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Common Core took quite a few arrows into the heart with the release of New York’s Test Scores.   One of the huge questions being asked, is how did the Commissioner John King, know what the drop would be before the tests were given?

We are learning; new reports popping up every hour on how those scores were derived.  To understand the process, you must first be familiar with how regular grading scores are determined.  Most teachers when they score their tests assume that if a student can show that they understand 65% of the material, they can pass the class.  It is reality based.  Here is the material, you know this much, you shall pass because it is above the 65% threshold.  If you have a good class, you can pass all of them.

I hope you are sitting down.  The Pearson tests were taken, then graded.  After that was done,  they were then scored.  They were not scored on whether a person got the answer right or wrong.  They were scored on where the benchmarks should be.  A benchmark is that spot where a score of 1 then becomes a 2, or a score of 2 becomes a 3 and so on.

This is the story of how those bench marks were determined.  Close coordination was done with the College Board SAT’s.   The tests were going to determine which students were… or were not, college and career ready.

So how was the level where one is college-ready determined?.  It was decided to be at that level where there was a 75% chance that a student would receive a B- or above in ELA,  and writing, and a 65% chance that he would receive a C+ in math, in his first college course in those two subjects… Got that?  “That” is college ready.

Once that arbitrary level is set, and it is arbitrary.  Is a B- the same at Harvard as it would be in Michigan State?  is a B- the same if given by Professor X or Professor Y?   Anyone who has ever picked their college classes over the alleged difficulties of certain college professors, certainly knows that this method is very suspect.  But regardless of whether it makes sense, once the threshold is set, one can compare the SAT scores of those students and come up with a correlation.  The correlation  between these grades  and those SAT scores that would determine if one was college ready, happened at the score of 1550.

Now that you know how this score was determined, you can forever dismiss its validity.  That is not being snippy. That is a real assessment of the credibility these scores now have.

From the score of 1550, the next step was to determine how that works downward to the test scores of 8th graders who still have 3 years before they take the SAT. The Breakdown of that score was 560 Reading, 530 Writing, and 540 Math.

To those teachers gathered for the opportunity to cut the scores, the Pearson executives showed them all the data, then told them where the bookmark should be for a 3.  From there the groups determined where to draw the lines for a 1,2,3 and a 4. Then they went and did the 7th grade, then the 6th.  Each grade was determined by the previous one, all of which went back to comparing the 8th Grade to the SAT to be taken 3 years into the future.

They returned to the 8th grade, and re-walked through that process then, that was the cut turned into the commissioner.  Because he had given them the rubric  or guidelines upon which to make their judgment, he already knew ahead of time how the results would turn out.   Does that make sense?

Here is an first person account of what went on inside those cutting rooms…  and here is a humorous account with diagrams, which help a lot in understanding the twists and turns taken to determine this result.

Your test question now. Did you add the three individual scores I posted up above? Had you done so, you would have noticed that they came up to 1630 instead of 1550. It is 1630, significantly higher than the 2011 College Board’s index associated with a B- in college.

The above illustrates how one can manipulate the percentage of college readiness by hopping between the columns and changing the definition of “college ready” to suit oneself. If the State Education Department had increased or decreased the grade and/or the probability, the college readiness indicator would move up or down. In the end, they chose values that are extraordinarily high, producing an index that exceeds the College Board’s index for achieving a B- average.New Yorks score was already higher than the national average.

From this assessment, comes the criteria that permanently classify a student, that fire a teacher, that close down a school, that wreak havoc in a district.  An assessment that has no basis in reality…

What does have a basis in reality?

Decades of research have shown that the SAT test can be an accurate indicator of IQ. Which is why, test prep classes rarely move the needle on the actual scores themselves.

According to the College Board’s own research, the SAT is not such a great predictor of college grades. The correlation between the SAT and college grades is about .48, which means that its predictive power (r squared) is only 23 percent. High school grades are a better predictor of how students will do in college courses (nearly 30 percent). In addition, other research has found that high school GPA is three to five times more important in predicting college graduation than an SAT or ACT score. Even with all of that known, the State Education Department aligned students 3-8 scores with later performance on the SAT to create cut scores that give the illusion of being on the road to college readiness.

They created this report to justify their methodology.

If you connect the dots and read all of these links you will see that these scores were supposed to be low for a reason, a reason of politics,  They had the data and knew that the results would be scored low, that was their plan.

As they even state here, education did not fall apart; the students are not dumber; the teachers are not derelict; the schools are not failing.  They were just graded on a different curve, that’s all.

It was all done politically to show that large numbers of students did not meet the arbitrarily decided new standard of being college and career ready…

Yes, in even those in Third Grade.,

Call it temporary insanity but let’s pretend, let’s just say, …that at one moment in time, if I chose to donate my youth out for my country, to be compensated back in the form of low pay; to completely and unjudgingly offer my fate up to the will of bureaucrats, all for the loss of my own self esteem, all for unending stretches of boredom, sparsed with interludes of a few intense seconds, that fortunately thorough my reactions and training, enabled me to continue living as I do today………….

I could reasonably be expected to be honored for that service to my nation, right?

In a perfect world, that is….

One would think, that in a perfect world, as needs were being debated across the universe of public funding, that a hierarchy resembling this, would sort of be the guideline, if not the rule?

National Heroes…..

over

We, The People…..

over

LLC corporations….

After all, if it weren’t for us, there’s a good chance those LLC. corporations wouldn’t be able to do business in a free and prosperous society, you would think?….

One would think, that if one of these heroes needed medical care, with the tremendous amounts of money being thrown away by our government daily, in the forms of corporate tax breaks enabling corporations to make “record breaking profits”…. that they would be put at the top of the list.. don’t you think?

Sorry, CEO… your operation will have to wait… We have a veteran who is in dire need ahead of you….

In a perfect world….

One would think, that a voucher system would be in place, or a blank check, where any veteran could walk into any hospital, and get immediate, necessary medical attention, have his prescriptions filled as a privilege for his service, and that the bill would be willing be paid by those with monetary resources more than adequate for their own needs?

One would think, (right?)… that it would be CEO’s, those who give pink slips so they can break profit records, those who cut benefits so they can break profit records, those who don’t invest in America so they can break record profits, ….who should be the ones finding themselves regulated to CEO hospitals, where they would then have to settle in on a waiting list for the next opening to occur, where they had to endure budget cutbacks and go without life-saving medicine because there was no money left in the CEO fund, perhaps because it had all gone to Veterans to pay THEIR expenses?

In a perfect world…..

In a perfect world, veterans would need no freebies…. They would not need welfare, or a pension, or a humble stipend to eke an existence… They would be working, contributing to society, in any way they could… If they had no legs, they would be outfitted at corporate’s expense, so that would not be an issue… If they had no arms, they could be outfitted at corporate’s expense so that was not an issue. If they had psychological damage, (and who wouldn’t?) they could be treated at corporate’s expense… so that was not an issue.

If they were so badly damaged that they create an efficiency drain on society, they could be honored for their sacrifice, and a useful voluntary capacity could be created to honor that commitment once made so long ago… Perhaps speaking about serving one’s country in every class, in every school, in every county? Can you think of any better civic’s lesson?

There’s a lot that can be done…

The problem is that veterans are deemed as just another expense…. Because to corporate America, that is just what they are… An expense, an obligation to be met that gets in the way of their making more money…

Unfortunately, our Congress is owned by Corporate America….

What should and does need to happen, is this relationship needs to be exposed. We need to call them out on it…

Republicans and Democrats are both complicit in allowing corporate raiders this unprecedented power. But Republicans are the symbol of Corporate America. Republicans are the ones who championed the Corporate Takeover. Republicans are the ones who dismanteled the safeguards that had been put in place to prevent that takeover from happening. That is why they need to go. Disappear… Whoever is left, the remainder, most likely after seeing the elimination of a large majority of their peers, will think twice before following their Dark Lord, now a soul less wanderer eking existence.. ……

In a perfect world…

Unfortunately, today we need to contend with obscene amounts of money saying Corporate is Good; Government Fairness is Bad….

But we have our lives telling us the opposite… It will take courage and strong will, to override all the overload of sensory data being pipelined into our soul, but we still have hearts, and those hearts are attuned to what makes America special. great, and the best place to live on this earth….

WE can still dream….

And those dreams should include a perfect world… one we CAN make happen, at least for those without whom we would not have the freedom, the resources, the nation, we have today….

Here’s to a perfect world?

This is a guessing game. It’s supposed to be fun. You do the guessing. I’ll reveal the answer at some point in the future. Bottom line, I am interested in how this plays out. (To keep answers out of moderation, no links please.) You may use the categories above for some helpful hints, but knowing me, don’t expect to find the answer that easily.) 🙂

1) Foreign policy/defense: I want American imperialism rolled back and American interventionism halted, as the same time we begin to pull free from the military/industrial complex by slashing the budgets for defense and homeland security to reasonable levels.

2) Civil libertarian issues: I want to see gay marriage legalized; drugs decriminalized; Real ID abolished; the Patriot Act gutted; and immigrants viewed as human beings. I want intrusive government the hell out of my life.

3) Fiscal sanity: I want a government that stops growing and taking an ever-expanding bite out of my paycheck; I want to see wasteful programs cut, and to have Congress faced with the same sort of imperative the Delaware General Assembly had to face this year: balancing the budget.

Perhaps the greatest tragedy coming out of Iraq, was the replacement of the pragmatic Ret. General Jay Garner, with the politically appointed Paul Brenner. Almost overnight, Iraq flip flopped from welcoming the United States, to blowing us up…….

If you can remember the boys around the cameras,……..”we love Bush….Bush is the Man”, then you understand how good things were looking in the first months after Baghdad fell and what a great job the pragmatic Jay Garner did.

The subsequent change after Garner left, shows one thing. Republican philosophy stinks, not just for Americans, but apparently everyone else too. (lol) (Sorry dudes….It just does!) The national blog Toms.Dispatch has this take on one date in 2004 when Mike Castles hero, George Bush, bestowed the Medals of Freedom on Tommy Franks, George Tenet, and Paul Bremmer. In case you missed it, I said Medals of FREEDOM.

Tommy Franks, the first recipient, has brought to the Afghans, the freedom “to grow just about the total opium crop needed to provide for the globe’s heroin addicts — 8,200 tons of opium in 2007, representing 93% of the global opiates market. This was a 34% jump from the previous year and represented opium production on what is undoubtedly a historic scale. Afghanistan’s peasants, surviving as best they can in a land of narco-warlords, narco-guerrillas, and deadly air attacks have, once again, set a record when it comes to this unique freedom.” Well deserving choice of the Medal of Freedom.

Secondly and one of my personal favorites, solely because he is a holdover from the glory days of the Clinton Administration, is George Tenet. I like this guy, and sympathize with being in his position of having to compromise defending the country, with working with the Cheney cabal…..Surely he is deserving of the Medal of Freedom. After all, ”

As CIA Director, Tenet then delivered to Agency operatives the freedom to target just about anyone on the planet who might qualify (however mistakenly) as a “terror suspect,” kidnap him, and “render” him in extraordinary fashion either to a foreign prison where torture was regularly practiced or to a CIA secret prison in Afghanistan, Eastern Europe, or who knows where else. He also freed the Agency to “disappear” human beings (a term normally used in our world only when Americans aren’t the ones doing it) and freed the Agency’s interrogators to use techniques like waterboarding, known in less civilized times as “the water torture” (and only recently banned by the Agency) as well as various other, more sophisticated forms of torture.” Another great choice by George Bush.

Now I have some qualms about the third one. Paul Bremmer has probably contributed the most to freedom than anyone in modern memory. He can be thanked for the unlimited freedom Blackwater Security now has throughout the entire region of iraq. They can thank Paul Bremmer.

“A day before he left, however, he established a unique kind of freedom in Iraq, not seen since the heyday of European and Japanese colonialism. By putting his signature on a single document, he managed to officially establish an “International Zone” that would be the fortified equivalent of the old European treaty ports on the China coast and, at the same time, essentially granted to all occupying forces and allied companies what, in those bad old colonial days, used to be called “extraterritoriality” — the freedom not to be in any way under Iraqi law or jurisdiction, ever.”

So today, again before the world at the United Nations General Assembly hall, the current United States president, George W. Bush, got up and proclaimed he was dedicated to working for freedom…..

After considering his track record and using that definition of freedom instead of the one Bush tried his best to enunciate,…. the world’s governments collectively yawned a big yawn, leaned back in their chairs, and politely said “no thanks.”

” F R E E D O M !!!” William Wallace: Braveheart

Whether coincidental or happenstance, the local blog scene has become mysteriously quiet since the signing of the wiretap law just before last weekend. Only Jason has defied the danger, and out of professional courtesy, I do not think he should face MR. CHENEY alone.

In one of my comments on another forum, I was (politely) told that I did not know what I was talking about when I was discussing wiretapping. Although I knew a lot from sources close to the business, after my weekend research on today’s methods (post internet), I came to the conclusion that they were right. I really did not know what was going on………..

No one is talking facts, making it doubly hard to investigate. Based on information culled strictly from the public domain, here is what I could find so far.

Granted the old wiretapping descriptions were out of date. As fiber optics invaded America, switches were placed at all network hubs, allowing for the passing of all information through the government’s hands during it’s journey en route from sender to recipient. These hubs were all on American soil, and therefore, under the old laws, required some type of oversight by FISA or another court, to issue a “wiretap” or other intelligence gathering device.

Had we suspected that a Saudi Arabian national, withdrawing money from an ATM in South Portland, Maine, just up the street from the Mobil station right there at the exit off 95, was about to commit a dastardly act that would change the future of this country forever, getting court approval in real time, would be difficult, if not impossible.

As Bonner “leaked” on national television, (where’s the outrage? Oh, he’s republican) a federal judge had declared such practices illegal. Why? Was he too, one of “them” liberals? No he just decided that the propensity for the system’s misuse, far outweighed it’s gain to society.

What could be more important than saving American lives?

That is a good question and needs a lengthy answer…. American lives are important…..In fact, the primary reason that most Americans are against Cheney’s Trillion \$ war going on today, is that they feel it is squandering lives……American lives. But whenever lives are being sacrificed for a real purpose, Americans feel much differently, as polls taken during the Afghanistan campaign readily show…….

So there must be something hidden that is so controversial or so big, that Americans place a higher value on it, than they do saving lives. One questions, what could that be?

William Wallace says it best in “Braveheart“: Freedom!

I can see everyones eyebrows raise. Are we jumping the gun here? What reasonable person could expect an elected official of the United States government to spy on, control, and imprison their own citizens?

Apparently that is the fear that most Americans share. It is for that reason alone why everything must be kept secret and hidden from public scrutiny. For within this administration, everyone is scared to death that the public will someday find out……..

If you are hearing this for the first time, as I did last Saturday, it shows that their clamp on this intelligence and information about this story is working. But across the web and in various newspapers, are enough leads that put this picture in perspective.

Here is what we know. The technology out there is equal to what is available on most PC’s today. It is just the size and scale that blows everyone’s mind. Apparently everything that is ever said, written, posted, e-mailed, filmed, in the entire world, is being saved. Most of this will never be touched. We know this capacity exists: for how often has a commercial enterprise solicited us due to a pattern detected based on our personal trends? And how often have we football watchers been correctly told, based on probability, just where the quarterback is going to throw the ball, and guess where he then throws it to?

This coupling of voice recognition, the entire library of data, and a massive scale of sorting computer software all together under one roof, leads to a profile on every single American citizen at the touch of a button.

If we elected saints as our political saviors, we wouldn’t care. Sure, find the bad guys; just leave the good guys alone. But unfortunately instead of saints, we chose to elect republicans who we have found can be trusted far less than God, as our coins and old bank building in Millsboro, so declare is our intention. Our founding fathers were quite lividly adamant that any government should NOT have unlimited powers of search and seizure. So with today’s technology, our family jewels are safe within our home, but our private thoughts and conversations are not……..

So what is wrong with listening in on private conversations…….I do nothing wrong……and I’ve got nothing to hide……listen all you want, damn it….. That is the defense we hear from right wing nuts whenever they defend this invasion of anyone’s privacy. To stupid people that may make sense. But it only takes a small amount of intelligence to realize how readily that ability can be abused.

Tom Carper, along with many democrats voted for the unlimited use of this technology, done legally at the discretion of the Executive branch itself with no one watching…..This is the same guy who once took great effort to dress up as Commodore McDonough and speak to little school kids about the greatness of this country……Can anyone reasonably expect that such a cognitive switch which jumps away from America’s true ideals to those of a totalitarian state, was NOT coerced by some type of blackmail?

What dirt do they know on Tom Carper? He should count his blessings…..for he is one of the lucky ones. Were he squeaky clean, he could have shared the same fate as Tim Johnson…..or Jon Corzine…..or Paul Wellstone. Speculation to be sure, but it goes to show to those who implicitly trust their leaders, just what can happen when government is given the free hand to spy on their citizens.

But let’s take a more realistic example. One that occurs worldwide today. Over at Delaware Liberal there is a lot of anger focused on the current administration. That blog has become a better source of news than delawareonline, or its printed companion, the News Journal. Of course if you want obituaries, you should still buy the paper. But major news stories are broken day’s ahead of the controlled media, and create firestorms of public opinion that are detrimental to the establishment of the Cheney ideals, which are even occasionally sponsored in part by the republican party.

So how to stop it? This might work. An anon post describing some to the conversations that took place last February could just be enough. It would take a strong Hillary at one’s side to say that did not create any problems. And where would those conversations come from? Apparently they are stored, right now, along with those of every reader, pulled at will with a couple of keystrokes next to your name………..

Yes this technology can corral terrorists…..but it can also be used to know what Biden will say in the next debate, who sold Obama his cocaine when he was young, and whether Hillary is or is not returning the favor her husband gave her during the previous scandal. It can be used to silence witnesses: find and expose whistle blowers, thereby killing them. It can be used to publicize a politician’s health problems, say erectile dysfunction, or blackmail those who don’t ask, and don’t tell.

It can be used to find which of an opponents supporters are “still on the fence” and get to them first. Why do you think Karl Rove resigned the first business day just after the law was passed? Being good for six months, this ability to eavesdrop on each and every Democratic or republican candidate will, unlike Watergate, be legal to well after all the big primaries have all been settled.

Lawsuits against reporters who won’t reveal their sources? A thing of the past, for this law now makes all those irrelevant. There are going to be a lot of dead people turning up soon.

This power can be used in political appointments to insure that only a “yes sir…as you wish sir”…mentality becomes firmly entrenched within the decision making process of our executive branch, and all previously conflicting conversations that have so far kept our country from driving over a cliff, become no more…..

It can also make average citizen afraid to write criticisms such as this…..never to be heard again. Based on what I have seen so far, Jason turned out to be the only one with a “Bravehart” enough to continue….. (my apologies if I missed someone). Yeah…..it affected me. (Call me Robert Bruce.) But like Nathan Hale, before me, I too now decide to walk up to the gallows, put the noose around my neck, and plainly speak my words of wisdom, which hopefully will far outweigh anything I could have done to help this nation, had I cowered and remained silent…………………..

Saw a good friend today over Easter Break, who offered this comment.

He does submarines.

One, it brought home how dangerous our technology has evolved in order to protect us and keep us safe by mobile storage of nuclear missiles underwater.

Two it spoke volumes of a professionalism that exists, I believe in every member of our armed forces, that seems to be sorely lacking in the top circle of advisers of our government.

I mentioned before, that our military succeeds in taking complicated bits of knowledge, breaking them down into logical pieces, and feeding them piecemeal to a collective group of every race, religion, educational, and economic background known to man. This would be a good model for our education system to copy, in order to start the rectification of America’s excellence in math and engineering.

The difference between discipline and brutality, is that one is positive and the other negative. Discipline is enforced because all parties, both the instructor and instructed, understand that it saves lives. Brutality, however, is when we allow the worst part of ourselves to intimidate those who oppose us, and hope such a blatant display of force will subdue them into submission. The latter is primarily supported by the argument of “because I said so.”

I think Von Steuben, the fowl mouthed Prussian drill instructor who relentlessly drilled the Revolutionary American troops at Valley Forge, is the one who said, “it takes great discipline to overcome the natural tendency to flee the enemy, after seeing a cannonball disembowel your best friend standing next to you.

One of the best teachers I have seen was Ms Roane, a first grade teacher for my son. She understood the energy level inside of a first grader and pro actively channeled that energy into acquiring knowledge, instead of useless time-consuming ploys to keep them quiet, but do nothing to teach.

One, she was nice to look at. Every day she dressed as if she might be called on to plea for the salvation of the Newark Chrysler plant. She was methodical with her praise and always corrected and disciplined in a positive manner. Example: she would explain to the class how a persons action was preventing the entire class from doing their task, and then would address the student publicly and discipline him for his action.

After a few short weeks, she had no discipline problems. I have seen her accolades in various local publications as parents often write in to praise her for her demeanor and effectiveness.

I remember another educator, Mr Pritchett who headed one of the inner city schools I “choiced” my child into. His job was larger and tougher, he had a entire school to run, but he ran it well. (I often tease him for giving us George Bush, because Bush had lost all his primaries up until Pritchett introduced him at Riverfront Center as the “next President of the United States.” Thereafter, the curse was dropped.)

Again, he explained why an infraction was bad for everyone and then he would address the infractee and persuasively win a promise of support.

This approach to discipline is readily seen on the sideline of our schools athletic fields, and one must wonder why it fails to permeate into the classroom. It, along with ability, is what differentiates a good from a bad coach.

But we see little of this accountability in our elected officials and their appointees who oversee the process of educating our children. We used too. Tom Carper, at least did something towards improving the standards to which we hold our students accountable. The sad case is that, after he moved on, the wheels began to spin.

As Mike Protack would be inclined to say, perhaps it is because we have the wrong officials.

As we gear up to new elections, and even right here, right now, as several districts go to the polls this spring to fill replacement seats, we Delawareans need to hold them accountable on the single greatest issue that affects the future economic viability of our state.

And that is education. Or more specifically, education in science and math. Or even more specialized, engineering. What can these candidates bring to the table to improve the engineering capability of Delaware students?

Expected answer: “Gee, I haven’t really thought of that.”

Appropriate answer: The state should fund .5 mil for stipends to assist engineering classes. Those students who possess superior math skills should be challenged by an interesting and enlightening curriculum. Visiting professors could be brought in to generate interest and excite students into the possibility of pursuing a career in engineering.”

But what is most needed, is to change the image of the future engineer from being a geek, to something to be sought after. Immigrant cultures pursue this naturally when they come to this country. The problem lies not with our abilities as a culture, but with our attitudes.

There is no shortage of raw material for potential engineers. Our cities are full of them. Right now, these resources are wasted. Particularly in Delaware, the students of the city are deemed a curse imposed by an archaic judicial order upon the suburban elite. I find this demeaning attitude to be the culprit. To bypass it, Wilmington needs their own school district, hopefully headed by Mayor Baker, after his mayoral term expires, to prove there is nothing wrong with students who happen to live in the inner city.

I am sure racial skeptics will scoff at this suggestion and say privately that inner city kids can never rise above their inadequacies. What a delusional state one must be in to even suggest it………………………………