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You may remember… Only two states were accepted in the first Race to The Top Competition… Delaware..*yay* and  Tennessee.   Same agenda. Same connections to the Governor’s Association and Chiefs For Change… Same influences, etc…

Let me tell you where Tennessee is now…

In three weeks, they start their school year… yes, August 3rd.   This past year they instituted a non-renewal policy that said if you’re scores were not above standard, your contract would not be renewed… AND you would be marked as ineligible for rehire. 

(Someone thought the threat of firing would cause scores to rise.)

One of their larger districts is undergoing some pain right now…

The Metro- Nashville Public School system is experiencing a teacher shortage… 

  • So far, 320 new teachers have been hired- 42 are TFA ( which is the maxamim limit of them which MNPS is allowed to hire)
  • The average # of new teachers hired each year (based upon the last 5 years) is 574
  • 19% of schools will have new principals
  • Currently, MNPS needs to hire 189 new teachers before school starts in three weeks
  • MNPS still needs to hire 7 principals.
  • There are 74  (out of 153) schools with major teacher vacancies
  • The top needs are: Exceptional Ed (22), Math (19), English Learners (10) and Spanish (9)
  • Just 21 (15 working) days to the start of school.


Obviously the strict discipline enforced on teachers has made the upcoming year to be one of survival; not excellence…. Just keeping open the doors will be a challenge, heaven help the test scores of 2017…

Also keep in mind that many of those teachers whose contracts were not renewed, were once considered excellent teachers before we started using Common Core’s tests.  from the district’s website:

  • Sixty-one percent of MNPS teachers hold a master’s degree or higher and 99.75 percent are highly qualified in at least one subject area

That 0.25 % not qualified matches up with the TFA candidates…..

Which proves as all have said, the folly of putting all education’s blame on teachers… Now, you have no teachers so what are you going to do?

Well the MNPS plans to contract out to a computer teaching service for its classes having no bodies in front of it… as well as wave all certification requirements for anyone willing to stand up in front of a class.


NOW FOR THE GREAT NEWS…………………………………………………………………………..

This isn’t happening in Delaware.


Mostly because of you, who objected to insanity and would not be silenced… Though corporate money could buy out Earl Jacques, corporate money could buy out Dave Sokola, it could not buy out parents, it could not buy out teachers, and it could not tamper with the communication system set up between them…..

As a historian I am prone to look for those important moments and speculate had they gone differently, what the new outcome would be… I know that is a weakness of mine. But saying so, if one were to ask this historian where Delaware avoided the train wreak its sister is now going through, I would have to point to the pivot as being John Young of Christina’s Board of Education…

Keep in mind we are a small state.  The Metro-Nashville school district alone has 80,000 students.  That is two thirds the size of our entire state school system and they are but one district.  Therefore each citizen here has a larger percentage of a voice in their government than do almost everyone else.

We also do not have a television station all turn to for local news. There is a definite knowledge gap which most smart people have found is best adequately filled through the blogosphere.  Our blogosphere has more investigative reporters then the entire state’s news conglomeration of radio stations and newspapers combined…

As a result of all of this, here it was hard to only give “one side” of the story (though Dave Sokola certainly tried). The other story got out, sometimes too late to change legislation, but not to late to now hold those perpetrators who pushed it, accountable for the damage they have caused Delaware’s children in lost opportunities…

(Remember how our educational measurements soared, up until they hit the Common Core legislation these crooks pushed through?)

With all those kept in mind, it was John Young who pointed the direction long before anyone else publicly, that corporate schemes were behind this new “push” for improving education…  I confess, I remember glossing over Kilroy’s exclamations of Markell’s Wall Street connections with glazed eye before John passed on an illuminating tidbit on what was wrong with American education…

What struck me in that video was how on a map, it was very obvious that the diagnosis of ADHD in children starts in Oklahoma and grows exponentially as it heads to the east Coast.  Pretty much mirroring the graph for average amounts of extra disposable income after necessary expenses have been met on a state by state basis….

That and the failure Common Core was having among children who were in the test classes for it… Failures as high as 85% in those test classes, which the DOE still as yet has not divulged. These failures included some of the previous years’ top students… Something was seriously wrong.

Bottom line, Delaware did not go down the path as did Tennessee because the people exerted enough pressure here to slow the process and force the inclusion of parents, teachers, and “active” administrators in the formulation of policy….

No, we still do not have a perfect solution… we still need to fight on… But in all glaring truth, we also do not have Tennessee…..

And that, is a victory for truth, justice, and the will of the American people…. We should be proud of ourselves for what we stopped…. and we should tip our hats to John Young in congratulatory thanks for first sounding the alarm which mobilized us into action….

In a great measure due to him, we are much better than Tennessee.






With all the hoopla over HB 50, this seems to have been lost in the wash… But our sister RTTT state, Tennessee who was also the first to jump aboard RTTT with Delaware, just voted to dump Common Core….

Let that sink in…. A state which went through the exact same process as did Delaware, … voted to dump Common Core… We are asking our General Assembly to vote soon and extend it 5 more years!

Was it a close vote?  Not hardly.    On Monday, the Tennessee House of Representatives voted unanimously (97:0) to repeal Common Core. Tuesday, the Tennessee State Senate followed with a (27:1) vote in favor of repeal….

Their bill, HB1035, also increases accountability by mandating that all educational standards committee appointees be confirmed by the House of Representatives and Senate.  This requires the state board of education or the department of education to cancel any memorandum of understanding concerning the Common Core State Standards entered into with the national governor’s association and the council of chief state school officers.

And every anti-Common Core parent will cheer over the second amendment.. AMENDMENT #2 refers to “postsecondary-and-workforce ready standards” instead of “college-and-career ready standards”, a far more honest appellation.

“Both Democrats and Republicans in my district are strongly against Common Core,” said co-sponsor Rep. Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro).”  As they should be, as all should be…..

The question is whether their governor, educational reformer Bill Haslam will veto the bill and risk certain political death as a result pf going against its overwhelming support, or go with the tidal wave of anti-Common Core sentiment surging across the rest of America, and sign it.

The U.S. economy continues to strengthen. Last week, we learned that 209,000 jobs were created in July. This increase represented the sixth consecutive monthly payroll gain of more than 200,000—the longest such stretch since 1997. Over the past 53 months, our private sector has produced nearly 10 million new jobs. The unemployment rate has fallen nearly four percentage points from its peak of 10 percent in October 2009, dipping to a six-year low of 6.1 percent in June… With real GDP having grown at a strong 4 percent pace in the second quarter, the economy is now 6.6 percent larger than it was before the Great Recession.

As we know, the economy is not great yet. One of the major reasons can be see by the lack of demand for large base items that comes from the lack of spare change among many people resettled into new jobs now paying less than their old jobs.

Take recreational boats… It does not make sense to increase production of boat building when those extra boats will not be sold because there are not enough people with enough money to buy them… There are plenty of people; just not enough with the sufficient funds they once had left over to pay for that boat on the lake…

boat sales

As you can see, despite the positive job data, we have a distance to go before we reach the esoteric heights where Americans are confident enough to spend money on items requiring additional manufacturing jobs to be created…

Essentially people need to be paid more so they can buy more.

So how do we go about that? Write wages in stone? That doesn’t work, it’s been tried. If wages are not marketable, then they become an entitlement. If I can’t sell myself to a higher bidder, then my personal expansion is out of the question. Likewise, I may be very productive, and that covers my coworkers who are not productive at all. If one gets paid for only showing up, over time, that is all some will do. So writing wages in stone as a policy is out.

Economic graphs made across history show us an interesting trend. Wages were flat though the 1800’s. 100 years of flat wages. When the income tax went into effect, the first rise began. When it was cut, the wages declined. Then with the New Deal, with its increased rates, they again soared. When income taxes reached near 100%, national unemployment was in the negatives because of the very high number of people working two jobs. Only when taxes were cut in ’88, did wage rates begin to fall, to rise when taxes were raised in ’92, climbing all the way until the W. Bush Tax Cuts went in, and they’ve been declining ever sense…

Why? It is debatable because it is a task so huge, that mining data is impossible. But we tracked. It happened. As is the usual human tendency, even when it is something we don’t understand such as patting Betty Grable’s pin up’s bottom every time you fly up to engage the enemy, each time we are successful, we keep doing it…

In theory, if you have money as an employer, which is about to be taxed and handed over to Uncle Sam, putting it into your business makes more sense than handing it over carte blanche. At least in your business, you still have control over it and can steer it in directions you desire. That includes paying ones people. “Hey, Boss? I’ve got a baby on the way, and my wife can’t work. I’ve done a lot for you, can you spare more money a week?” “Might as well,” he says, “I don’t get to keep any of it; Uncle Sam takes everything extra I make”..)…

Which explains why the economy only began to really grow, after January 2013, when the Bush tax cuts on the top .5 of one percent were pushed up to 40% from Bush’s 35% rate…. That extra 5% was the catalyst for the growing economy we see now.

Compare what would have happened if Obama had lost in 2012…..

Romney’s budget plan would lead to a net loss of 554,000 jobs by 2014

A budget revenue-neutral, would lead to a net loss of 1.9 million jobs over the next two years, largely because of deep spending cuts, the report found.

The weaker job growth and outright job losses under the Romney plan are driven by his proposal to cap government spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), a move that implies very large cuts to overall spending.

And just to put a finger on how well this really is? Here is the growth outlook posted by economic think tanks leading up to the election of 2012. One must bear in mind they are probably going to be politically inflated considering when they were announced….

“The budget plans put forward by Barack Obama would lead to increased employment of about 1.1 million jobs in 2013 and 280,000 jobs in 2014, relative to current policy.”

Where as actually, we outdid that. 2.2 million new jobs in 2013…. and so far as of July 2014, this year has already grown…1.6 million brand new private sector jobs…

Those calculations, once poo-poohed by Republicans as being pie in the sky and based on myth, have simply been crushed…

Raising taxes on the top earners… works.
Tax Cuts Don’t (just ask Kansas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Tennessee.)

Senator Lavalle’s legislation forces the test agencies to reveal the questions and answers to parents, teachers, administrators after the test has been taken.  It opens a process for parents who think their child was dissed, to have a human element look over the questions and either disagree or concur….

Parents have a right to know their children are being tested in a fair and accurate way….

The first year the bill becomes law fifty percent of the Common Core questions must be made publicly available 30 days after of testing.  The second year would require full disclosure of the information on the State Department of Education’s website.  Questions asked purely for future use, and not included in the scoring, would be excluded from the measure.

 Senator Lavalle’s bill also requires the reporting by the DOE back to the Governor, these six points.

1) the effectiveness of common core state tests in enhancing student learning and performance; 
2) the fairness and appropriateness of test items for each grade level, including the percentage of test items found to be above grade level; 
3) the correlation between test scores and grade point averages of test subjects taking common core state tests; 
4) a statistical analysis of student performance based on socioeconomic, gender, race and ethnicity and regional factors; 
5) the effectiveness of the test agency as the test development vendor; 
6) factors to be considered in determining whether to continue with the current test agency or other vendor as a test agency or utilize Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests in 2015. 

The only problem for us now, is that this Senator is in New York!  Our Senator Lavelle is nowhere to be found on this issue… Why is that no one, not one single Delaware legislator has the balls to take on this administration and the debacle of Common Core?  But New York can?  Indiana can? Tennessee can? Georgia can? Florida can?  Texas can?  Why is our crowd of Delawareans a bunch of wussies?

Greg Lavelle… Since you have almost the same name… Why are you a wussie?  Give Rick Jensen a call and let him (and all of us) know why you are a wussie…



Tennessee, the “other” RTTT finalist besides Delaware, has just passed through conference Committee the bill to jump out of Common Core…
Here is the text…
The Committee further recommends that the following amendment be adopted:
by deleting the preamble to the bill and by substituting instead:
WHEREAS, the federal government has no constitutional authority to set educational
standards for Tennessee or to determine how children in Tennessee will be educated. Any
partnership with the federal government is solely at the discretion of the state; and
WHEREAS, selection of educational standards for Tennessee public schools is the
exclusive right of state and local education authorities; and
WHEREAS, intrusive data tracking is an invasion of the rights of students and their
families and any data collected should be used for the sole purpose of tracking the academic
progress and needs of students by Tennessee education officials; now, therefore,
AND FURTHER AMEND by deleting all language after the enacting clause and by substituting
instead the following:
SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 1, Part 3, is
amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated section:
(a) No educational standards shall be imposed on the state by the federal
government. Any adoption of educational standards for the public schools of the
state shall be done freely by the state board of education which, except as
provided in subsection (b), may change, adjust or recede from a standard at any
(b) A proposed change or addition to an educational standard, including,
but not limited to, the Next Generation Science Standards, the National
Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, the National Health Education
Standards, or the National Sexuality Education Standards shall be posted for
public review on the state board’s web site and submitted to the education
committees of the house of representatives and the senate at least sixty (60)
days before the state board meeting during which the final adoption of the
proposed standard is to be considered. The state board may vote on adoption of
standards or proposed changes or additions only at a public meeting at which a
quorum is in attendance.
(c) The state board shall not join a testing consortium inclusive of multiple
states that requires the adoption of common standards in social studies or
science subjects, unless the board provides at least sixty (60) days notice to the
education committees of the house of representatives and the senate and posts
such notice on its web site at least sixty (60) days before officially joining any
such consortium.
(d) Data collected from the use of or testing under educational standards
adopted by the state board shall be used for the sole purpose of tracking the
academic prowess and needs of students.
SECTION 2. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 1, is amended by
adding Sections 3 through 9 as a new, appropriately designated part.
SECTION 3. This part shall be known and may be cited as the “Data
Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act”.
SECTION 4. As used in this part:
(1) “Aggregate data” means data collected or reported at the group,
cohort or institutional level;

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(2) “Biometric record” means a record of one (1) or more measurable
biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated
recognition of an individual;
(3) “Data system” means the body of student data collected by the
department of education;
(4) “De-identified data” means a student dataset in which parent and
student identifying information, including the personal identification number, has
been removed;
(5) “Department” means the department of education;
(6) “FERPA” means the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy
Act codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1232g;
(7) “Personal identification number” means the unique student identifier
assigned to a student under § 49-6-5101;
(8) “State board” means the state board of education;
(A) “Student data” means data collected or reported at the
individual student level that is included in a student’s educational record;
(B) “Student data” includes:
(i) State and national assessment results, including
information on untested public school students;
(ii) Course taking and completion, credits earned and other
transcript information;
(iii) Course grades and grade point average;
(iv) Date of birth, grade level and expected graduation date
or graduation cohort;

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(v) Degree, diploma, credential attainment and other
school exit information such as receipt of the GED® and drop-out
(vi) Attendance and mobility;
(vii) Data required to calculate the federal four-year
adjusted cohort graduation rate, including sufficient exit and drop-
out information;
(viii) Discipline reports limited to objective information
sufficient to produce the federal Title IV annual incident report;
(ix) Remediation;
(x) Special education data; and
(xi) Demographic data and program participation
information; and
(C) Unless included in a student’s educational record, “student
data” does not include:
(i) Juvenile delinquency records;
(ii) Criminal records;
(iii) Medical and health records;
(iv) Student social security number; and
(v) Student biometric information; and
(10) “Teacher data” means personal summative and evaluation scores,
the access to which is limited to the department, LEA administrators, local
boards of education or those with direct supervisory authority who require such
access to perform their assigned duties. Nothing in this part shall restrict the
availability of information pursuant to § 49-1-606.
SECTION 5. The state board of education shall:

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(1) Create, publish and make publicly available a data inventory and
dictionary or index of data elements with definitions of individual student data
fields currently in the student data system along with the purpose or reason for
inclusion in the data system;
(2) Develop, publish and make publicly available policies and procedures
to comply with FERPA, § 10-7-504 and other relevant privacy laws and policies.
These policies and procedures shall, at a minimum, require that:
(A) Access to student and de-identified data in the student data
system is restricted to:
(i) The authorized staff of the department and the
department’s contractors who require access to perform their
assigned duties;
(ii) LEA administrators, teachers, school personnel and the
LEA’s contractors who require access to perform their assigned
(iii) Students and their parents; provided, however, that a
student or the student’s parents may only access the student’s
individual data;
(iv) The authorized staff of other state agencies as
permitted by law; provided, however, that within sixty (60) days of
providing such access, the department shall provide notice of
such release to the state board and the education committees of
the house of representatives and the senate and post such notice
on the department’s web site;
(v) Parties conducting research for or on behalf of the
department or an LEA, provided such access is granted in

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compliance with FERPA and other relevant state and federal
privacy laws and policies, and provided the department shall
provide notice of such release to the state board and the
education committees of the house of representatives and the
senate and post such notice on the department’s web site;
(vi) Appropriate entities in compliance with a lawfully
issued subpoena or court order; or
(vii) Appropriate officials in connection with an interagency
audit or evaluation of a federal or state supported education
(B) The department uses only aggregate data in public reports or
in response to public record requests in accordance with subdivision (3);
(C) The commissioner develops criteria for the approval of
research and data requests from state and local agencies, the general
assembly, researchers and the public; provided, however, that:
(i) Unless otherwise approved by the state board or
permitted in this part, student data maintained by the department
shall remain confidential; and
(ii) Unless otherwise permitted in this part or approved by
the state board to release student or de-identified data in specific
instances, the department may only use aggregate data in the
release of data in response to research and data requests; and
(D) Students and parents are notified of their rights under federal
and state law;
(3) Unless otherwise approved in this part or by the state board, the
department shall not transfer student or de-identified data deemed confidential

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under subdivision (2)(C)(i) to any federal agency or other organization or entity
outside the state, except when:
(A) A student transfers out of state or an LEA seeks help with
locating an out-of-state transfer;
(B) A student leaves the state to attend an out-of-state institution
of higher education or training program;
(C) A student registers for or takes a national or multistate
(D) A student voluntarily participates in a program for which such
data transfer is a condition or requirement of participation;
(E) The department enters into a contract that governs databases,
assessments, special education or instructional supports with an out-of-
state vendor; or
(F) A student is classified as “migrant” for federal reporting
(4) Develop a detailed data security plan that includes:
(A) Guidelines for authorizing access to the teacher data system
and to individual teacher data including guidelines for authentication of
authorized access;
(B) Guidelines for authorizing access to the student data system
and to individual student data including guidelines for authentication of
authorized access;
(C) Privacy compliance standards;
(D) Privacy and security audits;
(E) Breach planning, notification and procedures; and
(F) Data retention and disposition policies;

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(5) Ensure routine and ongoing compliance by the department with
FERPA, § 10-7-504, other relevant privacy laws and policies, and the privacy
and security policies and procedures developed under the authority of this part,
including the performance of compliance audits;
(6) Ensure that any contracts that govern databases, assessments or
instructional supports that include student or de-identified data and are
outsourced to private vendors include express provisions that safeguard privacy
and security and include penalties for noncompliance; and
(7) Notify the governor and the general assembly within sixty (60) days of
the following:
(A) Any new student data fields included in the state student data
(B) Changes to existing data collections required for any reason,
including changes to federal reporting requirements made by the United
States department of education;
(C) Any exceptions granted by the state board in the past year
regarding the release or out-of-state transfer of student or de-identified
data accompanied by an explanation of each exception; and
(D) The results of any and all privacy compliance and security
audits completed in the past year. Notifications regarding privacy
compliance and security audits shall not include any information that
would itself pose a security threat to the state or local student information
systems or to the secure transmission of data between state and local
systems by exposing vulnerabilities.

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(a) Parents and guardians have the right to inspect and review their
children’s education records maintained by the school.
(b) Parents and guardians have the right to request student data specific
to their children’s educational records.
(c) LEAs shall provide parents or guardians with a copy of their children’s
educational records upon request.
(1) The department shall develop a model student records policy
for LEAs that requires an LEA to:
(A) Annually notify parents and guardians of their right to
request student information;
(B) Ensure security when providing student data to parents
or guardians;
(C) Ensure student data is provided only to authorized
(D) Set the timeframe within which record requests must
be provided; and
(E) Consider implementation of a plan to allow parents and
guardians to view online, download, and transmit data specific to
their children’s educational records
(2) The department shall develop the model student records policy
by December 31, 2014. An LEA shall adopt the model policy or develop
its own policy prior to the beginning of school for the 2015-2016 school
year. Before implementing a policy other than the model policy, an LEA
shall submit the policy to the department for approval.
SECTION 7. LEAs and schools shall not collect individual student data on:

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(1) Political affiliation;
(2) Religion;
(3) Voting history; and
(4) Firearms ownership.
(a) Unless explicitly mandated by state or federal law, a state agency or
education institution shall obtain written consent from parents or students, in the
case of students eighteen (18) years of age or older, before collecting any
individual student biometric data, student data relative to analysis of facial
expressions, EEG brain wave patterns, skin conductance, galvanic skin
response, heart-rate variability, pulse, blood volume, posture, and eye-tracking.
(b) No state agency or education institution shall pursue or accept any
grant whether from the federal government or any private entity that requires
collecting or reporting information in violation of subsection (a).
(c) No state or national student assessment shall be adopted or
administered in this state that requires collecting or reporting information in
violation of subsection (a).
SECTION 9. Any collection of student data by the department existing on July 1,
2014, shall not be considered a new student data collection in accordance with
subdivision (7)(A) of Section 5 of this act.
SECTION 10. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 1, Part 2, is
amended by adding the following language as a new section:
(a) The Tennessee comprehensive assessment program (TCAP)
tests, inclusive of achievement, end of course and the comprehensive
writing assessments, shall be administered in the subjects of English

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language arts and math in grades three through eleven (3-11) during the
2014-2015 school year.
(b) Prior to the 2015-2016 school year, the department of
education shall issue a request for proposals and, through competitive
bidding, contract with one (1) or more entities to provide assessments in
English language arts and math, which shall be aligned to state
standards and fully implemented during the 2015-2016 school year. Prior
to the 2015-2016 school year, such tests shall be field tested and shall
replace the existing assessments in the applicable subject area. The
request for proposals issued by the department shall be prepared in
consultation with the comptroller and in compliance with state
procurement requirements, including those relative to conflicts of interest.
The fiscal review committee shall, by December 31, 2014, review all
contracts awarded pursuant to such requests for proposals and shall
annually report to the full education committees of the senate and house
of representatives as to the terms and performance thereof.
(c) The state of Tennessee shall not adopt common core state
standards in any subject matter beyond math and English language arts.
SECTION 11. The state board is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations
to effectuate the purposes of this act. All such rules and regulations shall be
promulgated in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 4, Chapter 5.
SECTION 12. Section 10 of this act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the
public welfare requiring it. All remaining sections of this act shall take effect July 1,
2014, the public welfare requiring it
It is sad to see no change in Delaware; only the consistent plodding forward towards ruin, with blinders dutifully on both eyes, and tightly held reins slapping at the back…..
if the other state that won RTTT along with Delaware is jumping ship, are we now way off course?


Tennessee just received a bill to eliminate Daylight Savings time and never change the clocks back or forth.  Then, it’s sole sponsor, amended it to make Daylight Saving permanent, never changing after this spring….. At least as written however, the bill keeps all of Tennessee on Standard Time forever.

This is exactly the perfect example of Republican self-centered thinking.

A. I thought of this; it is a good idea.

B. Because I thought of it, others who suffer are inconsequential.

C. Since only I matter, if it seems good to me, it must be good for the entire world..

D. I wonder why no one else was smart enough to ever think of it before. They aren’t geniuses like me..

E. Of course there will be glitches; someone else will just work around them… just tell someone to stop whining, and get to work and fix those glitches.

This bill has already made it through its first committee hearing with a recommendation of passage.  It would exempt Tennessee from daylights savings time.

Let’s look at the  repercussions.. Something Republicans have yet to do…  Currently we are in winter.  Tennessee has its eastern third in the Eastern Time Zone, and the remaining two-thirds is in Central Time.  One of Tennessee’s cities, Bristol, is half in Virginia, and half in Tennessee.  The state line runs right down their main street

Winter:  Let’s take 12 noon.   The time in Virginia is 12:00.  The time across the border  through the Eastern third is 12:00 noon. Cross into Central and the time falls back to 11:00.  Memphis is at 11:00.  Across the Mississippi, Arkansas is at 11:00.  Kentucky to the north is synchronous with Tennessee, and the states to the south are likewise synchronous to Tennessee.

Summer:  Tennessee stays on standard and the rest all change to Daylight Savings time….  The Eastern Seaboard and Virginia were at 12 and jump to 1:00 pm… Eastern Tennessee stays at 12:00 pm making the left side of Bristol’s main street one hour earlier than the right side of main street.  Church times, radio broadcast time, and television times would all have to be broadcast in two time zones…

One third of the way across Tennessee and the clock jumps back to 11 am, making a two hour difference between Nashville and the Eastern Seaboard, or on the same timezone as Southeastern Oregon…. The Eastern Kentucky to the north will be clocked at 1:00 pm,  Tennessee will be 12:00 pm across that border… Western Kentucky, also in the Central time zone, but on Daylight Savings, will be at 12:00… Across the border in Tennessee it will be 11:00 am…. The same scenario will take place on the Southern Border as well. Alabama and Mississippi will be one hour ahead of Tennessee.  To go north from northern Mississippi into southern Tennessee, you drop back an hour in time.  To go south, you jump forward an hour in time.

Memphis will be 11:00 as well…. But get this… when you go west across the bridge into Arkansas, you will have to jump ahead for the daylight time there will be 12:00.  For travelers that is rather mind boggling to go west and advance one’s clock an hour….

Just imagine the confusion for the Tennessee Titians…. “When are they playing again??? Darn, I missed the first hour of the game”

And since Memphis is the hub of Fed Ex. every package flies through there, imagine all the confusion of everyone tracking their package deliveries… “Oh wow, it will get here soon, what,  it went backwards in time. No wait, it just jumped ahead two hours?”

It opens up a lot of weird possibilities.  Flying from Richmond through Nashville to Little Rock, you  take off, drop back two hours, then jump ahead one hour.

There will be counties in Kentucky and Alabama bordering the time zones where if you go catty corner down one road you change 2 hours.  If you go down another, you change one hour..

And this will not be like changing from Philly to St. Louis, where the sun is actually later so 4 o’clock there seems like 4 o’clock back home… This will be like changing your watch and continuing your business.  Oh, its four am. Time to go to Tennessee.  Oh wow, the sun comes up at 3:00 am here…”

The point of this whole exercise, is not so much to make fun of Tennessee.  But to illustrate the reasoning that is indicative of all Republicans… It is how Mitt Romney thought.  John McCain thought.  Lindsey Graham thinks, ..Mitch McConnell thinks.  John Boehner thinks. Eric Cantor thinks. and of course in Tennessee,  with its Big Head Todd and the Monsters….

The idea that thinking an idea makes it brilliant. and ignoring the entire universe because of how ones idea fits into reality, never once even crossed ones little mind….. (Such as “lets shut down government and hold the debt ceiling hostage until they agree to abolish Obamacare.”)

The rest of America is tired of playing these games.  We are tired of being run by stupid little insects.  America’s middle class has lost so much money by having leaders who think really dumb things, and even think they believe in them too.  The middle class’s own lack of personal wealth, own shaky retirement, own job insecurity,  is due to idiots playing games with our lives, like this jerking off time, all the while thinking they are making great gains for civilization…

Simply because hey, it was their idea….It must be great.!!!

By now we should all be tired of playing their games.  I am. Aren’t you?.

Being a horse, I saw John Young’s headline go by in my feed, and didn’t get back to it till now.  Of course, we all knew it wasn’t working so why interrupt the real news now?  After all, I didn’t even know who Andy Spears was.

I see he was reporting on Diane Ravitch’s piece here describing the meltdown in Tennessee over using Teacher Evaluations to judge teacher’s performance.

The original work comes from the Tennessee Education Report.

The promise of Value-Added Assessment was that we could learn a lot about which schools were working and which weren’t. We could learn a lot about kids and how they were progressing. We could even learn about teachers and how they were doing with all their students and with specific groups of students. With all this information, Tennessee would intervene and take action that would move schools forward.

What happened in Tennessee and is happening in Delaware, is that the Value Added Evaluating system does indeed, as does Common Sense, determine which schools are failing and which are not. But we already knew that. What it does not, and cannot do, … is tell us whether those scores are trending upwards or downwards… If one isolates just only math and only English, one can get a track record on those single subjects.  But it was practically impossible to rate Spanish, French, Chinese, home economics, business, social studies, science teachers and schools against each other, so one really wonders how any scores have merit at all.

Hence the horror stories.  Like where the gym teacher’s rating comes from the spanish department, or the European History comes from the psychology class, or the statistics teacher gets evaluated by the scores in Algebra II. Using these tests to hire of fire teachers has a worse probability of being right than rolling a pair of dice…  and that … is Delaware.

These tests are not designed to rate teacher’s performances.  They are designed to measure and compare schools across a wide range of subjects… They do not test what students know, as covered here earlier.  They test… to see how many students really know of topics they shouldn’t be yet knowledgeable at their grade level…  Then use that to compare schools… if that makes sense…

Let me put it another way.  If you want to find out if School A is better than School B, and both have all its students pass the tests.  how can you say one is better than the other?   But if School A gets 30% correct, and School B gets 40% correct, you can indeed surmise that School B is the better one…..

That is for what these tests were designed….

A teacher can be very effective, teaching children everything we knew and more, and because of these tests… have her class fail miserably….  and then be told by society…. “You are the weakest link… Goodbye.”

So in Tennessee, two thirds… correct… two thirds  of its teachers are being evaluated upon total scores of its school…. 

it’s the equivalent of playing fantasy football where every team member gets the same rating depending on the final score of the game… It’s not fair…  The number one place-kicker never kicked a ball, and the place kicker who kicked 3 single 53 yarders, is dirt. His team lost.

So what happens then, when you have a flawed test, and you make peoples jobs dependent upon that flawed test?  They spend all their effort to cheat the flaws, and look good… Instead of teaching subject matter, they teach how not to be tricked on the assessment tests.  So gaps of knowledge are prevelant in those children.

In Tennessee, the focus on their own test scores… “See we are climbing….” is masking the real assessment… the NAEP’s.   These are the real report cards.  These are the tests that have shown American education steadily improving across the board since the seventies…  Focussing on value added growth, has taken the focus from where it should be…

In fact, Tennessee’s rankings have dropped considerably since they instituted Value Added Testing…. Similar to that” I Love Lucy” skit where she and Ethel are on the assembly line, and must speed up production to impossible levels…  What happened in plain speak, is just like a manufacturer who becomes too focused on the amounts in  production, and  who speeds up the assembly line to get more products per hour, there is going to be a loss  of quality in those products, if that makes sense.  To meet the quota, some are going to come off the assembly line missing a couple of bolts….

Specifically, we were looking at raising the scores of Afro-Americans, or Hispanics, or Special Education between 2011 and 2012, that we didn’t teach them anything else…  The scores may rise one point, but they come out of the year remembering nothing.

In Tennessee, this stagnation has been in effect since 1992. 

Bottom line… value added testing tells us nothing about teacher effectiveness… the math behind the equation  that a highly rated great teacher can raise the income level of their students more than the average rated great teacher, comes down to $300 per year…

If you have a great teacher, you may earn a salary  of 40,300 ever a student from an average teacher who will only earn $40,000 each year… That is all the difference.

So we have to throw that out.  Then there is the cost.  For having no effective gains; for dropping 20 place settings behind what they were ranked in the beginning, Tenessee has spent $326 million.

$326 million with nothing to show…..

There is a lot of smokiness that follows a Charter schools testing results.  This past year we’ve see charter test results challenged in Florida, Indiana, Washington DC, Atlanta,  and Chicago.  Pennsylvania challenge them the year prior(2012).

Most notable was Tony Bennett who stepped down from head of charters in Florida, after the public was shown he adjusted the score of his Indiana flagship charter school’s test results, because they were failing.

Now it is Kevin Huffman’s turn in Tennessee.

When prime Tennessee Republican funders had a charter school whose grade did not pass, Kevin Huffman, Tennessee’s Commissioner of Education (and former husband of Michelle Rhee)…  made an “adjustment”.

“Here is how it breaks down:  Charles Gerber is Promise Academy’s board president, and Andrew Taylor serves as the school’s board treasurer. They also own Gerber/Taylor Capital and are heavily invested in the struggling school. Gerber, Taylor, and three of their associates at the company each made separate, generous contributions to Bill Haslam’s campaign in 2010.

In summary:
* Promise Academy is run by Gerber/Taylor.
* Gerber/Taylor gave a nice pile of cash to Haslam.
* Haslam’s education commissioner bailed out Promise Academy by fixing the school’s grades.

    This would be a good time to review why charter school always underpreform public schools…

  • They don’t have sufficient supportive infrastructure to do their job.
  • They don’t have trained professionals. experienced at doing what is required.
  • They don’t have experience, but fly by the seat of their pants.
  • They don’t have knowledge of all the administrative demands a school is required to respond.
  • They rid themselves of low performers so they look better than public schools who can’t remove them.

Bottom line this controversy is brewing in Tennessee.  Top of the line, is that no one in America who supports Charter Schools and vouchers, has so far been able to make it work.  it’s a sham.


We’ve all seen them? Those people at work who always take the bosses side…  Don’t they get on your nerves, especially when they try to defend something that is so obviously designed to screw you over?

So that is Sweeney today,    John Young takes him to task rather well, and there is little I can do to add on…  So I’ll shorten it for you so you can quickly get the gist…..

The short version:

“Every system has kinks. Not surprising this one does. Everyone has a point. That is to be expected. It is a fair point. But… it has to remain.  Everyone should recognize the fact.”

More info on the Kinks here.

Ok.  so here are some things that Sweeney ignored…

We had no programs that tested beginning, middle, and end (ad nauseum) when Sweeney went to school,  Or when Bill Gates went to high school.  When Jack Markell went to school.  When Mark Murphy went to school.

Does that mean they are stupid?

Seriously, how does one defend the necessity of imposing a system that is horrendous upon an entire generation of children, without addressing how those doing the imposing,…  survived or even thrived without it?


Furthermore, those nations supposedly which we are behind in education, are reportedly more advanced because they DON’T do testing.   All that time we waste over here, over there is spent on learning new things.


Why is it that all those who are pushing testing on today’s children, have their own children in private schools, which don’t do testing?   How are those schools held accountable?  With no tests?  Seriously how do you know those are good schools so that you choose to pay to put your own kids in them?

Is it because you have to pay for it?  Is it because other people recommend it?   Or,…. is it because excellent learning that comes from  good teaching,  is more than numbers on a spread sheet?  Seriously!  They don’t have tests.  How do you know?

“Could it be that the music teacher gets a kid so excited about school that they soar in all their other subjects? Could the history teacher who is not the strongest in content be the one who serves as a mentor to children with no other adult role models? Could it be that those pushing testing on others, can observe (just as other parents do) that his child is excited about school, is improving from the first day to the last? What about the kid who works hard and gets a C in Algebra just so he can keep playing football? How do you measure that? Was it the Algebra teacher’s inspiring lessons or the coach’s mandate to get good grades that “added value” to that kid’s education?

If Mr. Sweeney thought for one second, “gee, what would the opposite arguments be….”  he would escape from out of the minefield intact.  But no.  (He didn’t read my last post earlier, did he?)

Like that guy at work, (the one you want to see fall flat on his face because someone tied his shoe laces together),  Mr. Sweeney dutifully parrots his bosses’ words,  probably with cartoon hearts rising up over his head, as he looks forward to his next date with “Da Guvnor”…

In Tennessee, the other Race to the Top  Contestant besides Delaware, there is a county, with a “Managerial” educational director, that is now  25% understaffed staffed.  The reason?  He used his accountability powers to punish everyone who wouldn’t kiss his ass.

“Won’t sleep with me?  Humph.  I’ll show you”  Won’t pay me a $1000 extortion fee to keep your job?  Humph, I’ll show you.”  “Try to tell the truth on me?  Humph. I’ll show you”

Delaware will be there next year.

The problem is the accountability clause in each contract.   One must perform well to keep one’s job.  That is acceptable if it is within one’s powers to succeed or fail.  But there are limits.  Any of us could stop traffic on our neighborhood street to allow kids to cross safely.  But to expect the same across Interstate 95 in rush hour is asking too much.  And that is exactly what Cheatham County Tennessee was doing, if you got on their “bad side”

That’s why  93 teachers out of 379 are calling it quits.

In Cheatham County High School, 18 of 36 teaching positions are vacant!

Including the football coach and basketball coaches, after their best record seasons ever…

“There’s rule by fear here,” the basketball coach Dawson said. “They seem to want everyone to walk around on egg shells in constant fear of losing their job.”

As an example, Dawson added that he was “quite vocal” about his English class not getting books until this past November, and soon after “he was a target.”   He cited things like a class observation scheduled late in the same day when his basketball team was playing a game to get into the state tournament.  “When you start feeling that pressure and stress, it trickles down to the kids,” added the former teacher. “Its not a healthy work environment for teachers, and not a healthy work environment for kids either.”

In the end it is the kids get hurt.

So how good is their educational program going to be next year?  When the summer is spent just hiring the vacancies that just opened up?

All the crap about tearing down the existing structure to get rid of all the dead weight is happening.  Now there is nothing and no time to rebuild…..

Tennessee went faster down the accountability trail than Delaware.  We waited one year.  Our year is next…

We must ask ourselves as we read the spittle in the News Journal that hasn’t even been fact checked, just how well our small state’s educational system would be if we didn’t have teachers?

Our affluent citizens would then be boarding up their children in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or  Maryland….  Those middle class and under, will be sitting in class with the unemployed hired off the streets to take attendance and yell whenever students talk……

This is the Eli Broad Superintendent School in full effect.  This is the philosophy of  the Bill/Melinda Gates Foundation, unvarnished….

25% of  teachers quit… Now what?