District Senatorial seat… a territory that covers the northeast corner of our state from Newark to Hockessin .

If she is able to knock off Dave, then our constant blather of racist inspired public school battering (they simply don’t want to go to school with blacks…Period),  evaporates… In its place we have a clear day with bright sun to actually turn attention to what helps children…

We know.

Exactly.

What helps children…

If we seriously want to improve education, we need to have an 11:1 student teacher ratio in grades k – 5 and in grade 9 in all schools where over 50% of the student body is at or below poverty level….

This applies what works best to those areas that need work… Nothing else is as effective… Nothing.  The best way to motivate people to learn, is to have someone they admire who knows them and mentors them to learn.  In wealthy districts that role can well be filled by parents.  Therefore wealthy districts don’t need as much attention.. But when you have a child entering the school system behind by a 5000 word vocabulary, you have to do something first to catch them up, and then you have to continue a process that continually advances them forward so at some future point in their lives, they enter the workplace on parity with those who were given a now very lucky head start in life…

There are four other things that must be done but in truth all those four are done solely to allocate necessary resources to the only tried and true method of teaching…. One on one involvement…. 11:1 is manageable.

This will NEVER  happen as long as Dave Sokola is in the Senate…  You’ve had 25 years of watching him go THE WRONG WAY!

And like a pinned flea, so far he has squirmed his way out from being caught, and slipped to bite public education at their hair follicles again and again… Across 25 years our fingers just couldn’t seem to grasp the blood engorged body to pull it out of the coiffured entanglements of our educational apparatus… So we accepted it instead… and after every bite, we scratch our skin raw..

We got bitten again, again, and again, and again, and again… (Did I hit the right number or legislative pieces? )..

This time we have tweezers in the form of Meredith Chapman.  Time to get that little bugger OUTTA THERE!….

 

It takes a little sleuthing to figure out what happened.

In a nutshell the game was up when Manuel Alfaro, who was the executive director of assessment design and development at the College Board went online at Linkdin and posted some cryptic messages.  Over time this was his story.

Coleman brought him in a month after his takeover of  SAT by Common Core. Coleman to meet test deadlines simply transferred Common Core’s material over to the SAT data base and had hired Alfaro to create a fake research and development operation to get around copyright laws… Basically his job was to make it look like it was not stolen.

The test was published and distributed before being proof read.  Proof readers were eventually hired but after the test had been sent out… The May 2016 test was this test, it is the one Juniors took in Delaware to determine… whatever…  Small problems in this test were wrong answers marked as right ones, or no correct answer available among the 5 options. Bigger problems involved the “fake” questions now regularly inserted in such tests which do not count towards the score and are only there to test their quality for use in future tests.  These inserted questions were so difficult and time consuming, they prevented students from finishing the test.  Hence the scores of May 2016 will be lower than years past.

However Alfaro though he lived through it, does not have the tests. Therefore he was appealing to several states including Delaware, to use the transparency clauses in their contracts to bypass the College Board’s proprietary restrictions and have them find the questions, answers, and details to back up what he lived through…

His computer has been confiscated by the FBI.  Now, because of this court case, a gag order has been levied upon him and all involved and all relevant documents have been put under court seal.

Simultaneous to this, Reuters is reporting on an East Asian cheating scandal involving the SAT and PSAT  Apparently there is only a small pool of questions which many firms-for-hire to boost scores, already have.  They teach the questions and answers and their customers score very high on these tests.  Sourced out of East Asia Reuters was given 400 of the current questions from an outside source and sent copies of them to the College Board to confirm they were legit.  The College Board pleaded with them not to publish these actual questions and answers since they were the only questions in use this school year.

Bottom line: anyone looking for reassurance that the SAT is a better test under Coleman will be very disappointed.

As Reuters says… the test has never been worse….

“200 hundred items were sent to the Content Advisory Committee for review. Their feedback was scathing. One committee member wrote an 11-page document letting the College Board know that these were the worst items he had ever seen. In the past, he had not seen the worst items because they were rejected due to poor item statistics. In fact, the usual 15-20 percent of the items that are pretested and are rejected due to poor performance, were on the May 2016 test used to hold students and teachers accountable.”

Does your education department try to manipulate the public with false information and one-sided viewpoints?

They then are not on the up and up.

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Does your education department try to sneak things past you without you knowing?

They then are not on the up and up.

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Does your education department try to bypass your legislative process?

They then are not on the up and up..

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Does your education department establish rules and regulations with no public input or discussion, or does it appoint boards of people it holds close and keep out people with differing opinions?

They then are not on the up and up…

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Does your education department try to make you think things are really bad, but there is no evidence supporting them other than what they make up?

They then are not on the up and up….

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Does your education department cater to business while demeaning teachers, parents, and students?

They then are not on the up and up…. There are no businesses operating out of those undersized school desks in any of our classrooms. They have no part in the decisions being made by our school officials.

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If your education department does any of these, rest assured,

They are not on the up and up…. Something is wrong…. All of these things are non-democratic. Your education department is running a totalitarian operation in your state which is unconstitutional…

Think about it… If you were running an operation that would benefit the entire state, wouldn’t you want people to know?  Of course.  You would sell it, and sell it, and sell it, and sell it, and the people would buy it, and buy it, and buy it, and everybody would be on the same page.

But when you have to sneak things through as the only way to get it done, telling just a few people while leaving the rest in complete darkness… well, why ARE you sneaking something through except for the fact that it is bad overall and couldn’t get the votes required to make it into policy?  If something is that bad, why then, do we need it?

 

 

 

Remember this.

As you view the results posted saying how Common Core has improved our teaching over the past year between the first taking and second taking of the tests…. these tests are graded on a curve…

Math 2016

ELA 2016

One cannot compare one year’s test to another because the curve is set each new year to show a different result..

In plain language, this means the level of proficiency is NOT set by the number of right answers…. but is set by how your right number of answers compare to everyone else…

I have seen nothing regarding the cut scores setting remaining consistent between 2015 and 2016. Being changed by the committee overseeing them,  results in better scores (although we can see they were not set much better)…

This was predicted when we first debated Common Core and the Smarter Balanced. It has now come to pass.

Secondly.

If this overall program were working, we should have seen far greater positive results than what we did. There are political reasons as well as financial reasons for this slow improvement… (If you show too much improvement too fast, no one will invest to gain greater improvement..)

Showing one or two percentages of people doing better is not glowing results. Not after two full years of teaching to the test…

The real result is how these same children will do on the next NAEP, the nation’s report card. Overall in both Delaware and the nation, ever since Common Core was affected, those scores (which since the 80’s had always climbed), have gone down…

If you brag about increased Smarter Scores, yet your real report card score goes down, you are no better than those teachers denigrated as passing people into the next grade who failed to meet the expectation…

In conclusion, all of this is completely meaningless. The scores show us nothing for they are arbitrarily made up. The tests show us nothing because they too are made up. The grading shows us nothing because it is made up… Only the NAEP shows us anything now, because it is a test not curved which has been consistent for years… If it shows improvement then this program is indeed working; if it doesn’t, then we need to pull the plug and return to what once worked so well.

What we DO have (since these tests do not show us anything) is a big waste of money… Make that a huge waste of money…. Money that could have been spent on???

Something like an 11:1 student teacher ratio in all schools over 50% poverty levels….

So do not be persuaded by appeals that improvement is at hand.. For the data included has some rather darkening and troubling implications… The Science and Social Studies DCAS scores have dropped consistently since Common Core was invented and put into practice…

Our Delaware kids ARE becoming dumber and dumber..Our solitary focus on math and ENGLISH has eclipsed time for civics and science. Everyone knows how to understand and speak English, even if they don’t know what an indecent participle is. But science and social studies are the determiner of an ignorant society or a knowledgeable one.. Delaware is becoming more and more ignorant the more we embrace Common Core… readily seen because those two scores are not arbitrarily set on a curve; they are based on the number of right and wrong answers. More Delawareans are getting the answers wrong consistently every year since Common Core was enacted.

So let’s grade Markell’s administration….

Our English(reading) scores have gone down over his administrations (due to test change).
Our Math scores have gone down over his administration (due to test change).
Our Social Studies scores have gone down over his administration.
Our Science scores have gone down over his administration….
Our NAEP scores have gone down over his administration….

How can that be called a success?

For Mike O:  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/nprmaccountabilitystateplans52016.pdf

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States can choose their own indicators of school quality or student success that move beyond traditional accountability measures based on test scores and graduation rates.

Regulations do not prescribe an “n-size,” or minimum number of a particular group of students at a school, for that group of students to be included for accountability purposes.

If a school is scoring at the lowest-possible level on any academic indicator, it has to get a different summative rating than a school that’s getting top marks on all the indicators.

The regulations state that, “To ensure that differentiation of schools is meaningful, the accountability system should allow for more than two possible outcomes for each school.”

For each accountability indicator, there must be three distinct levels of performance assigned to schools that are “clear and understandable to the public.”

Regulations do not dictate how states must deal with schools that assess less than 95 percent of all their students.States find the solution themselves.

States now have these four options to address an individual school’s low test-participation rates: (below 95%)

(1) assign a lower summative rating to the school;

(2) assign the lowest performance level on the State’s Academic Achievement indicator;

(3) identify the school for targeted support and improvement.

(4) switch to a different test and vendor.

States must identify schools with subgroups that, based on the state’s indicators, underperform over two or more years.

Of the weights that must be used for different accountability factors, the academic factors would have to have a “much greater” weight than the measures of school quality or student success in accountability systems.

Schools identified for “comprehensive support” can’t get that label removed on the basis of progress in that indicator, unless it is making sufficient progress on other indicators.

Each subgroup of students (like economically disadvantaged students and those in special education) must be considered separately for accountability.  (“super subgroups” or the big groups combining several different subgroups of students that proliferated under waivers from No Child Left Behind, can no longer be used in place of an individual subgroup of students.)

Schools in need of comprehensive support include: the bottom 5 percent of Title I schools in the state; high schools with graduation rates below 67 percent for all students based on the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate; and Title I schools with chronically low-performing subgroups that have not improved after receiving additional targeted support.

Schools in need of targeted support include schools with a low-performing subgroup performing similarly to all students in the bottom 5 percent of Title I schools

The end of the “pass/fail” era of No Child Left Behind: “Proposed regulations clarify ESSA’s statutory language by ensuring the use of multiple measures of school success based on academic outcomes, student progress, and school quality, thereby reinforcing that all students deserve a high-quality and well-rounded education that will prepare them for success.”