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I stated in a comment that if one took Newark Charter and Wilmington Charter and put them back under Christina’s watch and care, they would have the highest scores in the state….

I now want to test that hypothesis to see how correct that statement was…

Here is the data we used.

Newark Charter has 2140 students.
Charter School of Wilmington has 972 students.

The entire Christina District lists 15,553.

Average Proficiency Scores for Newark Charter in ELA were 95%.. (That means 95% were tested as proficient.)

(Rats! No data) For now will have to fake Wilmington Charters’. Tack in with 99%, they’re smarter than Newark.

Christina District averaged at 39%.

So to figure the cumulative weighted theoretical for all combined, our equation would look something like this…..
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15553 (39) + 2140 (95) + 972 (99)   =   X/ (15553+2140+972) or X/18635 = Average Score

606567  +  203330  +  96228  =  906125/18635  =   48.62

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48.62 would be Christina School Districts cumulative ELA score if there were no charters to siphon of top students and the district was then tested as a whole….  How does that compare?

It would be statistically tied with 7 other schools for spot 9 ….. (courtesy of Exceptional Delaware)

Those others which would be tied with Christina would be Capital, Colonial, Seaford, Woodbridge, Milford, and Red Clay (hmmm. which would drop lower by losing Wilm Charter.).

None of which give away the bulk of their top students as does Christina….

When people (some think Dave Sokola is an alien; just ask Sigourney Weaver) scoff and say Christina is failing as a district and that these charters are there only because the public schools can’t teach a bag of beans, it would be very appropriate to remind them that 1) beans are inanimate and have no brains, and 2) it is only because Christina has to give up its top students to charters, that it scores average so low in comparison.  In other words it is doing as well as both of the other inner city districts (Red Clay and Colonial) as well as the poorer districts down south.  It is definitely not failing as a district.

This is like blaming someone for running a slow race after you cut off their leg… Sew the leg back on, and there is NO problem…

This again, is one more piece of daily mounting evidence as to why Delaware needs to remove Charter Schools from the entire state’s education system  The whole “education is failing scenario” has been a gross misrepresentation.  All they did as to just move smart people around to raise some schools scores, and lower others, that’s all.

“Let’s take those smart one and put them here… and lets leave the impoverished ones right there…”

Then,

“Holy Crayola!!! Look how bad this district is doing!!!… such low scores!!!.  We have to take it over (and put our friends in to run each school at \$160,000 a pop..)!!!”

Dave Sokola, who is trying to hang on to his seat in the 8th Senatorial District against Meredith Chapman, has long been a defender of Newark Charter School. Back when it was ruled that Wilmington School District would be dissolved and its students bused to the more affluent suburbs, many wealthy sought to keep their children separate.  Most put them in parochial and private schools costing up to \$20,000 a year…

But some wanted to escape black culture and could not afford \$20,000 a year. Charter Schools were born to fill that gap. A charter is a school that is not bound by the Federal and State regulatory bodies.  They cherry picked their students, and if they do it correctly, they get themselves an all-white school.  Newark Charter in its early years had only one minority student.

Dave Sokola frequently uses this line.  “People need a choice if they are not happy with the quality of their schools”.  Many people interpret that as being not happy academically. But that line takes a whole new sinister tone, when you interpret it racially.

In searching Newark Charter School’s purchases one sees some interesting things. First, in fairness I should say Newark Charter along with Wilmington Charter have the best rankings in the state.  They also have the lowest levels of low incomes, Blacks, Hispanics, Special Ed, Non English Speaking. Something public schools cannot control.

There is a reason for their good scores and the Online Checkbook shows it…. Here are a few of their perks….

BERMUDA INSTITUTE OF OCEAN SCIENCE…………… \$44,400

BOATHOUSE SPORTS………………………………………..\$3380

CAMDEN AQUARIUM………………………………………..\$3108.15

COLONIAL PA PLANTATION………………………………..\$1200

CREATIVE COMPETITIONS………………………………….\$162

CUTTING EDGE ENTERTAINMENT………………………..\$600

DEERFIELD COUNTRY CLUB MGMT………………………\$7000

DELAWARE 87’ERS…………………………………………..\$5387

DELAWARE NATURE SOCIETY……………………………..\$4772

DNREC P AND R SUPPORT…………………………………..\$1652

GETTYSBURG FOUNDATION………………………………..\$433

HERSHEY ENTERTAINMENT………………………………..\$5690.50

HISTORIC ODESSA…………………………………………….\$1425

INFLATABLES R FUN INC…………………………………….\$450

LIVING CLASSROOM NATIONAL CAPITOL REG………….\$5700

MARYLAND SCIENCE CENTER………………………………\$5593

MEDIEVAL TIMES………………………………………………\$8131.65

MR JOYNER ENTERTAINMENT………………………………\$7718

ORIGINAL WORKS YOURS INC……………………………….\$2919

STANLEY M AND ROBERT D HART………………………….\$15,194.51

STAR ARMY AND NAVY……………………………………….\$4062

Sullivan Specialties…………………………………………….\$6478

THE ERITREAN EXODUS……………………………………….\$300

THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE…………………………………… \$4381

THE GRAND OPERA HOUSE……………………………………\$1350

=========================================================

Ok, there is a lot of good going on here.  First: exposure to a lot of things is happening simultaneously.  It is no wonder this school scores well. Their students are given  the full breadth of opportunity to pursue and grow.  Secondly a lot of this money is funneled back into the local economy providing jobs and paying bills in each of our neighborhoods.

But like me I am sure the shock will hit most of you rather hard, when you glimpse the scope of how charters spend YOUR money. but this charter according to tests, is getting results for all its money spent; and one can see why that if someone has their child in this school, they will defend charters vociferously……. (And just in case you couldn’t guess so far) this was not written to force any changes to Newark Charter’s liberal use of money…..

I show you this because it explains exactly why Charters are bad for society as a whole and why we need to remove Charters completely from our educational lexicon…

All this money, all of it….. used to come from Christina School District… A district whose enrollment has lost 4000 students since 2005, all of them sucked up by surrounding charter schools. Today this district  stands at 43.8% low income and 39.6% Afro American….  It is just 30% white compared to Newark Charter, which is 65% white and has only 11.1% Afro American and 7.9% low income….  It also only has 2,140 Charter students compared to 15,556 public students for Christina…

What we have here….are two school districts…. that are indeed separate….. but they ARE not equal………………..

This is exactly what Brown vrs Board of Education was set up to avoid. This is exactly what the entire busing arrangement set upon Wilmington and New Castle County, was set up to avoid. The disclosure of this gross inequity, should make every Wilmington Council person livid, breathing fire.  It should make every Delawarean recognize the real impetus behind the Charter movement is indeed, racial. And it should make every Delaware legislator realize that any support for Delaware’s Charter Schools as they are, is support for entrenched racism.

Let me put it as blunt as I can.   We have teachers in Bancroft buying pencils out of pocket so their students have something with which to write ….(the school supplies none; the parents can’t supply any)… while the money that used to come to that school is insteadn now lavishly spent on being “entertained” (by Mr. Joyner @ \$7718)…..

It is not that what is going on in Newark Charter is so wrong,… no it truly is wonderful (for those students)!… The problem is that all the money for those great things going on there, is being paid for by the likes of Bancroft, Bayard, Brader, Brennan, Brookside, Christiana, Glasgow, Newark High et al.

This illustrates precisely the HUGE problem with charters… by design they take from the poor and give to the rich… Now, even if Newark Charter School were all Black, the same problem would still occur, because it’s a charter. The money would still remain concentrated in the Charter and yes, some blacks would get to excel; but it would come as a high cost to all those other ones who could not escape their public schools…. They are doomed to fail through no fault of their own.

Charters do not work for society because they take money from the surrounding schools, making all those schools around them poorer, while collecting all the wealthy students into one pocket and giving those a great experience.

We are right back in 1950’s again… The two experiences are not equal and that is unconstitutional.

And here is the shame of Dave Sokola’s efforts and of his derogatorily remarks towards Wilmington predominantly Afro American schools and their personnel,… He says they are failing and need taken over (by friends of his who will earn excessive salaries), because “those schools” don’t compare anywhere close to the quality of those students at Newark Charter… The achievement gap is wide.

Yet if Bayard just had the \$142,079 listed above for Newark Charter’s excessive recreation, imagine how broader the environment of all those inner city students would be?  One should ask, why don’t they have that money?

If Christina School District, just had the \$20,000,000 it loses to charters every year, just imagine how that extra \$1285 per student, could help?  (One class of 20 = \$25,700)  One should ask, why don’t they have that money?

Obviously. Charters need to go. But to kill charters in Delaware, you must first remove Dave Sokola from the 8th Senatorial District and replace him with Meredith Chapman. The DSEA needs to shift some resources behind removing him and the LEA’s should work hard for that same goal….

Charters are racist… No, they are not run by racists… Not filled by racists…. Not supported by racists… But the idea that a good school which can manipulate who enters, which gets the lion’s share of resources while the neighboring schools surrounding it go hungry, have no resources, are punished, closed, whose teachers are fired for poor alleged results,…. is nothing more…nothing less…. than the perpetuation of systemic racism…

Charters run themselves exactly like a racist “private” schools, yet do so with the taxpayers’ money.  Not fair.  If you are Afro American and pay taxes, your own money is supporting the keeping of your race down as long as charter schools remain anywhere near your house.

WE NEED TO REMOVE CHARTERS COMPLETELY FROM DELAWARE SOIL.. (or come up with different funding, such as line items for each school in the state budget).. They are separate. They are not equal….

The shelving of Kathleen Davies report and her being given her unwanted extensive paid vacation at the expense of Delaware taxpayers, raises questions.

What is so important that such action would be taken?

Looking over the reports we DO have, there is one missing… Newark Charter School. Therefore there is a 95% chance, (roughly one in twenty) that the audit showed something here that would rock the Charter world and cause anti-charter legislation to be initiated, (and in the outrage, passed)….

Citizen sleuths… Join us in turning your eyes to Newark’s Charter Schools expenses and let us see what insidious errors may show up  being fronted by taxpayers…
They may have hidden it from bureaucrats, but I doubt they can hid it from all of us… The time is now for us to go over their list with great scrutiny and a fine tooth comb and put some accountable feet to the fire of what should be called, “Delaware’s ALL WHITE school”…

Remember this.

As you view the results posted saying how Common Core has improved our teaching over the past year between the first taking and second taking of the tests…. these tests are graded on a curve…

One cannot compare one year’s test to another because the curve is set each new year to show a different result..

In plain language, this means the level of proficiency is NOT set by the number of right answers…. but is set by how your right number of answers compare to everyone else…

I have seen nothing regarding the cut scores setting remaining consistent between 2015 and 2016. Being changed by the committee overseeing them,  results in better scores (although we can see they were not set much better)…

This was predicted when we first debated Common Core and the Smarter Balanced. It has now come to pass.

Secondly.

If this overall program were working, we should have seen far greater positive results than what we did. There are political reasons as well as financial reasons for this slow improvement… (If you show too much improvement too fast, no one will invest to gain greater improvement..)

Showing one or two percentages of people doing better is not glowing results. Not after two full years of teaching to the test…

The real result is how these same children will do on the next NAEP, the nation’s report card. Overall in both Delaware and the nation, ever since Common Core was affected, those scores (which since the 80’s had always climbed), have gone down…

If you brag about increased Smarter Scores, yet your real report card score goes down, you are no better than those teachers denigrated as passing people into the next grade who failed to meet the expectation…

In conclusion, all of this is completely meaningless. The scores show us nothing for they are arbitrarily made up. The tests show us nothing because they too are made up. The grading shows us nothing because it is made up… Only the NAEP shows us anything now, because it is a test not curved which has been consistent for years… If it shows improvement then this program is indeed working; if it doesn’t, then we need to pull the plug and return to what once worked so well.

What we DO have (since these tests do not show us anything) is a big waste of money… Make that a huge waste of money…. Money that could have been spent on???

Something like an 11:1 student teacher ratio in all schools over 50% poverty levels….

So do not be persuaded by appeals that improvement is at hand.. For the data included has some rather darkening and troubling implications… The Science and Social Studies DCAS scores have dropped consistently since Common Core was invented and put into practice…

Our Delaware kids ARE becoming dumber and dumber..Our solitary focus on math and ENGLISH has eclipsed time for civics and science. Everyone knows how to understand and speak English, even if they don’t know what an indecent participle is. But science and social studies are the determiner of an ignorant society or a knowledgeable one.. Delaware is becoming more and more ignorant the more we embrace Common Core… readily seen because those two scores are not arbitrarily set on a curve; they are based on the number of right and wrong answers. More Delawareans are getting the answers wrong consistently every year since Common Core was enacted.

Our English(reading) scores have gone down over his administrations (due to test change).
Our Math scores have gone down over his administration (due to test change).
Our Social Studies scores have gone down over his administration.
Our Science scores have gone down over his administration….
Our NAEP scores have gone down over his administration….

How can that be called a success?

Granted.  Most of us are not legal eagles.  In fact we are kind of scared of the law… We live our entire lives free of legal notice and suddenly one day, out of nowhere, BAM, we get one…

Our fear: “Oh my goodness, I’m going to be bankrupt”.. We then quickly undo what we did and hope that maybe they will forget and follow up with anything else.”

And that is what they hope we will do….

But.  That is not the law.  For there are entities who both file and receive copyright violations all the time… Sony, Disney, Samsung, Apple, Google for example.  Where would today’s society be without any of those?

The protections the law put in place for them… are also there for you… it is just that you don’t have 150 lawyers working for you and they do…

If you are reading this, it is probably because Pearson used Twitter or Blogspot to force you to remove some of their test questions (or links to them) which you (in shock over what they revealed) bravely determined needed to be exposed and announced, so that normal and proper societal actions could be taken to rectify the damage these items were doing to the brains of children….

So let us first explain how DMCA works and then you will see how it works backwards as well to your advantage….

Imagine you took a picture of yourself and your old college friends acting silly and perhaps a little lewd in some bar….   Now imagine you are later googling images related to your name and see on some commercial site, that same picture was used to represent something totally unrelated to you…  Your first fear is that Snoopy in Human Relations will flag it to your superior.  So you want it quietly gone…. and you can, under the DMCA. You file a DMCA with the ISP …  In it you provide your personal details,  the details of the Internet location of the offending product, and the reason why the image should be taken down (unauthorized use), and then demand it be removed.  Now…. most likely you didn’t copyright or register that photo as being yours. Doing so takes considerable time and money and who does that to facebook photos? So the end, you may lose.  But, because ISP’s get millions of requests per day, they take them down immediately with no concern over right and wrong. It automatically comes down. (Not sure, but at the speed at which they do, it must be done without human involvement or oversight)…

Immediately it is blocked from being seen.  If the party posting it ever notices it is missing, they can file a DMCA Counter Notice. At this point, they don’t even know “who” you represent as the person requiring them to take it down… All they know you as, is that “cease and desist”person. Furthermore, if they contest it, they must blindly provide all their personal information to you in good faith, and they never get to know who filed the complaint, unless they ultimately pursue expensive legal action…

This makes it easy to manipulate. If you have an “enemy” at your job site (who maybe once asked you out and you refused, and then became your troll),  and you post something that is flattering to you, he or she can file a DMCA for no reason, making it immediately go away for a minimum of 10 days and force you to counter and go through the human chain to get it restored. This flawed system is unequally balanced and currently is tilted to allow anyone to use a bullying tactic of forcing immediate take-downs of anything one doesn’t want the public to see… rightly or wrongly.

At the time of the law’s inception, this was originally deemed a good thing.  At that time this immediate course of action was seen as the better alternative over allowing copyright infringement to continue indefinitely until a case was resolved in court…. So for now, the burden of proof fully rests on the defendant of a takedown request to prove he is allowed to show the item.

Ok. You got a notice. So what do you do?  Well if you are Samsung, and it’s Apple who files a takedown of all mention of your newly rolled-out product, … you file a counter notice…

That same privilege extends to you against Pearson.

Copyright owners sometimes send bogus takedown notices that have no basis in law or fact, which are meant solely to intimidate the target. A prompt counter-notice can make these empty threats go away for good.

Here is how you do it:

First, make a backup copy of all the material that you will have to delete. You may need this when you want to restore your web page. Then remove the material in question from your web page. You may substitute a brief note informing potential page viewers that a DMCA attack has been filed against your web page and the material has been temporarily deleted for 10 business days while you contest the DMCA charge via a “Counter Notification Letter”.

Secondly, you should file a counter takedown letter. Provided in the initial takedown will be information on how to contact the ISP, (in our case either Twitter or Blogspot.)

Here is the standard form-letter used by corporate America in their dealings with each other. Customize it to fit your situation…..

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Dear Internet Service Provider:

This letter is written in response to your notification to me of a complaint received about my web page(s). The pages in question are:

(insert list of URLs here)

My response to this complaint is as follows: (include all that apply from list below)

The claims of copyright violation should be rejected because:.

*The material in question is not copyrighted, or the copyright has expired. It is therefore in the public domain and may be reproduced by anyone.

*The complainant has provided no copyright registration information or other tangible evidence that the material in question is in fact copyrighted, and I have a good faith belief that it is not. The allegation of copyright violation is therefore in dispute, and at present unsupported.

*The complainant does not hold the copyright to the material in question, is not the designated representative of the copyright holder, and therefore lacks standing to assert that my use of the material is a violation of any of the owner’s rights.

*Provide a complaint in written form. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)]

*Include a physical or electronic signature of the complainant. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(i)]

*Identify the specific copyrighted work claimed to be infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works are covered by a single complaint, provide a representative list of such works. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(ii)]

*Provide the URLs for the specific files on my web site that are alleged to be infringing. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(iii)]

*Provide sufficient information to identify the complainant, including full name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(iv)]

*Include a written statement that the complainant has a good faith belief that use of the disputed material is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(v)]

*Include a written statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complainant is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(vi)]
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This communication to you is a DMCA counter notification letter as defined in 17 USC 512(g)(3):

I declare, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that the complaint of copyright violation is based on mistaken information, misidentification of the material in question, or deliberate misreading of the law.

My name, address, and telephone number are as follows:

I hereby consent to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which I reside (or, if my address is outside the United States, any judicial district in which you, the ISP, may be found).

I agree to accept service of process from the complainant.

My actual or electronic signature follows:

(electronic or actual signature here)

Having received this counter notification, you are now obligated under 17 USC 512(g)(2)(B) to advise the complainant of this notice, and to restore the material in dispute (or not take the material down in the first place), unless the complainant files suit against me within 10 days.

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As soon as the service provider receives your letter…. it notifies the complainant and awaits their response.

The downside is that as part of the “Counter Notification Letter” you  DO have to state that you will accept a lawsuit from the “Cease and Desist” people.

(Before you send a counter-notice, you should consider carefully whether you are in fact infringing the complaining party’s copyright. There are two reasons for you to consider this carefully. First, the counter-notice requires you to state, under penalty of perjury, that you have a good faith belief that your material was wrongly removed. You do not want to make this claim lightly because it might come back to haunt you. Second, if the complaining party has a good infringement claim, sending a counter-notice may trigger a lawsuit. If you are not prepared to stand up for your use of the copyright owner’s work in a lawsuit, you should think twice about firing back a counter-notice.)

Initially this sounds frightening but it actually works in your favor. For if you were actually infringing on the original “Cease and Desist” people, they could and would have legitimately already filed a lawsuit against you without using the DMCA – thus this requirement on the “Counter Notification Letter” does not open you up to anything that you weren’t already liable for. To pursue, the original “Cease and Desist” people must file a lawsuit IN YOUR DISTRICT COURT if they want to continue. Frequently this would involve travel and legal expenses on their part. If they do not file a lawsuit (most likely outcome), your web host will restore your web page on the tenth day and you are back in business again.

If they do sue, and what you are exposing IS important for society to know… there are some other tricks you can use to keep the material up, tricks which can be loosely defined as making multiple copies and spreading them all over the Internet.  Unless there is a specific instruction stopping you, there is nothing to prevent you from creating another web page that has essentially the same information. If the original page had illustrations, alter them slightly (use any photo editor, add arrows, captions, etc.) so they are “different”. Give the illustrations, and the page a new name (URL identifications), etc. Then put the new page up. If there were links to your old page, include both the link to the old page and your new page in these prior links. If nothing else, this will get your new page into Google’s indexes.

You could even open a new website using the “Free” website offers that are available from many web hosts. Just use the old material on your new free website. Be sure to include a link from somewhere in your old website to “Another example of <whatever> can be found at <your new free website>”. This link will be all that Google needs to get your new website into Google’s index. The object of course, is that you want people to be able to see what you are criticizing. The “Cease and Desist” people will eventually find out about the new website and may repeat the DMCA attack. However they will be spending more effort than you are, and will eventually be forced to give up.

Finally, bring up your problem in an online talk group – e.g. one of the Google Groups. If you are having a problem with the “Cease and Desist” people, the chances are there will be a lot of other people that aren’t happy about them either. Start a “thread” about your problem, and you will probably hear from a lot of people that would like to help. This might well included people outside the U.S. who are not subject to DMCA attacks.

As bloggers (still a new concept legally) you do have some protections. Already it is standard that short quotations will usually be fair use, not copyright infringement. The Copyright Act says that “fair use…for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.”  This seems to cover the expose of test questions if done for the public good, but not if stolen by a competitor, which would be theft. It will eventually rise to some court to ultimately decide on who has the upper hand here, the citizens of this country, or an LLC whose headquarters are in England.

As long as you don’t intend on making money or having people substitute your questions for the ones on the test (laughable in this case), you maintain a great chance of never being sued.  Furthermore and the lawyers of Pearson know this, if in your expose`, you either mocked or parodied the questions, even criticizing them so effectively that no one wanted to by them, THAT STILL DOES NOT  count for having “an effect on the market” under copyright law…..

Furthermore, you are free to report the facts and ideas embodied in another person’s article or web page or test. Copyright only protects “the expression” — the “combination of words and structure” that expresses the factual information — not the facts themselves. By changing a few words around so it is not an exact duplicate, you become even further protected and insulated against court action.

Furthermore,  if  you can establish harm occurred to you in any way by a takedown notice (LLC’s use this all the time) you can use the DMCA’s section 512(f) to sue back.“Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section (1) that material or activity is infringing, or (2) that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification, shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner’s authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it.”

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So, see, the law IS not one sided, that is, as long as you pursue and engage in the process… Usually DMCA takedowns only involve one or two steps….

1. Either the person receiving the takedown does not contest and removes the offending content as requested….
2. Of, a counter notice is filed and after 10 days, the material can be reposted….

It rarely goes beyond…

For if Pearson were to file an injunction after you responded, there is nothing to stop you from opening a new website and reposting the material.  If they went after that, it would cost them double, and if it happened again, it would triple the expense they must undergo.  It is called putting money down a rabbit hole.

Why then are counter notices not more frequently done?

Most infringers (as well as most legitimate users) aren’t invested enough in their uploads to invest the energy to learn how to file a counter-notice or take the legal risk in filing one.

Furthermore most people who are subject to a DMCA takedown are unaware of the opportunity to file a counter-notice and many on-line hosts do a very poor job of explaining the process.

It is to this last point, that I address this post.  For the more you know about take-downs, the less you have to fear….

In this case, since we are dealing with the brains of little children and not with something we popped up on our website without thinking, it would be advantageous for everyone who reads this, to send their server a letter (feel free to copy from the above- it’s fair use) and hit Pearson back with as many counter notices as they sent notices…

The law is actually on your side, not their’s; as experts in the law, they know it.  They are just hoping you don’t…. and never find out……

But, there is one more reason, WHY everyone here who was ordered by Pearson to cease and desist, should file a counter notification…..

To bar repeat offenders, the DMCA law requires ISP providers to keep track of how many takedowns you get. Responding with a counter, puts you back to zero.  Right now, everyone who received a takedown notice has a “strike” against them. If you file a counter, that strike goes away… If you don’t, it stays…. you only get three and then you do get kicked off the internet. In today’s world, that is serious.

So before you forget. respond to your ISP and say the take down was done in error. You had fair use of the material.

Emerging studies presented recently at the American Educational Research Association national conference suggest new ways to emotionally support students during transitions—and how badly things can go wrong when students don’t feel supported.

2,119 students in 10 middle schools were interviewed across the country, with about 60 percent of students in poverty.

Students who frequently distracted themselves, accepted their emotions, asked for help, and reappraised the situation to change their perspective had higher levels of what the researchers called “school and general well-being.” Students who felt they had more internal control were coping in healthier ways.  By contrast, students who mentally rehashed the stressful situation—called “ruminating”—fared worse.

Results of which were a no-brainer to real parents… A revelation to “corporate educational “experts””.

The “test” applied strategies used to alleviate stress among college students, to those in middle school.

The students in the test were given made-up quotes allegedly written by real students the year before which showed they too had apprehensive stress.   “I felt like I had a knot in my stomach the first four months,” read one such quote..

At the year’s end, the results including grades, test scores, and surveys of general well being, were considerably higher in those classes who were led to believe that stress was a temporal factor, that teachers were there to help,  and given the inceptional idea that  “the knot” would disappear. It acted as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Also important, an additional study focusing on those students who DID NOT get any well-being treatment. found that district policies can backfire when leaders don’t take students’ emotions into account.

In the 2016 book When School Policies Backfire: How Well-Intentioned Measures Can Harm Our Most Vulnerable Students, researchers found the school community felt betrayed by the closure—it had been assured the school would not be closed before the school board voted to do so—and students felt blamed for the closure even a year later.

The district had dubbed the closure a “rescue mission” intended to settle students into higher-performing schools and boost their graduation chances. Instead, students’ academic progress declined. While students had grown on average 20 points per year in math and 19 points in reading from 6th through 10th grade on annual district tests at their previous school, in the years after the closure they lost 2.3 years of typical score growth in math and 3.7 years in reading. Their likelihood of dropping out of high school doubled as their graduation rate fell.

It is obvious to all, that the push for testing has destroyed any emotional well being in students and therefore is the anathema to real learning and successful graduations.

Every parent and grown up adult, knows by experience in life, that learning and emotions are intermittently mixed.
Now, if we could only get some grown up adults in charge of the Delaware House and Senate Committees, on the state School Board, into the Delaware Department of Education, and even into Rodel, we as a state might begin the process of returning Delaware’s schools back to the progress they were making before “Corporate Reforms” came in and ruined absolutely everything….

They did, you know, ruin everything…

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If you didn’t first see the legal expert’s video go here and then come back….

It is not a warning, but just a reality check as to what “could” happen you you as a parent if you allow your child to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment…

Moving forward now, here is what that new legislation should address.

Whereas behavioral, class attendance, class performance and traditional forms of data like grades have been collected, now there is greater interest in collecting metadata which is information about how a child is interacting with the program, interacting with the software, data which is highly marketable and a lot of companies are scrambling to obtain that data. They are looking at it to assess school products, to assess teachers’ teaching methods, and to assess a child’s future in order to open and close doors long before a child reaches the hallway those doors are on.

The question hereto unasked, unsolved and unanswered, is how are we going to structure that access to data…  so it is fair to children, to parents, to teachers, to schools….

The worst-case-scenario is abuse of these to harm children.. instances where they are improperly tracked and improperly labeled and improperly sent down wrong pathways they shouldn’t be sent.

All because of bad data practices….

Before going forward, we need to have “good” data practices implemented and have teeth in the law so even bad people will want to do good…

Necessary to this is a blanket protection on ALL data acquired on a child… All data is unavailable to anyone outside those directly involved. The scope of protection…. has to be very broad….

Next step is to establish very clear use restrictions…. as in what can this data be used for?… Make it open and shut… “Can this data be used by Skippy Peanut Butter?”  “Let us check the clear use restrictions.”  “No, it does not allow transference of data to Skippy Peanut Butter”….  Open and shut.

Then we need to add a flexible option, so educated parents can choose to “opt in” on having other sources of information disseminated about their child…  It becomes the parent’s choice whether their child’s data can be used and to whom those additional users may be.

And finally to all of these there should be added some type of repercussions, which are strong enough to make violating any of these tenants, financially risky.

Currently there is none. Nada.  The only restriction is in FERPA  The Federal government can withhold money from a school district if there is a violation of FERPA. In the 41 years of FERPA, that has never happened. If a school district violates your child’s privacy, if the State violates your child’s privacy, if a vendor violates your child’s privacy, as a parent, you have no private right of action.

In this environment, your child’s data once acquired, is available to all. John Carney can even acquire a list of marginal students and call their parents to get their votes.  Everything is wide open.

As a society we often venture into new territory first, learning as we go.  The first cars didn’t have brakes because you just previously told the horse to slow down; the thought did not cross their inventor’s minds until racing down the road. When we went into Iraq, we didn’t have a plan on how to govern once we took over.  Dick Cheney didn’t think of it. We’d just take it and suck out their oil.

Today, we don’t let just anyone drive. They have to demonstrate they know how. Likewise today we don’t let anyone set up and operation room and extract live organs. They have to prove they are capable in knowledge and ability.

Therefore we really shouldn’t allow the Smarter Balanced to go forward until we fix these problems it leaves in its wake. Should we?

Here is the approach which should be taken. WE need a figurehead bill put up that WHEREAS’s all the facts listed above, to preface a bill advocating the immediate eradication of the Smarter Balanced for security reasons, as our one test in Delaware. This won’t pass nor is it intended to.. It’s purpose is to create a lightning rod for all educational wonks on both sides to focus their attention upon. Despite a probable prognosis for failure, the full-press  floor fight for its passage should be passionate, since that is what drives public scrutiny and shapes public opinion.

Then invisibly, under the radar, 4 new bills need to be quietly slipped through, addressing the plugging of each of the 4 holes illuminated above…  Bill 1) We need state blanket protection of all data. Bill 2) We need to determine exactly who, what, where that data will be allowed to go. Bill 3) We need to allow parents the right to “opt in” into allowing further data to be disseminated. And finally Bill 4) we need some type of gigantic bankruptcy-causing-punitive-damage and jail for anyone violating a child’s privacy without the express permission of his parents.

By then (if our crystal ball is correct) the Smarter Balanced will most likely have been replaced with another test (unless it scores a magnificent save this year) and the above protections will be in place long before any new test (if any at all), materializes…

There is now no protection of children’s privacy and therefore by implication, their parents’ privacy…

As a parent if anyone violates your child’s privacy, such as putting your child’s data on a porn site, you the parent have no private rite-of- action….

We cannot emphasize it more clearly… Opt Out Your Child Today…….

Big items in the ESSA:

States will no longer have to do teacher evaluation through student outcomes, as they did under NCLB waivers.  The NCLB law’s “highly qualified teacher” requirement is officially a thing of the past….

States are required to adopt “challenging” academic standards. That could be the Common Core State Standards, but doesn’t have to be.  The U.S. Secretary of Education is expressly prohibited from forcing or even encouraging states to pick a particular set of standards (including the common core)…

States can create their own testing opt-out laws, and states decide what should happen in schools that miss targets….

Up to seven states can apply to try out local tests for a limited time, with the permission of the U.S. Department of Education….

Districts will work with teachers and school staff to come up with an evidence-based turnaround plan.States will monitor the turnaround effort.If schools continue to founder, after no more than four years the state will be required to step in with its own plan. A state could take over the school if it wanted, or fire the principal, or turn the school into a charter.

Only 1 percent of students overall can be given alternative tests. (That’s about 10 percent of students in special education.)

Districts that get more than \$30,000 have to spend at least 20 percent of their funding on at least one activity that helps students become well-rounded, and another 20 percent on at least one activity that helps students be safe and healthy.

The current Title I funding formula remains intact, but there are some changes to the Title II formula (which funds teacher quality) that will be a boon to rural states.

A pilot program will let 50 districts try out a weighted student-funding formula, combining state, local, and federal funds to better serve low-income students and those with special needs.

States have to figure in participation rates on state tests. (Schools with less than 95 percent participation are supposed to have that included, somehow.) But participation rate is a stand-alone factor, not a separate indicator on its own.

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Recommended new State Actions to deal with the new law.

A.  General Assembly: create bill prohibiting linking teacher accountability with test scores in the state of Delaware.

B.   General Assembly: remove Delaware from the Smarter Balanced Assessment and come up with State test designed by real educators.

C.  General Assembly:  pass bill that says all those applying for OPT OUT before March 1st, will not be counted in the participation rate of test takers. They will be a separate class removed from the formula in figuring participation rates. Participation rates will be figured based on those students who did not opt out before the deadline.

D.

Charts courtesy of Education Reform Now

Delaware’s Rankings by Grade Levels in ELA  Among Smarter Balanced States

Grade 3:  2nd (Tied with Connecticut)

And in math:

Grade 5:  5th (tied with I da ho)

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But before one can jump on Delaware’s poorer showing, one must take into account a very glaring factoid totally ignored by those intent of foisting corporate reforms on public schools….

That is:

Delaware has one of the highest proportion of its students (all the highest quality) in private schools; completely outside of public education….

Map and Charts Courtesy of The Atlantic CityLab.com

Over 15% of all our state’s children are taught in our private schools.  That has to suck a lot of cream off the top of  overall test scores…. Kids whose parents have a college or graduate degree are much more likely to go to private school. Their lack of impact in the public school system, should hit Delaware hard when comparing scores across states.

Particularly when Greater Wilmington Metro Area

…. is ranked 6th in the nation for highest private school enrollment and we have one zip code, 19807 =  Greenville.………..

…. fourth highest in the nation at a whopping 78%..….

I’ll do the calculations at another time but with math we can begin to predict based on some assumptions, where if we had fewer of our best in private schools how that would stack our state up against other states.

Bottom line:  if you trim a tree at its first branch, it will not be as tall as those allowed to grow naturally….

A common sense explanation for Delaware’s low scores.  (And none of these private schoolers have to undergo Common Core)  None.