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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…

With what we currently know about the Smarter Balanced Assessments, it puts the rule of law in danger.  IF we take the Smarter Balanced Assessment, here is what the current law says will happen to our children……

(d) The assessments required in subsections (b) and (c) of this section shall measure:

(1) Student performance as required by any federal mandate; and

(2) For grades 3 through 8, the academic progress of individual students.

Pay particular attention to (2).  Then tell me how the lower score of the Smarter Balanced Assessment fits the tenor of the law above, since it rates children on this test with a completely different one last year… How can you determine the academic progress of students who scored well on the DCAS in 2014 and completely fail the poorly executed Smarter Balanced Assessment this year(2015)?

Obviously… there is zero accountability on progress made by any of these children this year.,…  Which, ironically, breaks the law above….  Some lawyer should have caught this long ago… but I guess the assumption was that test would be so similar passing one would be like passing the other….  Not so.  70% passed the old test… 70% will fail the new test.  We will at the end of this summer, have no clue how well any of these children learned over the 2014-2015 year….. (based on these tests; hopefully the classrooms still functioned regularly).

This shows exactly how Common Core damages education… How much time was wasted preparing precisely for these tests that will be meaningless; time which could have been better spent teaching older curriculums that even parents could understand?

Next:

(1) A 3rd, 5th or 8th grade student whose performance on the reading portion of the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title is Below the Standard, Level II on the statewide assessment, shall not advance to the next grade….

An estimated  number of up to 70% of Delaware’s students will show up in the fall and be told they have to repeat the last grade they thought they just finished…. 70%….

How can that be?  How can we promote only 30% of our students, hold back 70% and still take in a new crop of student at the bottom… Where do we put all of them?

Since this is impossible.  we are going to break the law… We really have no choice… The law says they shall not advance, but we have no choice but otherwise, and the law is thereby broken…

(3) An 8th grade student whose performance on the math portion of the assessments administered pursuant to § 151(b) and (c) of this title is Below the Standard, Level II on the statewide assessment, shall not advance to the next grade

Same argument holds here as well.  The law will be broken.

Now… here is the joke:

(5) With respect to a student whose performance continues to be deficient after completion of the retention year, the Department may not require that the student’s district retain the student at grade level for another year, but shall require that the district develop an individual improvement plan.

So we are going to hold them back one year for failing the test, but then promote them anyway the second year if they still have not passed the test…. Meaning that classes will still have people who can’t grasp the subject now but who are just one year older than they would be otherwise.  So…. what’s the point of taking the test?

So what happens to all these failing kids?  Glad you asked.

For every failure there is the option to enroll in a private individual improvement plan, paid for by the parents of the student…. It is all about money….  $$$…

How much is it worth to you to have your child keep up with his class and not be held back?  $100?  $200?  $500? $1000? If you are indigent, you can even get a government secured loans to cover all education expenses.  The quasi- governmental institution pays the vendor, and over time you pay back the institution…  All loans secured by your tax refund if you ever renege.

Free public school is free no more…

That is why your child is taking  this horrible test and as all smart people have been saying, will fail  and you the parent, will still pay lots for them to graduate on time.

Thereby, for the quick fix, we need this following bill put on the table….

This act removes Subchapter Three of Chapter One of Title 14, in it’s entirety.   (The numbers for all subsequent ones shall be move up by one)

We can add a new bill later… But this piece is so huge, so corrupt, so full of holes, it is better to remove it completely and continue forward with something brand new next year…..