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For a district desperate for something to build on, the successful replication of the Science Leadership Academy has been “gigantic,” Mr. Hite , Philadelphia’s superintendent said….. 

But such enthusiasm is quickly muted. Many Philadelphia educators say the district’s budget woes have sucked the life from creative, hands-on instructional practices already in place. While the superintendent talks about giving educators the freedom to innovate, many city principals and teachers feel abandoned, rather than empowered.

For Philadelphia stumbled down the primrose path of charter schools… Rose’s who’s thorns scratched, dug, and bled the district dry….

All of Philadelphia’s money now goes to charter schools, who too are struggling to keep their own heads above water, and are failing miserably at educating children… especially those impoverished Afro-American children of their inner city…..

The new ideas and innovation the public schools can offer, now can’t be funded…  They are shells of what they could have been….

The same will happen to Delaware as more charter schools are approved and no attempt is made to keep them at their barest minimum… Any friend of a legislator can  now start a charter school, pay himself rent with state money, and squander those children’s future with impunity…  Just as happened in Philadelphia… In Milwaukee… In Cleveland…. In Washington, DC, and in Chicago….

And the public schools, which once were the pride of America… are reduced to keeping their doors open and trying to keep students safe…   Despite the best and most talented of human resources ever assembled in the educational field… there is no money to do anything….

Delaware is fast on the same track.  For years, under responsible General Assemblies, rules and regulations were in place that monitored and kept Charter Schools from festering out of control… No more… Being rolled over like gluttonous cattle too well fed to stand,  Charter Schools are moving into Delaware at a speed that would make Philadelphia’s investors jealous…..

Despite the fact, that right next door, in Philadelphia…. with our own eyes we can see that like leeches lamprayed on the financial jugular that funds our educational system… Charter Schools eventually will kill the host……

it is sad for Philadelphia… It is sadder that Delaware at this late date is just beginning the same failed policy… We know it will not work well in advance….

 

 

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Nicole Poore’s Bill 229 will exempt certain children from the state’s standardized tests.   It has the support of the following:

  • Sen. Hall-Long
  • Rep. Longhurst
  • Rep. Q. Johnson
  • Rep. Ramone
  • Rep. M. Smith
  • Sens. Blevins,
  • Bonini,
  • Bushweller,
  • Ennis,
  • Henry,
  • Marshall,
  • McBride,
  • McDowell,
  • Peterson,
  • Lopez,
  • Pettyjohn,
  • Sokola,
  • Townsend,
  • Venables;
  • Reps. K. Williams,
  • Jaques

This bill rectifies the current Murph’s law that Delaware students with severe cognitive disabilities must currently be forced to take statewide standardized assessments over the objections of their own parents and teachers…..

As well as, that students with severe cognitive disabilities who are clinically incapable of producing valid results on standardized assessments must be forced to take those steps even against a doctor’s note stating it can be harmful to those students…

As well as, that any students in Delaware diagnosed to have dyslexia or other learning disabilities that severely limit or prevent them from decoding text, cannot be held exempt from taking the tests…. and must be forced to take them.

Murphy’s law takes another hit.

With passage, (but there is a good chance that Markell will veto this bill since his track record on educational reform other than his own is dismal), students can opt out of the test because of severe mental disabilities…..

It is time to stop the public sanctioned torture of these young human beings, for no apparent viable reason than it is viewed as a sport to watch within the DOE.,….

Nicole’s Bill goes a long way to fix that….

One of the benefits of thinking through outragous possible comibinations associated with the math portion of the Smart Balanced Assessments, was that it forces one to look at even the most ridiculous approaches to the most ridiculous possible problems….

So one should not be surprised that a very young child applies that to writing the date down on his homework, and  come up with what for the first time, has been made public….

Every day this week … the date is the same forwards as it is backwards…

Sunday,        4 13 14

Monday        4 14 14

Tuesday        4 15 14

Wednesday  4 16 14

Thursday      4 17 14

Friday            4 18 14

Saturday       4 19  14

 

Others may look to check it out, but we may never see another such a perfect aligned week in our lifetimes…..

 

I’m sure that Dave Sokola, Darryl Scott, Mark Murphy, and Jack Markell are breaking out the champagne and opening the caviar to celebrate something good coming out of Common Core… But did we really have to spend $116 million (Kilory 🙂  ) as a state to achieve this fantastical observation?

The new Charter School of Wilmington will be 2800 students.

Christina District currently sends out $3701 per every child it sends to charters.  That amount varies depending on district, but just to get an idea, let us use that figure.

The new school will take 2800 students….   Therefore 2800 students times that dollar amount equals $10,362,800…  This amount to paraphrase Ross Perot in the 1992 campaign, will act as a giant sucking sound siphoning off of all 4 districts created out of the desegregation debacle.  Christina, Red Clay, Colonial, and Brandywine….

Systemwide those 4 districts currently have 55,794 students….  Subtract the 2800 out of them, and systemwide there are now 55,294 students left…

The loss of $10,362,800 across those 4 districts of 55,294 boils down to an average loss of $196 per student.

Go to the state’s website, click on your district, click on your school… Your student population should appear on a graph. Hover on the top of the last dot on the graph, (that would be 2014) and the student population appears in a little white box. Take that number and times it by $196 to get the shocking revelation of what this Charter costs your school….

This represents the drain of resources this giant charter will cost this area… $196 per child…  The reality is that in some districts it will be much worse.  If by some slim chance all of the students came out of Red Clay for example, the real cost of this charter would be $566 per student and none of the other districts would be affected….  But in reality most likely it will be split, though not equally.  Best guess is Christina and Red Clay each pick up a third of the loss, Brandywine and Colonial split the remaining third as sharing two pieces of 1/6th……  If so, the losses to each district would run thusly:

Christina   933 students lost   $3,453,033     total students in district (16721)    adjusted district total (15,788)  loses $218 per student across entire district

Red Clay   934 students lost  $3,456,734       total students in district (18295)    adjusted district total (17,361)  loses $196 per student across entire district

Brandywine   467 students lost   $1,728,367     total students in district (10802)    adjusted district total (10335)  loses $167 per student across entire district

Colonial     466 students lost   $1,724,666    total students in district (9976)    adjusted district total (9510)  loses $181 per student across entire district

Just a guess… So now, go to your school and figure out its total loss per school, per grade, and per class….

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Your child is losing this part of your tax dollars so those owning the new school get rich.  There is really no other honest explanation.. They can’t teach better.  They can’t discipline better.  In fact, if one takes the charter schools across the state, and isolates them by income, they all under-perform the public schools on the same economic level….   A public school with only 8% low income, does better than any charter school with 8% low income.  Likewise a public school with 95% low income, does better than a charter with 95% low income…

What this school does is pull out students from your schools to give them an inferior education, just so those owning the charter school make a profit (rent money) off of your property tax dollars… Property tax dollars that should be going to new and improved services in your districts schools…  

And this in that process, cuts down on the investment of your child… If your child goes to Brandywine in 2015, he will have $167 less spent on him than he will in 2014.  If your child goes to Red Clay, he will have $196 less spent on him in 2015, than he will have in 2014.  If your child goes to Colonial, he will have $181 less in 2015 than in 2014.  If he goes to Christina, he will have less $218 less spent in 2015, than in 2014….

Most likely a referendum will go out asking you to pay more … to cover that difference… And …That is a huge difference.. Figure a class of 23 kids? $5014 less per classroom!… That money will need to come from somewhere or class room performance will have no other choice but to go down…

You will ask… Why do I have to pay more?   The answer will be:  honestly?   … so those owning the Bank of America Building off Rodney Square in Wilmington, get paid….

That is the only reason and that is why you need to take action …. as soon as you finish reading this….

Do you know your Representative or Senator?   Click on those two links and you will soon.

Do you know how to contact them by email or phone?  Go to these email links for House and Senate and you will soon….

Simply express your dissatisfaction with your representative for allowing this to go forward… Right now, that should be enough… Make it explicitly clear you are against the Philadelphiazation of New Castle County’s 4 school districts… We are Delaware!  We are not Chicago. We are not Milwaukee. We are not Washington DC. We are not Philadelphia.   There is no reason except for the greed of a handful of well-connected men (no women), as to why we should trash our school systems as did happen in all those cities…….

Contact them today…..

 

If you didn’t get that headline, the tests and the high stakes associated with them are soooooo bad, that if they are truly inseperable as Bill Gates himself has said, Common Core has got to go… Yes, the tests are that bad…   ITTS… It’s The Test, Stupid…..

Briefly here is how it went down.

We decided we needed new standards because NCLB wasn’t doing that well.  The order went out to make standards.  Everyone in a recession signed on to new standards (really who wouldn’t) to get the desperately needed money that came with it.  At this point, all was cool; things were still on the up and up.  We were told and we believed the Governors and state superintendents of Education, sat down, developed a test that as fair, comprehensive, and would determine who should go forward, and who really needed to stay back a year and play catch up….  We were all fine with that…

Business leaders said they needed workers who were more business like, and that got put into Common Core Standards too, so the product we graduated would be better acclimated to jump out of school into a work environment… We were cool with that.   And  since we were giving out tests anyway, why not use them to determine who the bad teachers were, and wean them out, so good, no great, teachers could take their slots.  Even teachers were fine with that….

So Common Core moseyed along under the radar… and was piloted across several Delaware schools…  That is when shit hit the fan. What is this crap, every parent started asking?.  How come you are dumbing down my child, every incredulous parent wondered? Why can’t my child learn the good stuff, that made school fun when we were learning, and still keeps us inquisitive today?  You are killing off the intelligence of our children, every parent of this pilot program was saying to each other…

We looked at other states.  Kentucky failed 70 percent of their children… Does that mean thye all get held back?  Obviously not.  So then what?

Little did we know that the tests we were developing to determine whether a person passed or failed, was really determining how great a college they would get into?  Wait a second.  These tests are to test competency.  Not superman smarts… Most adults can’t pass these tests, and you are going to fail my child?  You are going to hold my child back a year, when they know more than any class before them, just not what is on your stupid test?

New York took a dry test run last spring.  If the test was doing what it was supposed to do, determine who advances and who fails, only 30% of the entire state of New York, our second most populous state, would pass.  70% would retake the class….   How is that even possible?  And what if they come one point shy of passing again?  Do they take that class a third time?  Yes.. according to the dumb rules put in place, they would…

Which is why common Core as got to go… The curriculum is based on the test.  the test unfortunately has nothing to do with the curriculum.. It is an excuse to fail students who make A’s in class…   Teachers all over New York state said that problems on the test, were not covered in the packets sent to teach students to the test…  Bringing up a very valid point.  When a teacher makes up a test herself, she can plan far ahead and make sure that item is learned.  But when no one has any idea of what will be on a test, one has no idea over what to stress and what to teach…  One has to trust the material sent.  And when that material does not cover the test, students have no idea what the answer should be…

The test is very wrong.  and if it is inseparable from Common Core, then Common Core has got to go…..

Do any teachers support it?  Only in Delaware and only if they are friends of Frederika Jenner, the head of the DSEA.  Most teachers are silent, not bucking the union, and from asking around, I would venture that 98% are against Common Core’s tests… When I approach a strange teacher asking about Common Core, they are very defensively in favor of it.  Until by my questions they gradually  understand I really do know a lot about Common Core and think it is a travesty, and only then, do they open up and tell me all their problems.   I’ve talked to over 100 teachers and only one, a brown nosed individual (republican type A, you know exactly what I mean) was in favor….

99% of teachers are against being held accountable on a standardized test over which they have zero control over what gets taught, or what get put on the test….  Of them, only Frederika Jenner thinks it should be that way…

Tennessee’s teacher’s union, TEA  (Tennessee Educational Association), today called for a moratorium on the PARCC assessment!

This past week for the first time, the state of New York admitted big problems with using the PARCC tests to hold teachers accountable.  Educators supposedly  earn one of four job-performance rankings — highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective. Teachers who are rated “ineffective” for two consecutive years can lose their jobs… Based on last spring’s test, 70% of teachers would lose their jobs… even though every one of them graduates some A students… It’s Bizarro World.

And finally from Florida, as a lesson to all states, The Florida Times-Union newspaper sued their state Education Department to get access to what are called “value-added” scores of teachers that are used to make high-stakes decisions about their jobs…. These scores come from student standardized test scores, which are then plugged into a complicated formula that supposedly can calculate the “value” a teacher adds to a student’s achievement….  Got it?

“For example, if you had a Teacher of the Year who had negative value-added scores, then something’s wrong. Either the subjective evaluation of Teacher of the Year is wrong or the value-added model is wrong,”

The First District Court of Appeals granted the newspaper’s request, forcing the department to turn over the scores.. In Florida, half of a teacher’s evaluation comes from these scores and the other half from administrative observation; the ratios are different in different states.

These formulas can’t determine a teacher’s value with any constant validity or reliability, and testing experts have urged policy makers not to use it for any high-stakes decisions about students, teachers, principals or anybody else….  Unfortunately, in  a large part to Gate’s money, this advice was ignored.

In this particular release of data, the most obvious and perhaps the most egregious one is this: Some 70 percent of the Florida teachers received VAM scores based on test results from students they didn’t teach and/or in subjects they don’t teach.

In subjects for which there are no standardized test — which is most of them — teachers are evaluated on school-wide averages.. English and Math only include about 30% of Florida’s teachers.   Kim Cook of Alachua, Fla.was evaluated at Irby Elementary, a K-2 school where she works and was named Teacher of the Year last December. Forty percent of her evaluation was based on test scores of students at another elementary school whom she never taught

This caused the Florida State Legislature to pass a bill making it illegal to evaluate teachers on standardized test scores of students they never taught..  However, the bill still allows teachers to be evaluated on students they may have in one class, but in a different subject. That means a social studies teacher can be graded on the reading and math test scores of his/her students….

Make no sense?  Exactly.  How did this come about?  Very logically, actually.  In scrambling how on earth to meet the mandate of holding every teacher accountable in order to receive RTTT and Gate’s billionaire funding, very creative ways had to be found to hold teachers accountable especially when there were no tests with which to do so!

Now do you get what Frederika Jenner has done to Delaware’s teachers?

All test scores… are meaningless.

So why are we using them?  Why are we pursuing a proven wrong approach in Delaware?  Why are we the only state that has not said:  ‘Hey! Wait A Minute! What are we doing here now?”

The real tragedy of taking the Smart Balance Assessments and using them to hold all teachers accountable, is not embedded in the tragedy of making our entire school system look worse than it is, simply because Mark Murphy has set the test curve too high…  No, the real tragedy is that we have human beings turning a very blind eye, to the consequences of using entirely meaningless data, to promote or end a lifetime teacher’s career….

The tragedy is that Frederika Jenner is behind continuing this sham. The tragedy is expounded in that no one in the General Assembly, save John Kowalko, Paul Baumbach, Edward Osienski,  and  Charles Potter  put up any opposition to this diabolical Himmleresque plan to ghettoize, cleanse, and exterminate long termed unionized teachers from within our public schools. Might as well pin the large yellow star of failure to their lapels, starting now…