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Here is a teachers idea of how Common Core should be taught… ie, close reading of a text…

It is broken down into three readings… Reading one, Reading two, and Reading three.  To show grownups what this does to the joy of reading, another  Nancy Bailey (no relation to George) last year took the classic The Night Before Christmas, and after each paragraph, inserted the criteria required to teach in Common Core.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

STOP!

The First Reading

What is the main idea?
Summarize the passage I just read.
Do you have questions about what I read?
What did you hear?
What is this about?

The Second Reading

What text structures and text features were used?
What is the author’s purpose?
How does the author feel about the subject?
Why did the author use particular words and phrases?

The Third reading

What Inferences can you make?
How does the author support key points?
How does this relate to other texts you’ve read?
How does this relate to your life?
How does the author support key points?

——

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

STOP!

The First Reading

What is the main idea?
Summarize what I just read.
Do you have questions about what I read?
What did you hear?
What is this about?

The Second Reading

What text structures and text features were used?
What is the author’s purpose?
How does the author feel about the subject?
Why did the author use particular words and phrases?

The Third reading

What Inferences can you make?
How does the author support key points?
How does this relate to other texts you’ve read?
How does this relate to your life?
How does the author support key points?

=====

She ruins the entire poem.

Now, besides the irritability of having to stop one’s train of thought every stanza… look at some of the required discussion questions..

What is the main idea?….  Answer… Everyone was asleep… Do we really need to dissect a poem to infinity and beyond to understand that it is about late night when everyone is tired and going to sleep?

Duh.  Really how much more can we learn about everyone being asleep, something obviously heard and understood at first reading, by discussing it excessively in class?  Does this make children smarter and able to read better at some future point? Or does it teach them to play video games all day at home and not read at all?  Obviously it does the latter.

Another question:  what text structures and text features are used?  Excuse me… what is a ….. text structure…   How in hell have I been able to read and write my entire life without knowing what a…. “text structure” is?  Oh, of course I can guess… by saying the too obvious…

“Excuse me, teacher, is it the structure of the text?”

“Why very good kavips, you nailed it exactly… The text structure is the structure of the text”….

“Ma’am?”

“Why yes little kavips.”

“So how is this text structured, can we see it?  What supports what, like on a bridge?  You know how the bottom holds up the top?  So where is the structure in this?”

“I’m sorry, little kavips… no one knows… You see English is a living language changing every day, and if there was structure that was too tight, it couldn’t change… ”

“But what IS the structure, can you explain it to me?”

“No. it is unexplainable. It IS after all, Common Core”

====

In the old days we used to diagram sentences.  That was visual and real and very helpful in understanding adverbs and participial phrases.  We don’t do that any more… All we get is one teacher’s goofy definition of structure she pulls of the top of her head since it is never explained, which is different from all other teacher’s definitions of structure.. So much for “one” curriculum.

—-

Whereas this curriculum may have a place in some specialized field of literary English criticism, perhaps Harvard…  the intellectual movement that Common Core’s ELA forces on children, “only focus on the text”, was debunked as a critical movement back in 1949.. The world has moved on…

All but David Coleman, the founder of Common Core.

Dare you. Read the poem all the way through, answer every question. (No adult will, but yet we thrust it on our children because they have no power of complaint) … then, opt out your child so Common Core disappears after this year and your children again can learn that learning about what is cool, is fun.

In the meantime, next year (2016) pay attention to our General Assembly.

Look for a:

Bill to replace the Smarter Balanced Assessment

Bill to replace Common Core  curriculum with Delaware’s own standards.

Bill to fund Charter School by line items in state budgets and not allow them to steal money from good public schools and bad.

Bill to minimize Standard test results to only 5% weight on a teachers evaluation, making it a factor of no consequence except in borderline cases.

Bill to raise taxes only on  the top 1% of the state’s revenue earners, to be used to fill in budget gaps looming so large they call loudly for drastic cuts, all unnecessary if taxes just get raised on the top one percent…

 

 

 

 

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YOU MUST RESIDE IN THE 27TH REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT.

Battle Ground XXVII

Whether you register as a Republican or Democrat, your incumbent has been considerably weakened last year and this.

Here is what you will have behind you.

Financial resources of the Delaware PTA organization, consisting of parents and teachers from North Claymont to Southern Fenwick Island who deeply care for all children and want them to learn, not jump through meaningless hoops that curtail their development.

Backing from the DSEA teachers’ union, including financial resources and unlimited manpower…

Additional backing from regional teachers unions, such as the Red Clay and Christina local collections who would bend earth and water to replace Earl Jacques with someone who actually cares about kids.

National publicity and financial support from anti-Common Core affiliations sprouting up across America, including some well known like the BadAss Teachers association, and Diane Ravitch, who follow Delaware’s actions through its excellent blogs.

The power of hundreds of thousands of holy prayers rising upwards and a few financial resources from parents absolutely incensed over how the Smarter Balance Assessments manipulates their child to feel stupid when they aren’t,  and who read widely of how almost every other states is running away from Common Core but yet see this incumbent using his leadership position solely to block each, all and every reform.

Support from all the significant editorialists and newscasters in this state, who will give you unlimited access to get your message out. That would include BOTH Rick Jensen and Al Mascitti on WDEL who would do so, because you are fighting a common enemy: corporate interference into public education. .

Here are your incumbent’s crimes……

Authored and pushed forward a charter bill (HB165) which removes $21 million of your dollars our of your school district and gives it to charters scattered all over the state.

Refused to allow the Opt Out Bill out of his committee though it had 52 of 62 (82%) of our General Assembly supporting it.

Called parents pussys because they were afraid of a “little” old test.

Consistently votes for those rights and financial concerns of international corporations over any concerns from people living on Cann Ave.. his own street.

Is personally responsible for the Smarter Balanced Assessment being given to your children.

But the main crime despite all these horrible issues,  is that as chair of the House Educational Committee, he had multiple chances to act to return Delaware to a much better test, and did nothing….

The fact he does nothing in his leadership position, is the prime reason he needs to be kicked out.  We need someone who does SOMETHING!

Voters in the 27th have lately been ill served. Especially if they have children.  No other candidate anywhere in this state can garner this much support so early on. Not even our Representatives in Washington!

Please hear our calls.

Run, run, run….. Voters in the 27th are desperate for any, any other option, regardless of party affiliation…  We will support Democrats who run against him.  We will support Republicans who run against him…. We will support Independents who run against him..

If you are a mom or dad… please, please, please run.  It is really not hard to do at all.  Again, all the experts above can guide you through the process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having a positive mindset in math may do more than just help students feel more confident about their skills and more willing to keep trying when they fail; it may prime their brains to think better.

Of the children in the study, 47 were asked to either stare at a fixed point or identify whether a series of addition problems were correct while being scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, a noninvasive method of identifying brain activity by measuring changes in blood flow in the brain.

Professor Chen and his colleagues found that students with higher positive-mindset levels in math were more accurate at identifying correct and incorrect math problems, even after controlling for differences in IQ, age, working memory, reading ability, and math anxiety.

A lower positive-mindset level was likewise associated with lower math performance….

Students with high positive-mindset levels had generally greater brain activity in a number of areas of the brain associated with math problem-solving: the hippocampus, the left dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, the left supplementary motor area, the right lingual gyrus, and the dorsal cerebellum. In particular, the researchers found faster, smoother connections, called “upregulation” between the hippocampus—an area often associated with the ability to quickly remember math facts and processes—and the other brain areas associated with math problem-solving.

Common Core is designed to give children a lower positive-mindset level.. That is its whole purpose.  Take children struggling to jump over a 3 foot high jump, raise the bar to 5 feet, berate the children on their performance, and fire the coach because the same number who could jump a 3 foot high jump, couldn’t muster the 5 foot one…

How does that make a child feel.  How does that make you feel?

Hence their focus on rigor and grit.  Nicer words than “child torture”, I’ll admit, but still having the same meaning…

This study suggests that the wiring of our brains is such that when we have a positive mental attitude, we perform better….

Duh…

But at least there is a study now that has data to prove it… The corporate education reformers who suggest  that having a prison-like atmospheres in their schools, who are keen on making little children suffer, who get so excited they perspire when they talk of failing 70% of America’s students…  still have zero evidence that their solution has ever borne results… All they have is theory.

So now, we evidence that backs common sense; evidence that debunks Common Core… It’s lightweight. It’s the first.  But still it is evidence that pursuing the Smarter Balanced Assessments past 2016, will drop Delaware even lower in Math than it is already….

It is ironical that on the NAEP, often called the nation’s report card… recently in the news for its collapse and the negative direction its results .. did have bright spots that continued the historical gains the NAEP had always shown up until now…  .but they came from states not doing Common Core… Those states jumping into Common Core most aggressively (Delaware is one) had the greatest losses over 2013….

So evidence is mounting… Common Core is bad.  Smarter Balanced Assessments take us in the wrong direction, and the only reason we went down this path, was because someone connected with it was going to get rich one day….

(or get mentioned on Chuck Todd broadcast as a person-to-be-watched.)

 

 

 

 

 

We know what works.  Corporate Reform tried to sell us on it until they realized they would make less money at it, and begin cutting back….

  • Establish an 11:1 student-teacher ratio in ALL schools k-5 where the poverty level is over 50%….
  • Group those 11 students by their similar abilities… (use test scores)  Take the top 11, then second top 11, the third and go down through the entire grade…
  • Group up to 3 groups in same classroom, each with their own teacher.  That could be 33 students in the same social setting.
  • Make each teacher accountable for teaching basics to those 11 children… Some of the 11 will need more attention than the others.  But each child is ranked against his own potential, and not against fellow students.  Accept that some will learn more than others (obvious),  but our goal is to give EACH child their opportunity to excel to the best of their abilities.
  • Make Charter School Funding  a line item in state budgets…  The sales line should go like this…. “We want to try this experiment on students involving our unique twist and want $10 million of state dollars to implement”.  This would force the questions that usually occur when one says “invest money in me” that prevent a lot of wasted investment. Currently granting charters only hurts those students in public schools and no one else.  The state eventually winds up being charged for the damage failed charters cost… So put the costs up front by saying “here is your money;  we’pull it in one year if no results.”

Finally we all need to accept that taxes need to be raised on the top one percent.  We are by a long shot the richest nation on earth; it is just that all those riches are now going to 1500 families who already own 50% of America’s wealth… Simply putting higher marginal rates on all income coming in at esoteric rates, would go a long way to bettering America as a whole,

It should go like this….

  • After reaching $40 million in income the tax rates jump to 50%. (first championed by Ronald Reagan)
  • After reaching $400 million they jump to 60%.
  • After reaching $4 billion they jump to 70%….
  • After reaching $40 billion they jump to 80%….
  • And reaching $400 billion, they hit 90%….

It becomes every corporate executives’ duty not to make $400 billion each year…

(As a reminder this means only that they pay higher rates on income over that amount… Income under that amount they pay rates the same as they do now… Which would mean no change on the first $40 million.  Just that once that threshold got crossed, every new dollar earned they would allow them to keep 50 cents instead of  the 60+ cents they currently amass… No real loss if you are making over $40 million.)

These subtle changes would rectify and electrify education. These subtle changes would fulfill the dream of public education where every child has the same opportunity to learn. These subtle changes would give every American child an equal stake in the country into which they were born….

And they are all subtle changes.  Most of America would never feel their cost; only experience their benefit…..  and it is very easy to implement.  Just get rid of those politicians who favor corporations over real people…. Like Earl Jacques. Like Dave Sokola.  And Pete Schwartzkopf.

“Just wait for the NEAP scores! Just wait for the NAEP scores” we were told.  “We know what we are doing; Just watch them climb; We’re on the right track; don’t upset the applecart” they warned us.,….

We didn’t let it stop us.  We told you the scores would be low because we ourselves were taking the tests and doing the homework assignments as the switch began occurring two years ago….

Math scores for fourth-graders and eighth-graders across the United States finally dropped this year, the first time since the federal government began administering the exams in 1990. Reading scores weren’t much better; eighth-grade scores dropped while fourth-grade performance was stagnant compared with 2013, the last time the test was administered.

FACT:  The greatest Delaware gain ever on the Educational Report Card came about from the policies put in place my the Minner administration.  Since Markell put in his new policies, gains were flat, and are now dropping like rocks to the bottom of the pond.

Stripping those away and going with a corporate curriculum has denied most of Delawares children the better education they were on track to receive…..

….and with todays NAEP’s scores release, the data is now there to prove it….it’s no longer speculation.  It is fact. Common Core is dumbing down children at a faster pace than every before recorded across the history of this test…..

So the irony exist that not only are they calling out your children for being stupid by taking a ridiculous test that not even adults can agree on which answer is right or wrong……  your child actually is not learning because of his involvement in this great experiment:  letting corporations run education and getting rid of teachers…….

This was totally expected.  We would have been very surprised to see any gains…

Here is the NAEP’s ranking of states…. 

NAEP 2015

Light blue is bad.  Delaware is in the company of West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi… Not as in two years ago… sharing the spotlight with PA, NJ, MA, and CT.  (You can notice the aforementioned upper Midwest bias by this map as well)

There is a problem. The states that shed Common Core did well. The states that embraced it did poorly…. That is all you need to know.

Get rid of Common Core and let teachers teach… or we will have our own companies going oversees to get their smarter job applicants…

NAEP Delaware 8th Math

Bottom Feeders NAEP 2015NA#P Delaware Historical

Here is a link to Delaware’s snapshot of the NAEP….. and as you got to it, we will leave you with this quote…..

“I want to be known as the ‘education governor'”………. Jack Markell — State of the State speech

On today, September 17th,  it was refreshing to get a synopsis of where things stand…  As soldiers our concentration is on the battle at hand.  But wars are won with many battles, some are wins, and others not…  But as a soldier you provide opposition to slow the advance in front of you from going forward, and by doing so you allow other battles not to have their reinforcements and their victories help count on your side….

The issue with the Smarter Balanced Assessments and Common Core is not really the difficulty of the subject or test. Standards are relative..   Getting an A+ at Del Tech is not the same as getting one at Harvard… Both have their uses but it is impossible to say both are equal.  Same with the Smarter Balanced Scores versus the old tests… They are lower, because as in giving your kids a Harvard Graded test, they are purposefully made to be difficult so one must expect and understand the lower scores.

The sole problem with Common Core and the Smarter Balanced Assessment is the accountability piece.  Firing teachers because they don’t hit above 75% proficient… when with the old tests they DID hit 75% proficient.   Closing schools because they average below 30% proficient when with the old tests, the did over 55% proficient….

The accountability piece… That is the problem with Common Core.  That is the problem with the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

And here is how the “accountability piece” is failing….

Perhaps no single K-12 policy is more closely associated with the Obama administration than teacher evaluations tied to student test scores, which the president and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have championed, first through Race to the Top, and then through No Child Left Behind Act waivers.

And perhaps no policy has been as difficult to implement, particularly as states make the transition to new tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

The administration initially took a hard line on evaluations, asking states to roll them out over a specific time period and to include state test scores as part of the mix.

But now, via citizen pushback, we have some states wavered not to phase the accountability piece in until 2017-2018. Long after Arne Duncun and his boss have exited government…  Little doubt the new guy will be willing to take on such a political liability by continuing this very unpopular piece in his first years.

On top of that 12 states including Delaware, have until the 2016-2017 year to hold off the accountability piece…Many of them already have evaluation systems in place but need time to link them to tests aligned with the common core or use them for personnel decisions, like hiring and firing…

Complicating matters: Neither of the bills to revise the Elementary and Secondary Education Act making their way through Congress right now would continue to require states to develop teacher-evaluation systems that rely on student test scores.

It is quite unclear how a new president will be able to cajole and enforce the previous president’s insistence that there be a the link between teacher firing and test scores.

Bottom line it this:  the hard line on tying evaluations and accountability is softening.  Though originally draconian, Illinois had to wait a year for its waiver over timeline issues, Washington State had its waiver pulled because of a rebellion against tying scores to personnel issues; since then, the Duncun caliphate has backed down thorough the issuance of extensions and waivers to result in a patchwork of splotchy timelines that now individual states must follow…  Delaware will have to fire teachers before PA, MD, or NJ for example… Which if they wait long enough, may NEVER have to fire teachers based on test scores…..

States going forward, such as Massachusetts well known for the quality of its education long before Common Core, have given their districts much more time to acquire a method of using two forms of evaluations for holding students accountable, not just the tests.  This has taken extra time. What’s more, the state gave districts even more extra time to pinpoint measures for another component of the evaluations—educator impact,

Corporate proponents still supporting the linking of test scores to genocide of teachers are hoping this connection continues through inertia even though its been dropped from the ESEA legislation in Congress…

They have their work cut out for them if they wish it to be so….

Standardized test scores are arbitrary…   If I make a test and you make a test and we both test the same children (or adults), my test which was hard will be scored lower and your test which was easier will be higher…  So comparing my test to your test and saying mine is better or yours is worse,…  is pointless… kids (or adults) do their best on both tests.

The only thing that really matters in standardized testing is whether your child gained or failed against the rankings of all other children… not the score. Here is why..

If your child is in a good school with a good teacher in a well funded district, and his ranking to the national average drops, then there is something there that needs looked into.

If your child is in a good school with a good teacher in a poorly funded district, and his rankings to the national average drop from year to year, there is something there that needs looked into…

The flip holds true…

If your child has everything going for him and excels compared to the national average, then things are good.

If your child has nothing going for him and excels compared to the national average, then things are good…

And this is all we can really glean from test scores… so rolling out the DCAS the first year back in 2010 gave us all big pats-on-our-backs because we jumped much higher than our expectations that year.. We then expected the same growth to happen each successive year, but …(with what we know now it is no surprise), scores flattened out…

That original jump in the DCAS did not show our children were learning… All it showed was at what level that new test would score our children who due to genetics and their environment, would learn as much as they could and no more.

The same thing holds true with the Smarter Balanced… It is lower, just because we decided to make a test that had lower scores.  But the overall trends still hold true, in fact mirror the DCAS,… just lower.  Whatever level at which children were learning, stayed the same…. We just said we’ll call it a 50 instead of a 70 on the Smarter Balanced to where we were with the DCAS….

So no one can make pronouncements… No one can say education is failing.  No one can say our teachers failed us. No one can say our education is in disarray.  

For the one consistent test across all time, shows our education had improved constantly since it started in 1984, …. up until it hit Common Core.

And the same goes to the SAT and ACT which were flat (slight decrease) this year…  “‘Oh, look at the test scores, our kids are not getting what they need from Common Core”…   (Lol, wish I could use that one, but I know better.)

The reason the SAT’s and ACT’s are flat is because more people who used to be considered too dumb to take the SAT, are now taking it through state enforcement…..

Here is why anyone who uses the ACT or SAT to justify education reform should be laughed out of the room… Ridiculed mightily…. 

Short version… you have ten people… your top 5 take the SAT….  Top scorers in Math, so let us say the scores are 800, 750, 700, 650, 600,   The average is 700… Extrapolated we’d say… our state is pegged at 700 on the SAT… woot, woot…

But we extend testing to all students….. can you guess what happens to the average?

800, 750, 700, 650, 600,  550, 500, 450, 400, 350….. Average  =  575   Extrapolated… we say…. “Look what Common Core has done!  It has dropped us from 700 down to 575!  It’s an outrage. It’s malicious. It’s, it’s, it’s…. communist!”

No. It is called math, and we teach in in school.  You probably had some courses when you were young…

That is why it is ridiculous to say education is faulty; we need drastic changes… look at the scores!

Now everyone who is over 30, had one person in their grade school or high school who you just knew early on, would never make it to college…

So why are we testing them 6 times before they drop out to see if they are going to college?   Fail, fail, fail, fail, fail, fail…. What is the sense in doing so?  Then firing the teacher? Prioritizing the school? Closing down a district because no one was able to get that child to rise  mightily beyond the limits of his capacity…

Really. Does teaching geometry to someone who can’t do division make them smarter?  According to Jack Markell in response to a parent’s question at last years press conference… “yes”.. But one must ask how?  And when one does,… the reformers’ whole house of cards tumbles down upon itself…

It is easy for a politician to say.. “Our schools are failing our children… 20% proficient?  Ridiculous”…  And some have started already… But when you isolate those children into one district and have 80% who come into your school system with less than a 1500 word vocabulary, and no knowledge of colors, numbers, or names of shapes, then actual teaching becomes a whole different ballgame from the one corporate reformers have tried to script….

For if… you have 80% of your students entering like that… you start out at 20% proficient and will end 20% proficient because the tests like knowledge increase with difficulty year after year…   You don’t give a high school senior a first grade test…

And this was the beauty of the DCAS… Students who knew nothing were taught something… the next year they were taught something more… And if you were a truly good teacher, you taught them something over the course of your class and they learned it.. and the test showed that.

This is also the horror of the SBA… it tests two grades up… So every Wilmington child entering the school system with a 1500 word vocabulary, will by 3rd grade be tested at the 5th grade level..

Can you see the problem?

The Smarter Balanced aggravates all learning gaps by pushing the standard two grades higher than the childpreviously had to meet.   Those rich white children who enter with over a 10,000 word vocabulary do ok on these tests, but that 80% of one district, and 70% of another who enter with only a 1500 word vocabulary upon coming in,  not only have to grow the normal 3000 words expected every year, but have a deficit of 8500 they also have to make up that their counterparts do not….

Making that up is impossible.  and the gaps will continue to widen until someone like Trump says,,, “black people are weighing down our children’s education” and once again… separate but (un)equal becomes public policy… ,

And it will be the fault of those who were too deaf to listen to wisdom…

Bushweller, Henry, Lavelle, McDowell, Simpson, Sokola…

Like Trump is to immigrants… these are to black people… (and all other minorities other than Asian)..

What we need is to return to the DCAS or a similar test which proved most of our teachers were competent, which held our fake marker of proficiency in the 70’s, which improved our showing on the NAEP (the nation’s report card) across all 4 years this test was in use…

We need to defund the Smarter Balanced… then convene a working group of Delaware teachers to modify the Common Core standards, and develop a test ourselves to match those new teachable standards…  these then get approved by community leaders, with as much feedback as was allowed the Wind deal of 2007-2008, and then get the state board to vote on them.

Right now with these new scores, all we have is mush,  And with mush,… any sort of shapes can be seen in the swirls……

They were 39 days late… but we got them… The preliminary Smarter Balanced Assessments….

The big takeaway was:  is that all there is to it?

We’ve been arguing over this for 4 years.  (I’ve been doing it for 3). We’ve spent $119 million dollars of Race To The Top Money to bring this to fruition. And we’ve been promised so much good would come from this test that we had no choice BUT to go forward with it…

But looking at the scores, it is the same as it ever was….  Nothing changed.  Kids didn’t learn more. Kids may have learned less. If one takes the word of students and teachers, each student spent 8 hours taking this test spread over an average of 3.25 days…

At 70,000 Delawarean students taking the test, a total of 560,000 learning hours were spent on this actual test… One has to ask if that is worth the cost…

Over half a million hours were spent on this test…  just so we can fire teachers.  Is that the best use of our students time?  Or should every parent be concerned with this, and insist that we return to the DCAS, one which took far less time and unlike this test, gave teachers feedback they could give students immediately afterwards.

Because we all know.

If experts say 8 years olds should be able to jump over a 3 foot high bar and you raise it to 5 feet, you are going to have fewer successful jumps… So anyone who says “see, how terrible education is today?: by looking at these scores, needs to be laughed out, ridiculed, and then ignored….  Because they don’t mean anything… Nothing at all.

The real question that needs to be asked is this…  By raising the bar to 5 feet, did more people jump over the 3 foot bar then before…  That data would tell us if this program was a success or failure…

But we don’t have that data… All we know is that fewer people “passed” because we made “passing” beyond the capabilities of all but our most developed and well trained….

So.. parents… is this truly worth $119 million dollars?  So teachers…. is this truly worth $119 million dollars… So administrators… is this truly worth $119 million dollars?

Money that was taken from reading coaches that the Minner administration placed in every school.  Money that was taken from math coaches that the Minner administration placed in every school.  Money that was taken from having a policeman in every school…  Money that was taken from supplying classrooms.  Money that was taken from extra curricular activities.  Money that was taken from the libraries.  Money that was taken away from field trips. Money that was taken away…  .. from you… After all, it is your money now being spent on this…

Did you get all the worth over what you paid?   Are your kids Smarter?  Do they seem more balanced?

If yes, we can’t knock the program … It appears to have worked… But if no, then as many of us have pointed out, this is a boondoggle of epic proportions….

So, when you looked over the preliminaries… did you too say…. “Is that all there is?

Someone is getting rich… somewhere…

There is a problem in Christina.  It is a lack of money… Last spring, twice, voters said they do not want to fund money to a district only to have it spun off to charter schools.. After all millionaires already have money.  Why should struggling property owners in Christina have to shell out even more to enrich their pockets?

It is quite clear everywhere in the USA where Charters are allowed to be .. THEY HURT SCHOOLS. And Delaware has a district that is taking over 900 students out of Christina .. We used to have to look elsewhere for evidence that Charterization destroys children’s futures. Now we can look to ourselves. It is here…. It takes $21 million away from Christina……

Ideally we could be like Red Clay and pass a new referendum.. But voters in Christina do not have money to burn like they do in Pike Creek (lol) so they want their hard earned money going to their own kids, not kids of some wealthy parents….. Wealthy parents who can easily afford a $25,000 year private school but would rather the welfare state educate their children in a semi-private school on the taxpayers dole…

In Christina,  one third of every dollar paid in taxes winds up in some rich man’s pocket… Which simply is not right by any person’s account, (unless they are the recipient of that 33.3%)….

And it is not the worst students leaving the district.. It is the best ones… Which means, that of course the scores will be lower… That is how averages work.. It’s basic math and has no bearing on teachers, students, funding, or school districts.

The large problem is our General Assembly.  They are on LSD.  La, la, la, la,  everything is fine.. everything is good… Wow, look at that giant chicken eating cars…. La, la, la, la..  Oh wow.. That cloud looks just like Mark Murphy… oops, my bad, now it’s the devil; look he’s eating children… Cool… La, la, la, la…

Charters caused the problem and eliminating charters will fix the problem..  Fixing the Charter problem is very easy. There are two options.  One, the Christina School board, (as well as every other school board) becomes sole authorizer for every charter in its district…  That way it gets the money and can balance accordingly so that money is spent where it is needed and not wasted on rich people’s children whose parents could drop $25,000 without blinking an eye…

The second option is to divorce Charters from public property tax money.  We are stuck in this system of using property tax to pay for schools for at least a number of years.  The numbers are just not there for the state to take full financial ownerships and keep schools solvent.   But Charters are a perk, like Tatnall or Tower.  We really don’t need them, and their children could get a better education by staying in a fully funded public school… Just compare the top students of public  schools verses all the students at those two famously private schools.

And taxpayers can willingly pay for perks when the basic needs are met… But under the misdirection of Dave Sokola (see Exceptional Delaware) our General Assembly was misinformed, misdirected, and misguided into allowing these privateers to STEAL public money which otherwise was used as the basic bread of the public school system…

In Early American history we used to send ships of solders to hunt down pirate ships to kill their crews.  Today voters in the 27th Representative District (Earl Jacques’) and the 4th Senatorial district (Dave Sokola’s) return these pirates to public office to allow them to continue to rob, steal, and pillage our children’s future….

Therefore, our General Assembly needs to focus on removing Charters from Delaware…  and the best way of doing that is to treat them as line items in the State Budget…

Every charter school should get the same scrutiny as every other publics’ expenditure… Not washed under the blanket of …. “‘oh, it’s someone else’s problem, … look under the umbrella of property tax expenditure per child…”

If every Charter School was looked at… honestly… as in “why do we need to pay $13 million to Newark Charter School ” when there is plenty of room at 16 Newark schools within a 5 mile radius,  only then are we wisely spending everyone’s tax dollars…

For seriously… WHY DO WE NEED A NEWARK CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL ?   Perhaps the answer is in both’s school’s and district’s student make-up…. Christina School District 2014/2015:  31.7 White and  41% below the Federal Poverty Level…. And NEWARK CHARTER SCHOOL?  71% White (and Asian) and 7.2% below poverty….   OH, SO THAT’S WHY…………………

Obviously state supported Charter Schools is state supported RACISM ….. which is illegal by the way… The only reason it can exist in Delaware is because  of both Sokola’s and Jacques’ legislation, and the fact that no one has yet filed suit demanding the eradication of Charters from Delaware’s soil based on the discrimination it causes to low income and minority students…   If you are like me, all regular readers should immediately be reminded of the  “for real” Charter School Student Application question asking if your momma raised watermelons……

Lotteries. Radius maps, increased public school financing are all diversions… Either a) the existing districts become sole authorizer of Charters, or b) Charters get line-itemed into the state budget with all property taxes returning back to the district encompassing that property,  or c) we outlaw and close down all charters and let the financiers absorb their financial risk as is supposed to happen in a capitalistic society.

Because anything otherwise is plain for everyone to see… state supported discrimination… You cannot have charter schools in Delaware without discriminating… Members of the General Assembly.   You need to fix this now…. Seperate but equal is not equal… We’ve been down that road before….

And voters, unless your are indeed a die-hard racist who hates blacks, who hates Mexicans, who hates women, who hates people making less than $41 million every single year…. you need to tell these two… Earl Jacques and Dave Sokola just how much you appreciate them (being ironic) doing their part to put “darky” back in his place…..

Why those two don’t get punched in the face every single minute of their existence is beyond me… Fortunately for all of us, our average Delaware citizen is more tolerant of ugly human behavior than is probably good for them……

In World War II we  cracked the German’s Enigma Code and were able to decipher all their plans.  Very instrumental in helping us win the war. You may have seen this article that does the same with the takeover of education.

http://cashinginonkids.com/brought-to-you-by-wal-mart-how-the-walton-family-foundations-ideological-pursuit-is-damaging-charter-schooling/

It’s long and illuminating and will be read by the handful of true educational warriors.   But it drew a parallel in my memory discussing how how Wal*marts used to approach small towns and leave an economic wasteland behind, in which they became the monopoly and all others shut down.

We have for a long time berated the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for creating and funding Common Core.  If any good can be said about their massive amounts of money, it is that at least with the Gates’ Foundation, the strings attached are not stretched tight; there is leeway for those recipients to move around.  Not so with the second largest donor to American Education: the Wal*mart Foundation.  To receive their money you have to be very clear in your attention to do away with high paying teachers, and breaking up the union…  And based on most conversations… it really is all about breaking up the union…  (Unions are an antithetic to Wal*mart.  If Wal*mart ever unionizes…poof… its competitive edge is over)

One can say this hard line with lesser dollars is more influential than all of Gate’s money… If you need more than one source of income, and one source has loose ideals and the other’s are very tight, you are going to satisfy the one with the tight ideals because that is the only way you can still have both sources of income…   Just like if you were working two jobs, and one doesn’t care when you show up and the other will fire you if you are ever one minute late, you always give the one who will fire you first priority…Always.  They dictate your life, not the other one, and certainly not yourself.

It might be wise to review the Wal*mart model now, as in how their businesses operate.

Of the 10 richest Americans according to Forbes magazine, four are members of the Walton family. The Walton Family Foundation was established in 1988 and is based in Bentonville, Ark., the home of Wal-Mart.  It it he Walton Foundation that parcels out cash to those who promote its ends, which are indeed the same as the company’s.  How could they not be?

The foundation’s stated mission is to infuse public education with competitive pressure through school choice. The theory is based in retail: If consumers have options, they will choose either higher quality or cheaper products. Merchants who can’t compete will go out of business, opening up space for new entrepreneurs to enter. Through this constant churn of options, the theory holds, quality will improve across the board. In public education, that means flooding the market with schools, aggressively closing those that are labeled as “failing,” and opening up pathways to allow new school operators to take their place...

Although the foundation implies that this market-based model will lead to the improvement of all schools in a system, a different endgame is clear through its philanthropic portfolio: The foundation endorses the eventual elimination of public education altogether, in favor of an across-the-board system of privately operated schools.

Which is also how they run their business.

Wal*mart pulls up into a small town with the promise of jobs.  The businesses in the town fight back but eventually the governing body approves the Walmart going in and it is always by a split vote and always with the majority of one…. And those few who swung and voted for Wal*mart mysteriously all begin renovating their houses with sources of mysterious income.

Once approved the building goes up… In one month, Wal*mart cuts 25% of its initial hires.  Buy 4 months another 25% is gone… Then it tweaks the employees downward in single digits over the course of the first year… So after its initial promise of 300 new jobs to gullible small town council members, in the end it hires a steady 75 jobs… Meanwhile the entire center of the town folds up… Gone are all the retail outlets that have been there since the town was founded. The brick buildings either get boarded up, or sell cheap to some basket weaver and the town begins to die.. The competition is outside its tax base… Within the tax base, all the old income is gone.

Then once competition is eliminated, the prices go back up and there is really no change in savings from those that were there before..

Here is what one of the sub-foundations funded by Walmart says in his sales pitch to wealthy investors…

“Charters are competitors. They steal customers, deplete revenues and increase costs. When charters siphon off kids, they not only take the money that comes with them, they often cause nearby schools to operate under capacity. This increases inefficiencies and per-student costs because all that empty space still must be maintained.

As charters continue to expand, they will force districts to make more and more tough choices on personnel, closing schools and redrawing attendance boundaries, both political poisons. We are seeing this play out in spectacular fashion in some older urban areas.”  Mike Thomas, FEE (founded by Jeb Bush) $4.8 million from Walton Foundation.

And that is exactly what happens when you allow charters to come into your neighborhood… The end game has nothing to do with whether kids learn.  It is over who will get the money we spend to teach our kids…

Now if charters had a good track record, one might look at them favorably, after all it might benefit kids… But the reality of looking at Charters is like looking at Walmart…  The quality of their merchandise is the lowest quality one is allowed to sell. They underpay their workers which swells up the assistance levels required by the local community.  Instead of good wages, they pay poor wages.  The SNAP and Medicaid programs stay filled at capicity even though the employment rosters show the county’s unemployment has dropped a few notches.  If you want service… forget about it… It takes one hour to shop, and two hours to wait in the only checkout line they will open.

One of their most telling lines comes from their former director who published his views on education…..

“… The only course that is sustainable, for both chartering and urban education, embraces a third, more expansive view of the movement’s future: replace the district-based system in America’s large cities with fluid, self-improving systems of charter schools.”

Smarick (the above quote’s author) offers a “road map” for destroying public school districts. It includes a saturation investment strategy to build market share in a few targeted districts. Once the charter sector reaches a tipping point in student market share, he predicts, traditional districts will no longer be financially or politically sustainable:

“As chartering increases its market share in a city, the district will come under growing financial pressure. The district, despite educating fewer and fewer students, will still require a large administrative staff to process payroll and benefits, administer federal programs, and oversee special education. With a lopsided adult to- student ratio, the district’s per-pupil costs will skyrocket.”

“At some point along the district’s path from monopoly provider to financially unsustainable marginal player, the city’s investors and stakeholders—taxpayers, foundations, business leaders, elected officials, and editorial boards—are likely to demand fundamental change. That is, eventually the financial crisis will become a political crisis. …”

The foundation’s education program pursues this endgame through three major program areas: support for vouchers, both publicly and privately funded; support for charter school start-ups to encourage and enable the rapid growth of the sector; and public policy advocacy, to ensure that the road is clear for expansion with minimal regulatory interference….

The Walton Family Foundation’s flagship strategy for transforming public education was (and continues to be) to allow taxpayer dollars to pay private school tuitions for selected students…

And that is it’s entire end game… Destroy public education entirely.  Then in it vacuum, insert ones investment through charter schools…

Whenever a public official goes against 90% of public opinion, and votes for charter schools or to not allow the opting out of the test which will create the image that public schools have failed…. you know they are in the payment of someone….

We have already asked that Matt Denn the Attorney General have his office investigate Rep. Earl Jacques’s personal funding secretly through a Grand Jury Investigation.   (He has mysteriously renovated his house) .. We hope our Attorney General recognizes the serious of the crime of having ones vote bought, and initiates an investigation to determine if criminal activity was beset by Earl Jacques’s rather bizarre defense of an indefensible position…..