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It takes a little sleuthing to figure out what happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Out of Delaware’s total 136,027 students, 11,865 go to charter schools, 124,162 continue in public education… (8.72%) (btw Red Clay’s charters not included since Red Clay is the authorizer)

That little 9% siphons a money better spent in public schools. Costs in 2016.

ACADEMIA ANTONIA ALONSO 1,232 Payments $3,524,608.63

ACADEMY OF DOVER CHARTER SCHL 1,374 Payments $3,628,701.16

CAMPUS COMMUNITY SCHOOL 2,425 Payments $4,558,838.47

DE COLLEGE PREPARATORY ACADEMY 1,364 Payments $2,351,143.15

DELAWARE DESIGN-LAB HS 1,282 Payments $2,410,480.42

EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL 1,144 Payments $2,757,920.69

EAST SIDE CHARTER SCHOOL 3,060 Payments $7,426,823.05

FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY 2,613 Payments $8,846,337.76

FIRST STATE MONTESSORI ACADEMY 1,388 Payments $3,794,639.93

FREIRE CHARTER SCHOOL 1,354 Payments $2,958,912.10

GATEWAY LAB SCHOOL 1,749 Payments $4,556,773.53

GREAT OAKS CHARTER SCHOOL 751 Payments $3,229,356.48

KUUMBA ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL 1,995 Payments $8,058,005.38

LAS AMERICAS ASPIRA 3,549 Payments $7,931,013.77

MAPLETON CHARTER SCHOOL AT WHI 2 Payments $1,736.86

MAURICE J. MOYER ACADEMY 50 Payments $112,524.40

MOT CHARTER SCHOOL 4,510 Payments $11,355,105.68

NEWARK CHARTER SCHOOL 3,958 Payments $26,599,416.25

ODYSSEY CHARTER 3,161 Payments $13,048,335.82

POSITIVE OUTCOMES CHARTER SCHL 1,746 Payments $3,118,502.54

PRESTIGE ACADEMY 1,427 Payments $3,687,431.41

PROVIDENCE CREEK ACAD CHTR SCH 3,351 Payments $7,414,681.73

REACH ACADEMY FOR GIRLS 37 Payments $233,814.90

SUSSEX ACADEMY OF ARTS SCIENCE 2,336 Payments $6,422,637.21

THE DELAWARE MET 870 Payments $2,100,835.55

THOMAS A EDISON CHARTER SCHOOL 2,790 Payments $9,237,268.52

All told, roughly $149,365,845.39 was spent on non-Red Clay Charters… which taught only 11,865 students. On gross cost, that amounts to $12,588 a student…. Without charters and all else being equal, that same money when spread across the balance of those left in public schools, is a lost benefit of $1202 or rounded down, $1200 loss per student remaining in public schools… (Total benefit to a class of 20 would be $24,000).

So in a future court case by the ACLU over the unconstitutionality of charter schools in Delaware, when asked to prove harm backing their claim, here it is… Charter Schools take $1200 away from each student remaining in public schools…

Now some people think that since money follows a child that those schools with fewer students need less. Unfortunately no. The costs to those schools losing students to charters remain the same. Utility costs don’t change because you have fewer students; teaching costs don’t change because you have fewer students. Maintenance costs don’t change because you have fewer students. In fact, no costs get eliminated because you have fewer students. What does happen is all those fixed costs go up as a percentage of total revenue coming in. So there is less discretionary income available for students… You have to cut things like football, sports, music, arts, and all those things that are more important than books in any school.

Likewise, the charters on a shoe string budget are also running at levels of no frills with none of the above. A whole generation loses big time.

And for what gain? Only one of those schools met proficiency levels… Roughly 2000 students…

WE are going through all this pain of hurting 134,000 students just to hit our goals for 2200.

This is why, Charter Schools need to be eliminated from Delaware. Or with enough political will, they can still be allowed to stay, but only if they are fully funded by line items in the state budget, and public schools return to being fully funded by their localities.

The problem is not so much with the harm Charters do to their own students… It is what they do to everyone else…. And upon surveying the damage done so far, it is past time everyone not hired or associated with the CHARTER SCHOOLS NETWORK, stands up and says… NO MORE……

If you are looking for blatant racism anywhere in this country, you need look no further than our Charter School organization….

Pictures speak 1000s of words.

Charter Prejudice

Although the Charter Schools are spinning the data shows they are close to Public Schools in their suspension rates, look at the categories…..

We’ve all heard that more Blacks are suspended than whites.  But did you know that more blacks are suspended in Charter Schools than are in public?… Ok, so is that is possibly due to zero tolerance?

But fewer whites are suspended in Charters than are suspended in public schools… And even FEWER Hispanics  are suspended in Charters than in our public school system….

How can that be?  Double standards?

Prejudice is alive and well in our charter schools.  Which is why, pro-charter by any Afro-American legislator, is becoming a political no-no, a contradiction in terms… You cannot be supportive of your race and vote pro-charter which ADDS to the amount of prejudice in this world and HURTS the public schools which is the most effective tool today we have to combat that…

ANY SUPPORT for charter schools by any Afro American, hits the youth of their race twice in the head with a baseball bat.

 

  • Increase Taxes substantially on the top 1% of Delawareans by increasing incrementally the top marginal tax rate.
  • Override the Opt Out veto, giving parents the ultimate role in their child’s education.
  • Remove and replace the  crony Smarter Balanced Test with a test that can actually help students with immediate feedback.
  • Remove charter schools from being funded per student and have them paid by line item in state budget, bringing them under tighter public scrutiny and control.
  • Quickly pass HB 217 (Keeley) which is designed to require that firearms which are recovered from crime scenes be entered into the National Crime Information Center firearm database system.

We have a tough session ahead.  All of these are no-brainers and should quickly be put to rest so attention can be focused outward towards new things.

There now is no reason  not to override Markell’s veto of HB50.

The past reasons, that it would damage education; that it would hurt Civil Rights, that it would restrict federal funding, that it would be damaging for the child, are as of its passage, superfluous.

Instead, the ESEA now gives states all rights on how to handle opt out. They still require 95% compliance on students taking the test, but the state has the right to decide how to now define compliance.

So simply put, the state can establish a formal deadline for opt-out, as it does for school choice, and all those registered before deadline are eliminated  from the pool of 100%… The compliance figure will then only then be based on the percent taking the test of the number of students who chose not to opt out,…  it should be over 95% without problem.

No penalty.

Would hurt Civil Rights?  The antiqued concern is that back when separate but equal ruled, they were separate, but not equal. Funding for black schools was cut or moved to white schools.  Educational opportunity between races was not equal. Today’s mandatory testing, …by forcing people to notice the inequality caused by poverty and prejudice, helps resources flow to areas of need. Civil rights leaders were concerned that without tests, the glaring inconsistencies again get pasted over and ignored, and black education again becomes inferior.

But with the ESEA,  comes new money for programs other than academics that are desperately needed.  Early Ed, Afternoon School, Daycare till single moms get off work. etc. The real needs now have money. Whether a student opts out or not in the inner city, now has no consequence on the flow of money to its schools. That is set in stone.

Likewise the fear that high opt outs would restrict Federal Funding.  That bluff was called and New York verified that despite almost 50% opt out levels, full funding hit each school.  As of passage and signing, funding is divorced from test scores.  High or low participation, the funding is consistent.  The argument that something bad could happen if opt out gathered steam has evaporated completely, even though no evidence was ever there prior…

The idea that opting out could be damaging for the child’s record is now gone.  States  no longer are committed to sticking to the PAARC or Smarter Balanced. They can all make up their own. In fact, expect a large push in Delaware to scrap this SBA and return to something similar to the DCAS, a great test if something could ever be called that…

Prior to this we always said: if you want to end the opt-out movement, end the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  That was the driver infuriating people enough to opt out their child!  If any opt out movement existed prior, it was very quiet… Anyone ever hear of an opt-out movement for the DCAS?

The entire function of the test is now eliminated. The test was purposefully designed not to benefit each child taking it.  Whereas comparatively, the DCAS test could be used immediately to provide feedback to the student still fresh from taking it, the Smarter Balanced results emerged the following school year and gave nothing but a numerical score, one that was isolated, scaled differently from any other testing score, past or present…. with as much credibility as a lottery ball dispenser machine spitting out a random number ball and that becomes your score…

The test was to be used to fire teachers and to fire principals and to close schools by forcing scores to remain below a fake bar of proficiency.  A bar set so high, even professional adults failed to best it.  With passage of the ESEA, test scores will NOT to be the  make-or-break main method of accountability…

As of passage, there is absolutely no reason for a child to waste any time on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  It does not help him. It does not hold anyone accountable, so really, why take it?

Parents as outlined in the ESEA have full right to determine their child’s education.  They are first line of defense.

HB 50 just makes this official… it provides backing so if a school is unfortunate to have a Principal Edward R. Rooney (Ferris Beullar’s Day Off) who breaks into your home to make your child take the test (practice your karate skills), you have backing to continue your right to opt out…..

Which is exactly why that protection needs to be reinforced… Oregon passed Opt-Out and will function fine under the ESEA….

The real issue behind HB50 is who will ultimately decide policy for the state: a governor who seems to be under the spell of Wall Street… or 62 individually elected representatives, each who live and shop in the districts that elected them, who all voted with the will of the people…?

That is why first order of business needs to be over-riding the HB50 veto which now though a perfunctory exercise, has profound symbolic and strategic value as future serious issues pop up in 2016 on which the Governor’s current actions bely him to be standing solidly on the wrong side….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Cure for Carlotta
by Bart King

A boy stood on deck and sniffed the salty sea air as the ship pitched back and forth. The smell of the sea was familiar and comforting. The boy’s earliest memories were of being at sea with his father. They would fish for hours, just the two of them, surrounded by the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

Now Enzio and his family were on a giant ship crossing the Atlantic. Also on board were hundreds of other people, mostly Italians like Enzio’s family. There were more people on board than lived in his entire village back home in Trevilla.

Enzio clattered down the iron steps to the steerage deck and dove into his bunk. He rested his head against his pillow. Trevilla wasn’t his home anymore. Gone was the fishing boat. Gone was the Mediterranean blue that he’d always taken for granted. Who knew what kind of home America would be?

One of the passengers was a girl named Carlotta. Her family was from Rome. Carlotta had been quick to tell him this on the first day of the voyage. “New York will not be so different from Rome,” Carlotta had said. “They are both great cities, but of course Rome is better. My father has already been to America twice. He is going to open a big department store downtown. My father had a successful business in Rome; all the wealthy ladies would buy from him.”

Carlotta loved to talk about herself, her family, and the rich and powerful people they knew. With so many hours to fill, Enzio did not mind. He noticed—but didn’t really mind—that she never asked about him or his family. Enzio was especially hungry for any details about America. He loved hearing Carlotta’s tales about life in a big city. It sounded exciting and a little scary.

Today, Carlotta was unusually quiet. Her face was pale, and she clutched her stomach with one hand and the ship’s rail with the other. “Up and down, up and down, will it never stop?” she groaned.

Enzio took Carlotta’s hand from the rail. He pressed his fingers on the inside of her wrist, an inch or so from the palm of her hand. “Press this place here, on your wrist,” Enzio said.

Carlotta looked at him miserably. Enzio could tell that only her illness kept her from arguing with him. How well he knew that look on her face. He’d seen it on the faces of many fishermen. He smiled encouragingly. “That’s right. Keep pressing.”

An hour later, Carlotta found Enzio. She was still holding her fingers to her wrist. “I do feel better,” she admitted. “How did you know it would work? Is your father a doctor?” she asked.

Enzio explained that his father had come from a long line of fishermen who had passed down the remedy for seasickness. One of Enzio’s uncles always wore a braided wristband with a bead that pressed into his wrist.

Interested, Carlotta asked to hear more about Enzio’s family. He explained that they were sailing to meet his mother’s brothers. One was a successful stonemason in upstate New York. Another had helped construct the Brooklyn Bridge. Still another worked as a welder, joining the steel frames of the city’s rising skyscrapers.
Carlotta looked at Enzio with new respect. “Why didn’t you tell me any of this?” Enzio shrugged. “You didn’t ask.”

Suddenly the blast of the ship’s horn startled them. Looking out the porthole, Carlotta shouted, “Look! The Statue of Liberty!”

They could hear the commotion of all the passengers talking at once. Soon the ship would dock at Ellis Island. Gazing out at the mighty but silent statue, Enzio wondered what marvelous things the statue might teach if only someone asked the right question.

=====

question 1question 2

 

To receive the full-credit score of 1 point, the student must correctly select both paragraphs. The correct paragraphs are paragraph 1 and paragraph 3.

question 3

question 4

question 5

And that concludes your Smarter Balanced test for your child…

He would need to answer all of these correctly to deemed proficient.  How proficient were you?

The idiocy of using this one single event to rate teachers’ performance, to rate schools’ performance, to rate district [performance, by now should be apparent….

The questions are aimed not to determine what each child knows, but how well they can guess what the test takers were thinking….

Remember, none of these questions came from anyone who actually spends time teaching kids… or has children of their own…

Every parent who does know children, needs to opt out today…. It would be different if the test was a good test…. by good, we mean objective… “What is the capital of Delaware?”..  this test does not test knowledge. It tests whether you choose the same things I would choose… nothing more…

I was particularly struck by the last question asking the main idea….  Only B and D could be opted out…..

For picking A, C, E all of which have very good grounds… you child will be deemed a failure who is not college or career ready by the 5th Grade…..

HB 334 which would implement the national test (that every other state is abandoning like the last person holding on to them will pay the entire bill), was defeated tonight in the Senate…. It was a surprise, really. The House had passed it 30-9… But it was one of those bills that “protect a client” and tend to get passed by insiders whether or not it hurts the people it affects… The People have been speaking out about this bill before it was offered last year, and in a rare surprise, they were heard…. The bill was defeated….

Yes: 8 No: 13 Not Voting: 0 Absent: 0
Blevins Y Hocker N Peterson Y
Bonini N Lavelle N Pettyjohn N
Bushweller Y Lawson N Poore Y
Cloutier N Lopez N Simpson N
Ennis N Marshall Y Sokola Y
Hall-Long Y McBride N Townsend N
Henry Y McDowell N Venables N

There was audible commotion.  A lot of gasping from breath holding from the halfway point as the count had progressed… One hour later, as the eyes started to glaze over from a long day pushed even longer, a surprise motion and a second to rescind the vote was offered and a re-vote taken….   Exactly 4 people over that 63 minutes from passage to passage changed their vote…..

 

Yes: 12 No: 9 Not Voting: 0 Absent: 0
Blevins Y Hocker N Peterson Y
Bonini N Lavelle Y Pettyjohn N
Bushweller Y Lawson N Poore Y
Cloutier N Lopez N Simpson N
Ennis Y Marshall Y Sokola Y
Hall-Long Y McBride Y Townsend N
Henry Y McDowell Y Venables N

I think every one reading this already knows the huge consequences this act will have on children…  so I don’t really need to explain it here….

Insiders can instantly guess what happened by the red highlights above….

In hindsight, blaming these people may be a little harsh…. but they will probably be judged harshly by Delaware Society anyway… Just like we judge Judas today even though inevitably Jesus would have had to go down the same path….  Judas still gets 99% of the blame…

The real blame back then was Caiaphas, head of the Sanhedrin or Pharisees…. the person pulling the strings.  In order not to lose focus you need to remember that 30 House members voted for this, and it was supported by the Governor, Secretary of Education, US Secretary of Education and the President himself…. Plus those members of  the Senate itself, who know better, but went along to get along….

But still…. a Judas is a Judas….   And though that 30 pieces of silver looked good at the time, if you remember the story,  it’s luster did not last long…..

Shout out to El Som who dutifully does what in the other 49 states would be the News Journal’s duty, just so we too can be an informed public…  Many thanks from those of us who use this valuable resource….

You probably know by now from the “other” sources that Valerie Longhurst is gutting $70 million from fixing our roads and bridges despite the disaster on 495!

You probably right now are smacking your forehead with your hand, and saying “What the fuck is she thinking?”  I have to sit in traffic an extra hour because of her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You would be right.  But, apparently she is not alone. The majority of the Legislature is still living in the 00’s and is too timid to increase revenues… any revenues…   There is very tiny fringe of people cheering that… and that tiny fringe are the only ones who have their ear…

So the rest of us have to suffer more gridlock because of Valerie Longhurst… and more, and more, and more, more, more, more, more, …,

Collectively in 2 years we will all scream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   “Why doesn’t someone do something!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”….

Instead of passing a gas tax which will hurt only those speculators investing in gasoline….and will be 60% financed by out of state travelers….. she is cutting, (this is not about growing any bigger)  but she is “cutting” infrastructure improvements…..

Well, we gotta cut something……

NO!  YOU DON’T…….

There are unlimited resources for raising revenue… The gas tax is one… And taxing our wealthy is a goldmine… Recently it was determined that our wealthy could adquetely fund up to $1.3 billion yearly each single year…. to bring them up to the level counting for inflation to where they were taxed back in the 50’s… They survived then; they’ll survive now….  No billionaire has ever died impoverished…..

So with an untapped $1.3 billion at our disposal…. Valerie Longhurst is cutting back on rebuilding bridges and roads!… Just think… if that inspector who luckily got in his car that Monday morning to look under that bridge, … had been laid off.  Just think, if all of them had been laid off!   Exactly!  That is where Valerie is taking us….

We’d not have fixed the bridge in time… We still be pulling bodies out the river….

This is where Valerie Longhurst is leading us… This is just plain fucking stupid.   Anyone can see it is plain fucking stupid….

The problem is not really in the number of brain cells these legislators have…. They, I trust, have pretty close to the same number as the rest of us… The real problem….  IS  THAT  THEY…  DON’T….  HEAR…  YOU  !!!    (They hear the tiny few from ALEC 40 times a day)… You must make them HEAR you… You must…

Call or more effectively…. email….  today….

Say:  RAISE THE  GAS  TAX  AND   TAX  THE  TOP  ONE  PERCENT…..  BUT, whatever you do…. don’t EVER cut the transportation fund and make me wait in my car ONE MORE SINGLE MINUTE because you were too cheap to fix a bridge before it goes out!!!

And if you don’t know who they are…….

The problem with government these days is that they just don’t hear anymore from people with plain Common Sense….  Change that! Today!