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Major responsibilities include: 

What does it mean when our own elected representatives have to hire a marketing director to sell their policy to the people who elected them to look out for their (the people’s) own best interests?

In other words…. shouldn’t our government be doing WHAT WE WANT….  and if so, why would they need to SELL US on doing what we want them to anyway?  Do you see where this is headed?

They are selling us something that is bad for us so they have to market it, as one does exercise machines that cost thousands to sit on your enclose patio,  with glib ads. With counter attacks. With …well… what ever…

It is a sign, the issue has already failed.. And the Smarter Balanced Tests have not even been taken yet.

And as evidence of its failure, let us look at where “students”, you know those children who we send to school, fit in with this marketing plan…  Shall we?

Line 1 (above):  Anything about … students?

Refine and lead the implementation of a communications/engagement delivery plan that outlines  how DDOE can maximize opportunities for targeted communications and partnerships.

What this states in plain language:  how to run a political campaign (lies) to reach certain dummies who yet don’t have a clue.  (The dummies aren’t the students: they will only call them that as did Arne Duncun, AFTER  the test results arrive).

Line 2  Btw, where are the students concern’s here?

What this is asking for is a lobbying campaign, not just with legislators, but with other organizations related to schools.  And we all know how trustworthy lobbyists are.

Line 3.   (still no students)

This position is about holding the line.  Keeping  the message.  Making sure it gets through.  Btw, in corporate speak, strategic usually means “lying”…  Do you notice the difference between a communicator and an enforcer?  A public relation’s person would use mass media.  This is hiring someone to pick up the phone and call John Young  or John Kowalko directly and tell him to vote with Jack Markell on all issues.   I hope someone tells him back  to his face… “Sorry, I can’t help you. Your policy hurts kids. ”

Line 4.  (Say isn’t education supposed to be about students?)

Translated… ???   Lie, Lie, Lie… and when caught…. lie your way out of that too.   Very similar to how the German’s handled Auschwitz seventy years ago…

Line 5.  (Maybe this time we will hear something about what education is all about:  the students?)

Translated:  we need pro charter and pro corporate messaging without any chance of the real world reality slipping up our argument.  All members of the DOE must swear a loyalty oath, to uphold the DOE above all else, including citizens, legislators, government officials, law enforcement, auditors, FBI, CIA, and NSA, or any party not mentioned herein…  None of these entities will get information that has not  first been cleared officially… That mean you John Kowalko… No more of your meddling FOIA requests….

Line 6.  (I guess no one gives a hoot about students in our Department of Education Office here in the state of Delaware.)

Translated into:  you lie first, then make sure everyone else falls in line……

Line 7.

Translated… When Dave Sokola calls and is under attack in the General Assembly by facts showing his lies are transparent…. back him up with more lies… that aren’t transparent…

  • Other duties as assigned by supervisor.

Oh,,, like show how all this is beneficial to students….

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Yeah, right.

The point of this exercise, is to show that this policy has already failed… It is bad policy. It is wrong. It is dangerous. It is detrimental. It sets our state backwards. It is a public relations nightmare for this administration. It is simply, (as a student would put it:  wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.)  Therefore Delaware taxpayers will foot another yearly salary of  (top secret)…

Imagine this scenario

Himmler:   Fuhrer.  If they find out we aren’t putting these Jews in plush vacation homes on the Baltic Sea, there will be a great uprising among the people….

Hitler:  Ok, Him.  Do what you have to do… Hire a Communications Director. 

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Yesterday a very worthy demonstration against Republican sponsored racism was held in Wilmington and was approved by all worthy citizens of Delaware..  Police shooting children because they are black?  No right minded person should ever defend such atrocities.

Protesters with the blessing of Governor Markell, Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, Mayor Dennis Williams, County Exec. Tom Gordon, and every citizen of Wilmington, New Castle, and Kent Counties, lay down in the middle of the road and pretended to be dead…..

The thought occurred to me, that if we as a people were solidly behind protesting the loss to society over these dead black children; how much rightfully we should solidly be behind protesting the loss of educational opportunity for black children who are still alive?  And in far greater numbers?

There is a movement to stifle Black Academic accomplishment.  It is called the Educational Reform Movement.(ERM)  It privatizes education inside untouchable charter schools where racism can flourish and thrive privately beyond the reaches of all law or government….

Now, even the most blatant racists won’t admit they are racists… and asking them if they are, is silly.  But watching them gives you all the evidence you will need.

When you put blacks in a charter school and then close it down, but put whites in a charter school and then give them $1000 prizes, things are not equal.

When you move to privatize poor performing black public schools forcing their children into indentured charter-ship, but do nothing to the poor performing white public schools because of white public backlash, .. things are not equal.

When you create a standardized test that is written in an obscure white mid-western dialect that only mid-western whites can understand, and then whisper blacks are stupider because they perform less well, … things are not equal…

When you move to separate blacks from whites, and then put more money into white charter schools and take that money out of black public schools…. things are not equal…..

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Now if you are willing to lie down in a city street to protest harm done to dead children…. why are you not willing to keep your child out of school during the SBA testing…. to protest the harm done to live children?

In opting out, you actually are doing your child a favor.  These un-Balanced tests are the equivalent of those oppressively hard poll tests designed to keep blacks in the South from voting…. These tests are designed to keep real education and jobs with real money, out of their reach…

If as a parent you allow your child to take these tests… you are not helping any more than if you kept sending him back to the polls in 1950’s with correct answers to harder and harder questions…. The entire point back then was to keep “the Negro”  in 2nd class status… As you became smarter, they made the questions harder.. Their goal was not to allow smart Negroes to vote. Their goal was to keep Negroes in their place. Make them passive and harmless. Now welcome to the 21st Century version of the same…..

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is the worst thing that can happen to a child this year. In fact, if one was shot and killed before taking the test, there would actually be an argument over which child had it worse…. the dead, or the living. The truth of that saddens me with the realization of how far back we have slid.

T

On the closure of two schools.

This is to what we agreed when we elected George W. Bush to the presidency…  He said that “no child should be left behind.”   That means “no child”. If a school could not meet the standards set, it should be closed and those students sent to one that does meet such standards….

Politics has punted the ball for 14 years, and now, 2014 we’ve reached the end of sudden death overtime. There is no time to punt.  Game over.  These were the rules, upon which WE, THE PEOPLE, all agreed….

Darn shame no one thought of special-ed students back then.

Even though everyone in the back of their heads knew that if something is wrong with a person’s brain, something preventing them from performing on the level set for those who have no trouble building neurons and synapses, there was no way they could ever meet the intellectual standards set.

So, it made great sense to separate them from mainstream schools.  Cull out those who have no hope of getting 1550 on their SAT, get them out of ones schools to increase those schools averages, then point to those raised averages to show that educational reform (at least under that principal) was working because: “gee, look at the increase in average test scores!”

Plus it made great sense to parents, who long ago accepted the reality that their one child would not graduate medical school with honors,  would not be one of societies’ greatest achievers, and therefore, needed an environment where they could proceed on their own individual level, with great coaching and celebrate every milestone their limited capacity would allow them to cross.

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What doesn’t make sense is having these schools uphold a standard that should not be upheld in the first place.

First item of business then will be to remove schools specializing in challenged students from being held accountable to standards set too high…  It is like failing a first grader because they can’t jump a 6 foot high jump bar…

This was an oversight in the “No Child Left Behind” act… Because of that oversight, the solution now is to close these schools which despite great teachers, great administrators, and great students in every way other than their scores on the DCAS (Smarter Balanced starts this year), create embarrassing scores that are lowest in the state for the simple reason we aggregated all our lowest standardized tested students and put them in one school to help them.

If you re-spread those low scores across many schools, the tiny dip in new averages those students create, will not be enough to drop their new schools into a failure zone, and therefore the state’s report card then shows no F’s.

Which is what is being done:.. to eliminate “bad” schools those “bad” students are being diluted with enough good students across the state to keep the grade “averages” up.  (Like legally allowing the dumping of arsenic into a river as long as the parts per million don’t reach a certain level. Bit if you get one of those parts, it is still just as toxic).

It’s a human tragedy if that now moved student will be overwhelmed and grow inward, shut down, and simply give up.  But what the heck, it never shows up on the overall state’s grade…. so all schools look like they are doing great!

That is all that is going on here.  The real solution is to recognize this reality, and to absolve these types of schools who specialize in the teaching of those students (who for reasons beyond anyone’s control), will never rise up to meet the standards set from the “No Child Left Behind Act”…

Therefore, these two solutions need to go forward simultaneously.  (a) Legislation absolving certain schools from state standards (essentially putting “‘waiver status designation” into the hands of state legislators (accountable to we, the people) and not the Secretary of the DOE); and (b) a court case filed, similar to that of REACH, decrying the promotion of discrimination against disabled special-ed students by this action (because they are indeed being forced to matriculate into an inferior education, based solely upon their disabilities)….

These two schools should stay open and be commended for the service they provide society. Not closed because of some oversight 14 years ago that did not disclude them at that time.

Murphy and Markell, as well as Arne Duncun and other reformers (News Journal yaddi-yadda crowd) often pull out the China card when promoting their very single minded method of success..

Successful children are ones who meet a certain bar set by a certain person on a certain test.

What anyone else may deem to be successful, such as playing a Bach virtuoso at age 5, is not considered successful   Figuring out this, to get over a bar set 1550 on the SAT, is…

It would be wise to look at the Chinese system before copying it.  For over a thousand years, Chinese emperors used the imperial exam system keju to select government officials. When the great empire was shattered by Western powers in the 19th century, keju was blamed for China’s failure to cultivate the creative and diverse talents needed for modernization. It was officially ended in 1905….

It’s spirit lives on in today’s gaokao (think insurance).

it is practically the only way for upward social mobility, gaokao wields as much power as keju. It orients all aspects of education at all levels toward preparing for the exam. As a result, the modern day education system in China remains a test-prep machine as it was in the days of keju.

In summation, the teaching to the test that occurred for 1000 years of Chinese civilization failed to achieve anything close to the science of those Western strangers who’d sailed their ships right up their rivers and hand cannons aimed at the imperial palace.

Yet they still use it today. The modern-day Chinese test-prep education has the distinction of producing the best test-takers in the world. Which in turn causes it’s own problems.

A.  One study shows that fewer than 10% of Chinese graduates would be qualified to work in a foreign company in occupations such as engineering, finance and accounting.

B.  Corruption such as bribery, cheating and other forms of fraud intended to boost test results has been rampant in the past as well as today.

C.   Stress, anxiety, poor physical health and a lack of social and practical life skills are well-known characteristics of Chinese students.

D.   Its education system stifles creativity, suppresses individuality and induces conformity by forcing all children to compete for better test outcomes in a narrow set of subjects.

E.  Testing rewards those who are willing and able to give the right answers in the right way as demanded by the authority, while eliminating those who are unwilling or unable, but who may be talented in other areas.

F.  It fosters the spirit of compliance. It also results in impoverished educational experiences by forcing schools and teachers to teach to the test.

G.  Parents, too, are forced to narrow their children’s education experience to improve their children’s test performance.

H.   Children are deprived of all opportunities to explore their interests and find their passion.

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But China, unlike Markell and Murphy, is aware of the problems of testing and is trying to do things to correct the reliance of standard tests to determine a person’s value…

The changes being made in China are the exact opposite of what Murphy seeks to implement here in Delaware… Where is China is trying very hard to emulate the United States’ educational system, our leaders are trying to take us back to the flawed policies from which the Chinese are running away!!!

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The Chinese took these steps.

1. The Ministry of Education issued the order to ban testing for grades one through three. (Delaware is increasing the difficulty and numbers of tests to K-3 in order to acclimate them to the test before it gets taken in third grade.  Again, everything revolves around teaching the taking of a test.)

2.  For grades four and up, standardized testing is only allowed once per year for three subjects (Chinese, math and foreign language). (In Delaware, the NCAE, PSAT, SAT, ACT, AP tests, pre -Smarter Balance Assessments, and the Smarter Balanced Assessment are all taken within 180 days.)

3.   Tests cannot be used to admit students during the compulsory education stage.  (Delaware will hold back all 4 grader and all 8th graders who do not pass the test).

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As we have already seen in America, high stakes testing has already led to high stakes erasures and high stakes cheating. It is inevitable. if ones child will not advance, there are many ways a million dollars in the right hand can help that child instantly pass any standardized test. We are setting up a society where only the top test scorers will achieve top positions and only those able to afford to pay for these top test scores, (under the table of course) will go onward.

That is the foundation China was set upon.  Not the foundation given to us by OUR founding fathers.  The imperial exam system did a perfect job in cultivating obedient and homogeneous intellectuals, who contributed to China’s continuous pre-eminence as an agricultural empire.

There is much we can indeed learn from China.  And that starts with not taking the test too seriously and with keeping those things in place here which the Chinese are now trying to emulate, because their system does not have it.

China wants to have the same kind of creative and entrepreneurial talents America desires for the future. It is doing so by minimizing testing, because it has learned that testing and standardization do not help with, and more likely hurt, the development of creative and entrepreneurial talents. This is the Chinese lesson that America can learn.

Tonight there will be another town meeting, this the only one in Newark, regarding the upcoming takeover of 6 public schools…  All the players were there, and it was brought up that the number one player with the most at stake, was absent….   you.

The challenge was proffered.  What do you want your public schools to be?

I had to catch myself… My first reaction was a long tedious list of what I didn’t want them to be… which shortened considerably, boils down to one word:  Philadelphia.

So as THE self appointed globally sanctioned prime expert on education across the entire world, knowledgeable of schools from the aborigine Outback, Ghana, China, Russia, Europe, Brazil, to the US…  this was an opportune time to define eduction in its most realistic perspective.

Anyone of age, knows as a young parent you have very detailed ideas of how your child is going to be… but then as a grandparent, you throw them all out the window and enjoy the individual spirit and quirks each child possesses… That perspective is endemic to where I am going to take this conversation.

1)  All people are different; education strategy must account for that.  Anything that defines education to one single formula will work for one single type of human being, and fail for all the others… Guaranteed! Some more so than others. Success depends on bringing each individual person’s talents, instilled in them either by genetics or environment, to the area where they can be most successful and live happy and productive lives… (Assuming the whole principle for living is to be happy and have a productive life…  After all: why should anyone purposefully live to endure an unhappy and fruitless life?)

2) People tend to learn what they deem is important and discard the rest.  It is how we are wired… Making people learn things that are not important is a waste of time… They’ll forget it, so why invest the time teaching something that is not there in two days, and is never again needed in their lifetimes?

3) Since children are acquiescent, education across the ages has always revolved around what adults think should be instilled to promote the society they envision… Example, people who are bible bangers think we need more religion in our schools because, if everyone thought as did they, they wouldn’t be ostracized by society anymore.. So usually for whatever reason, educational policy has always been about promoting the self-interests of the policy maker.  Recently Common Core. Once it was Science.  Once it was Creationism.  Now it is $$$$$.

4) There is a lot of consensus that everyone should have the ability to read the language they will be using the rest of their life, and to add, subtract, multiply, and divide (specifically in a base-10 system)….  These are fundlemental and I am sure that a statically rounded 100% of all human beings would agree to that.

5) And lastly:  it should be a guaranteed right that everyone has the right to learn what ever they want, if they want to avail themselves of the opportunity….  Which means at an early age:  exposure to a wide variety; and at a later age, freedom to pursue that area in which they perceive they will be happiest…

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And that is it….  From there the discussion boils down into petty arguments, vision, details, and personal whims and attributes.  Conservatives want a conservative agenda taught, with no mention of the sins of liberal thinking… Religious nuts want their religion, and only THEIR religion taught to bolster their teachings at home.  Business interests want psychological robots to perform tasks on demand with no question.  Intellectuals want the smart ones culled and given an robust menu upon which to flourish.  Poor people just want someone to keep their kids till they can make it home from work.

So what we need is an educational system that encompasses all of the above…. In other words, is it unrealistic to expect a child of a crack mom, kept by an aunt who works 2 jobs, to achieve standards set for an above average affluent white suburbanite from a family income well over $80,000?   Why, yes.  It is…  In other words, is it unrealistic to expect a child raped by a relative entrusted of its care, to behave as would a child of a wealthy stay-at-home mom who ran things with an iron fist beginning at birth, whose child never learned any other option other than trust implicitly what they were told to do?  Why, yes… it is… In other words, is it unrealistic to expect a child who has a 500 word vocabulary upon entering 1st grade to achieve at the same level expected of a child whose parents boast they have read to him over 2000 books before he/she enters the school system?   Why, yes… it is…

I am right on the verge of preaching again what schools should not be, which since I said earilier I would not do, I will leave it to you to put that together in your own mind….

But as a final thought, some of us are old enough to remember the public service commercials once ending with:  “because a mind is a terrible thing to waste…..” 

And that is the essence to me of what our public schools should be….

They should be areas of opportunity….  Where if a child is born of a gifted mind, he won’t be denied opportunity because of the color of his skin, or the economic standing of his parents, or a disability with which he was born….

All people may be created equal, but not all have equal opportunity upon arriving upon public education’s doorstep.  The true ideal of public education should be to give ALL those arriving, the opportunity to make their lives better than what it would be, if such schools did not exist.

So, based on the assumption that schools should be areas of opportunity, a lot of crap is immediately discarded and those things that impeding this mission of being an opportunity become readily apparent.

1) Those students denying other students their opportunity to learn, need to be culled.

2) Sports, music, and arts, providing additional opportunities, need to be enhanced, not diminished.

3) Statewide testing should be only a measure of each student’s progress. Not a brick bat to level at teachers, schools, and districts, and poor people in general.

4) We should be happy if all can read, write, and do basic math.  But we should definitely offer more for those so inclined to go further.

5) A child’s path should be decided by its parents… If the child has none, then the best experts possible should be there to guide him.

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Education should be neither liberal or conservative, but should include elements promoting both.  It should be neither religious or atheistic, but should include elements exploring both.  It should be neither for rich or poor, but should include opportunities for both….

Public Education should be the place where anyone, no matter what number life has given him, can grow and explore however he is so inclined.  No limits. No entry restrictions.

Case in point: there was once a black kid, of single mom, immigrant estranged father, raised by grandparents, who took full advantage of all public education’s opportunities… He is now the President of the United States of America….

Alas, if we could have only given Republicans as equal of an education.

A person is guilty of tampering with physical evidence when:

(1) Intending that it be used or introduced in an official proceeding or a prospective official proceeding the person:

a. Knowingly makes, devises, alters or prepares false physical evidence; or

b. Produces or offers false physical evidence at a proceeding, knowing it to be false; or

(2) Believing that certain physical evidence is about to be produced or used in an official proceeding or a prospective official proceeding, and intending to prevent its production or use, the person suppresses it by any act of concealment, alteration or destruction, or by employing force, intimidation or deception against any person.

Tampering with physical evidence is a class G felony.

11 Del. C. 1953, § 1269; 58 Del. Laws, c. 497, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 130, § 8; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

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It is time for yet again…. another letter to the Attorney General’s office. This time over the manipulation of educational low income data. This, if correct, is indeed a crime requiring legal proceedings in pursuit of a class G felony under Delaware Law.

On a letterhead proudly proclaiming it came from Secretary Mark Murphy, a calender listing the steps toward the MOU and school closure process was outlined…

Murph

In what was titled an “information” meeting, scheduled for September 12th, (yesterday),  it was as the agenda states: where the DDOE provides an informational meeting for Districts, individually, that walk through the Turnaround Guide and address initial questions about the School Plan”…

A meeting to “walk through the Turnaround Guide: and to “address initial questions”…..

mou

One would think that someone rolling out a grand program of this scope would be present at this meeting he himself had scheduled, which would turn out to be most paramount, since it was the immediate response and first interaction between the Local District supers and the Department of Education since getting suckered punched on September 4th., 8 days earlier.

I mean:  doesn’t the coach at least show up at the game?

But a flunkee was sent instead.. Someone who only know what was written before them, and could only respond from the text that all had  previously read… Putting all in the bizarre comic situation of asking questions about the text to only have the direct text read back to them… Real questions, obviously were not answered….

Puzzling.

Today here are the questions being asked around the entire state.

  1. Is the Secretary of Education suffering from a mental condition disabling him from facing confrontation over his controversial policies?
  2. Is the Secretary of Education simply dismissive of local school boards in general and feels it is beneath his exalted position to be associated with them?  We know how he runs Merv around like his “go-fer” and winks at others when he does so.
  3. Is the Secretary of Education already knowing he is converting the schools to charters so he really doesn’t need to be bothered with pretending like it is not already a foregone conclusion?
  4. Is the Secretary of Education so forgetful he didn’t write the date in his Daytimer after having the memo typed up by a secretary in his office?
  5. Was there a game of dodge-ball that was deemed more important than meeting with the Super’s of Red Clay and Christina School Districts, who will ultimately be responsible for the disruption this will cause 3000 Delawarean families?
  6. Is the Secretary of Education so afraid of matching wits with Rep. John Kowalko that upon hearing he would be there, the Secretary got weak bowels, cold chills and a fever?

Who knows?

And since no one does seem to know, (even Markell’s staff was clueless on Fri.) most likely anyone of the above is for the moment, all equally likely to be true!

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 entire teaching experience within Delaware’s Department of Education is 12 years…..   Are the blind really leading here or being pulled by someone else?  h/t Frederika Jenner.