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Student Body ActivityDave 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

PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA…………………………………$624

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

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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….

 

 

 

 

 

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It is pretty simple.  It is how people learn…

The way our thoughts are gathered is like a crystal of sugar in a solution of sugar water.  A molecule touches another in close proximity and they join. Together they touch molecules closest, and they join too. Knowledge like sugar crystallization, forms from a center point outward.  One molecule on one side of the jar does not join with a molecule from the other side of the jar.

Often we can cause sugar to return to solidity in solution by putting an object into the solution which initiates this process. Several molecules adhere to the surface object and the crystallization begins.

We learn the same way.  We take what we know, and add to it.  We don’t learn foreign languages as our first language for example.  We learn objects in one language and that becomes our central core or language template… Then we can catalog another tongue by learning how their words and structure compare to our words and structure…

Across America, today’s learning process has become scattered.  We are required to put so many tiny pieces of a smörgåsbord’s item on a sampling plate, that it becomes very hard for the child to describe what the food would look like in its natural form… All he ever sees is tiny bite sized pieces… Describe a roast beef you ask them… It’s small, about a half inch square, it’s meat, and is chewy, and has juice that squirts out when you chomp down on it…  Is that big thing at the end of the table a Roast Beef?  Oh, no… they respond.

We learn incrementally on what we already know… which makes it hard to teach people who really don’t know anything, something.

When you take children from their environment and put them into someone else’s environment, they are going to take what they know and carry it to that environment, because it makes them comfortable and feels more like home..  They bring drugs, violence, more drugs, and more violence because in that environment, they control the dynamics and it is not as intimidating or scary anymore.

You break that by having children go to school in their own neighborhood. Now because they are “black” we have imposed legal restrictions on allowing them to be treated as children.  Restrictions that did not apply when Poles lived in that neighborhood.. Restrictions that did not apply when Italians lived in that neighborhood… Restrictions that did not apply when Irish lived in that neighborhood…. The only difference between the violence and crime then,… versus now?   Is that the NRA didn’t supply them with handguns back then.. Rifles were hard to get as well.  But you had switch blades.. brass knuckles… billy clubs…. baseball bats… and instead of heroin… you had boot-licker alcohol often made with methyl alcohol instead of ethyl..

But we taught those Poles in their Polish neighborhood… And Italians. And Irish..  Are they incapable of getting good jobs today?  No. They are highly capable today as White Anglo Saxon Protestants of filling in for an employer.  So will our blacks be if we let them go to school in their own neighborhood.

Because of their familiarity with the neighborhood, and close proximity to all they know, learning will process faster (as long as the disruptions are removed), just as were Polish, Italian, and Irish disruptions removed probably in the exact same percentages…

 

How it went wrong… Let us take Glasgow High School.  It once had a bad reputation.  All would agree that Glasgow’s problems were imported from the city.  All of Glasgow’s problems..were imported.. from the city.   The drug conduit was established.  Lots of money available in the suburbs led to a high demand for recreational drugs whose economy depended on individuals shuttling the contraband and payments up and down the 95 corridor.  The net result was violence which like Wilmington today, is 97% cause by fights over economic turf…..

The greater legal issues created inaction by administrators.  They could not be seen to have a mostly white staff discipline and suspend only blacks because flat out, that appeared racist… and so you did not effectively make positive change. You discussed, tried to look tough in case anyone was watching through the door, and then you let them go right back into their old environment with absolutely no real consequence….

Only after one time of showing the entire school you would back down to black thuggery, the entire control over discipline in that school broke down.

This would not happen in an all black school.  It does not happen in an all black school.  If a black principal in an all black school, suspends an person who is all black,,, it is not racist.  It is disciplining a thug so the rest of the children can learn…  Which we all agree is what needs to happen…  99% of our children enter the school system excited to learn…  when you let 1% stop that process, the entire school becomes disillusioned and soon, no one else wants to learn either.

We’ve always had reports of immigrant bashing…  gangs of one white subgroup would maraud against gangs of another white subgroup.  I’m sure it happened in the Roman Times as well.  But when you had Polish schools in Polish districts, you had Polish discipline in Polish districts, and for the most part, you had normal schools even though they were in impoverished neighborhoods just as are black schools now….

Imagine though, if you had Italians going to school with all Irish teachers, or Polish children going to school with Italian teachers… When one of those children misbehaved and were disciplined, would not wars erupt? Absolutely….

So we need to get over the idea that all black schools in black neighborhoods is a bad thing… It isn’t… Disrupting a child’s learning process by flipping the familiarity of their environment upside down, however is a bad thing….  I’m sure every parent of 30 to 24 year olds today remembers the trauma and learning problems that occurred when Christina District sent its suburban white children up the 95 corridor into the black neighborhoods surrounding Bancroft, Bayard, and Pyle, I believe…

Familiarity is necessary for learning.  And what we are most familiar with as young children is our home.  If we can count on that being unchanging, then as students we are free to have much more time to actually focus on what we are in school for… learning….

And when it becomes perfectly clear, that the sole reason blacks are in that all black school run by all black highly trained professionally trained educators….. is to learn… and that no unruly student is going to disrupt that process…. then we will have turned the corner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are like a computer virus. They take over a district, and use it to spread themselves to the next host….

“…It’s a fairly rudimentary exercise to be frank with you…Revenue follows the student to charter schools. Fixed costs do not follow the student proportionately. So therefore, the more revenue loss you get, the fixed cost base stays the same. There’s erosion. So it’s a pretty simple model…” –Independent Auditor discussing the Metro Nashville Public Schools audit…

This is exactly why if we wish to open charter schools, they need to be independent of all revenue which follows the students.  As charter schools grow (and they do not educate the majority, only a very tiny minority of people,) the majority of students get shafted.

At 20% Charter School attendance, for every child a charter school helps, it hurts four public school children… There is no exception to this under today’s funding structure… Every charter school hurts public schools more than those public schools are already hurting right now.

Jack Markell said so himself when campaigning in 2008…. There is no way Penny Schwinn can twist this truism… It is a a fact.  There is no way Rodel can twist this truism,  It is a fact. There is no way Earl Jacques, Charter School Sower Extrodinaire, can twist this truism… Facts are facts…

4 people get hurt for every child that goes to a charter school!

Immediately we need a bill that dislocates charter school funding from public schools, and pays for them as we currently do vocational schools… LINE  ITEMS  IN  STATE  BUDGET!

This Tennessee story is interesting… The Charter Group fully thought the study would vindicate their cause and allow open season for charters to spawn… The audit showed they couldn’t have been more wrong… Since they approved the audit, they now have to live with the egg on their face….

Meaning the figures are not even close… Charter schools are the death of a public school system…  With overwhelming evidence in Nashville, Memphis, Washington DC, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and next door in Philadelphia.,  it is a wonder that anyone in Delaware can ever support more charter schools…

They must love hurting 4 little children for every one they privatize ….. 

Imagine if we had privatized women’s suffrage and let corporations handle it.  it would be botched for sure. Imagine if we had privatized Negro Civil Rights in the 60’s and let corporations handle it.  Yeah, you know where that would lead us.  Imagine if we turned the Clean Water Act or the Clean Air act over to corporations… Yeah, you know how that would turn out…  How is the privatization of Indiana’s turnpike coming?  About as bad as our privatization of public schools.

Some things simply can’t be privatized … Public education is one…  Everyone who supports Charters is like Will Smith; an enemy of the state…. 

When they say it is time for your Smarter Balanced test and they release you from regular class to go to the lab to take it… Just keep going…  Go outside and protest the Smarter Balanced Assessments….

Call your news coverage.  Hold up signs….   But don’t take the test… Enjoy your free day……

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Using a protected news organization legally protects you from retaliation… Testing corporations may try to retaliate against you anyway, but in the end, it will make you very rich beyond your wildest dreams if they do.

Yesterday, Lamont Brown, designated puppet heading up East Side Charter School was put on display for all of Delaware..  The officials pulled no stops in bragging upon his accomplishments…..

Lamont Brown can divide by zero; Lamont Brown doesn’t climb trees. He just pulls them down and walks on top of them;  Lamont Brown can kill two stones with one bird; Lamont Brown ordered a Big Mac at Burger King and got one; Newton’s Third Law is wrong: Although it states that for each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, there is no reaction after a Lamont Brown’s roundhouse kick; Lamont Brown counted to infinity – three times; Lamont Brown can slam a revolving door; Lamont Brown is suing My-Space for taking the name of what he calls everything around you; there is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Lamont Brown has allowed to live; Lamont Brown didn’t actually write books. The words assemble themselves out of fear; Lamont Brown is so fast, he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head; Lamont Brown sleeps with a night light. Not because Lamont Brown is afraid of the dark, but the dark is afraid of Lamont Brown; Lamont Brown once visited the Virgin Islands. They are now “The Islands”; Lamont Brown  doesn’t read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants; If you have five dollars and Lamont Brown has five dollars, Lamont Brown has more money than you; If you Google search “Lamont Brown getting his ass kicked” you will generate zero results. Go ahead, try it; Lamont Brown doesn’t wear a watch. He decides what time it is;  For some, the left testicle is larger than the right one. For Lamont Brown, each testicle is larger than the other one; When Lamont Brown does a push up, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the Earth down; ok…. one more….. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Lamont Brown.

Such were the praises thrown around the guilded hall yesterday…..

But, in that class of his so remarkably hailed…. 33 of the original 62…. were kicked out…  Meaning, that those who would pull down the scores were eradicated and only those who would excel were allowed to continue… You know, its what Dave Sokola calls: the Shanghai experiment…. where you only test your brightest then parade those results.

Well for S & G’s, I wondered how it would work to do the same policy to all  6 priority schools. What would it do to their scores?  It’s not hard; anyone other than a News Journal editor could figure it out in seconds.  What I did was basically factor out the bottom 53% of their student body, made them just disappear, and then apply the number who scored proficient, just to see what the proficiency percentages of these “improved” schools would be….   Only then, would we have an accurate comparison Between East Side Charter and the 6 Priority Schools?

The good folks at Delaware DOE provided the data. 

Bancroft Elementary  Originally at 401 students; with Draconian cuts now reduced to 188. (rounded all fractions downward; you can’t really have 0.7 of a person)  But we are concerned with only grades 3-5 who take the test… That would  be 177 students, and after cuts, (representing the 47% of those left at East Side)….. the number still left in those three grades would total 81.  So when you apply the actual number who scored proficient, (46) to those actually left (81), Bancroft would have scored a proficiency rate of 55.4.

The other five will be calculated according to the same formula.

Bayard Middle School  Originally at 463; now cut down by East Side Charter standards to 217.  117 originally scored proficient and would represent 54% of the remaining 217…. So Bayard would rest at the 54% proficiency level, if it were somehow allowed to follow the East Side Charter annihilation policy.

Stubbs Elementary  Originally grades 3-5 at stood at 156, now down to 73 students.  Those proficient (52) would turn in a 71.2% rate of proficiency, enough to pass the 70% bar set by No Child Left Behind.

Highlands Elementary  Originally grades 3-5 had 192 children but would be now cut down to 90.  Those original 65 proficient would now create a proficiency score of 72%… Again passing the super high bar set by No Child Left Behind.  A bar so high, every state is crying for a waiver because it is allegedly unobtainable!

Shortlidge Elementary  In 2014 grades 3-5 mustered at 163 students would be decimated down to 76 and those original 63 who were proficient, would then give Shortlidge a proficiency rating of 82.9%,,,,  Pretty darn good.

Warner Elementary   Again, 249 students in 2014;  cut down to 117, Those who were proficient (74) would give Warner it’s new and improve proficiency rate of 63.2%…. (A lot of that lowness has to do with the yet unexplained anomaly found in Grade 4’s math test; (20 mysterious unexplained missing percentage points) !!!!  )

So against these new and improved results, how does the fearsome Lamont Brown compare?

His proficiency in the elementary grades stacks up to…. (drumroll please)….. (bring on the accolades)….. (did anyone remember the bouquet of roses)…… (how about a fanfare from the house band?)  ……………

The great and wonderful Lamont Brown’s proficiency rating for the year 2014,  first in elementary grades…. and second in middle school grades……

IS…..

A…..

Whooping……..

72.5 %   and … a 46.5%

Equal to Stubbs, Equal to Highlands. Below that of Shortlidge.  Below that of Bayard.  Just a few point ahead of Warner….  Yet those priority schools did nothing different from the low scores they allegedly earned… In fact those are exactly the very same low scores they earned, just minus the dead weight kicked off in the exact same way as Lamont Brown is known for.

Meaning that the real star… the real person “the Boogeyman should be checking his closet for”….. is  none other than the fearsome, the stupendous, the omnipotent, the amazing, the superlative, the one who all others must tremble in her shadow…. yes….. “her”……  :  Maribeth Courtney. principal of Shortlidge.  But wait!  Isn’t that a priority school???

Now doesn’t that just throw a big juicy turd into the big pot of stew cooked up at the Riverfront yesterday?  Doesn’t it seem odd that so much hoopla was put upon one man, whose net result to society was that last year, 2014, , he graduated 10 proficient scholars out of his clutches to go on into the real world of 9th grade…. a number far inferior to those graduating with proficiency out of any of those schools the DOE was trying to close and turn into charters?….. His grand total requiring such accolades was Just 10 proficient students out of Delaware’s total of 133,369….

Exceptional Delaware has the full transcript.. Reading over it makes one thing very apparent.  The corporate push for charters which has destroyed urban American education, is very much in play here.  In a sad way, I guess it makes sense.  Like a tick bite, as the original tissue dies the infection must spread ever reaching outward into new healthy tissue in order to stay alive.  Philadelphia is now dead to new charter growth. Delaware having an urban area unsaturated with charters, makes it a good target as any.

Make no mistake.  If one scans the entire nation looking for dead zones in education one can find them easily: Washington DC, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Newark, and next door Philadelphia…  All which made the mistake of going full forward with rapid charterization.  As study after study has shown, the average score across an entire city goes down when charterization is allowed to happen, but rise upward whenever charters are banned….  We only have to turn to old-school math to explain why… When you hurt 4 students for every one you help… averages must go down…

The only way a charter system could ever work, is if it helps all students at the same time, both those in charters and in public schools…  No one has yet ever been able to find a formula which will do all of that, not even across the entire 30 years charter schools have been in action.  But quite the opposite, in a non-charter school district, public schools DO help all students at the same time.

Charter schools are enormous lucrative business enterprises… They have the rare unique ability to siphon your tax dollars straight into people’s private personal pockets.  Which is why, like the tick bite analogy above, this disease or vice, continues every time it come into contact with an uninfected cell.

Make no mistake.  Wilmington is the next targeted cell… Philadelphia has now after suffering infection after infection, become too wise to invest in charters any further. The WEAC should be viewed as nothing more than a carpet bombing prior to the charter invasion getting underway….   Here is the report… I will quote from this below.

Like everyone else, I was hopeful this was a real attempt to get at Wilmington’s problems and to actually do something to better the education of those children who through no fault of their own, are stuck there.  I was hopeful that the things we know are necessary for child development would be included in this report…  Things like an 11:1 student teacher ratio in all schools k-5 and in 9th Grade wherever the poverty level is above 50%.  Things like taxing the top one percent’s income adequately for one to garner all the necessary funds required to pay for this necessary 11:1 student teacher ratio. Things like decoupling performance data imported from the bankrupt assessment tests, from being included in teachers, principals, schools and district’s performance reviews… when all know that a great teacher in a low poverty area will get fired by her scores, while a poor teacher in a high income area, will be considered exemplary when this approach is the sole determiner. Things like mandatory programs for pre-schoolers which would have as their prime design, to elevate the vocabulary of poor inner city children from 500 words upon entering the school system, up to a 5000 word vocabulary at that age…  Things like paying for charter schools with line items in state budgets as we would for any other state contract, and not steal money desperately needed for educating the majority of children, so huge profits can be made off a few who are in the minority.

These are concrete examples of what are needed.  Yet this report does not even express awareness that those issues exist… Instead, as seen from the tone of this report, it was solely about how to get charters to come into Wilmington… The  report is not for kids; only for owners and wealthy business people.

From this document some things are more clear.

It was only after the Priority School debacle and the highly visible public push-back against the forced charterization being proposed by the state, that the need for a commission like this to back charterization became apparent.  The Governor “hired” Dr. Allan; a commission was formed.

The deceit begins with the stating of the 7 Guiding principals. Though all sound mushy-feely good, the reality is that they are detrimental to public schools; highly skewed to promoting charters…  Some would call them myths.

1) Wilmington education is critical to the success of the entire state.  At first read one would say “sure” and be rather general in their agreement.  But let us challenge that!…  Is Philadelphia’s education critical to all of Pennsylvania’s success?  If so, Erie is in a lot of trouble.  How does the failure of New York City’s public schools directly influence the success in Niagara Falls, or Plattsburg?  if so, they are doomed.  Does Newark, NJ’s failing system spell doom for Penn’s Grove?  My guess?  No.  So how does the success or failure of Baltimore’s outlying school district, impact the success or failure of students or businesses in Ocean City? I guess if true, they can all fall back on careers as a wave surfer….   Point is, that statement deflates quickly when poked one time.  It is intended as more a buttering up to the rest of the state, most likely in order to get them to go along with whatever it will be that is forthcoming…..

2) Wilmington schools should set high standards of learning.  Here we go again.  You cannot take toddlers who cannot jump over a 3 foot bar, raise it up to 5 feet, and expect better results.  You cannot take children entering with vocabularies of 500 words, and expect them to catch up in performance to children entering with 5000 word vocabularies..  Just as we would balk at having to take a test our employer hands us in Mandarin, our children balk at tests on random material over which they have no knowledge.    Our standards should be based on improvement as one makes progress; not some arbitrary line sketched too far up in the sand.  A better goal would be to say we want a higher number of our children to be productive in society… and measure that by crime statistics, drop out stats, and other  social data.  If it drops, we are doing something right. Setting a political grandstanding standard that we want all of our inner city to go to Harvard, is laughable as it is impossible. Even still, based on the nation’s report card, the NAEP test, Wilmington children have already have made great strides since the days just after the occupation ended…   Can they do better?  Perhaps, but only if they get the close personal attention their income handicap requires.  That means an 11:1 student teacher ratio, not a new more difficult curriculum when the lack resources to even fulfill the old one that for the most part was working, are sorely inadequate.

3) Wilmington should be served by traditional, charter, and technical public schools,  Why do we need charter? Evidence shows us that 2 such charters were closed down by the state this year!  Why do we need more?  So we can close them down too? Two years ago, another charter barely struggled to the end of its school year?  So why do we need charters?   We don’t.   Vocational and traditional do not fight over funding.  Charters and vocational do not fight over funding… Only charters and traditional fight over funding… Therefore more charters means less funding for traditional… Less funding for traditional means the opportunities at traditional will be less.  So by allowing charters, we are limiting the opportunities for over 80% of our children… Point blank, when you allow charters, you limit opportunity for 80% of children… Point blank. There is no way around that fact… No way around that fact…. unless you agree to fund charters as you do vocational schools: so there is no conflict of finances between the two. By failing to deal with charter funding and simply stating that Charters are a given… the entire sincerity of this group is undercut…

You simply cannot improve education in a scenario where you punish 80% of your children financially. Ignoring this elephant in the room, shows a lack of any sincerity behind the aims of this commission…

Make no mistake.  It’s single goal is to turn Wilmington into a Charter School District…   (More later: (this is turning into a giant book so it will come in a series of installments.))

I recognize that a stand to resist the tests has many consequences, some severe in the short run. But anyone who takes this stand now will be exonerated in the long run. It is the moral and practical thing to do. Next year a stand taken against the tests today will look prescient.

This spring, tests developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium will be administered to well over 10 million students in 17 states to determine their proficiency on the Common Core Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM). This in-depth analysis of sample mathematics test questions posted online by Smarter Balanced reveals that, question after question, the tests (1) violate the standards they are supposed to assess, (2) cannot be adequately answered by students with the technology they are required to use, (3) use confusing and hard-to-use interfaces, or (4) are to be graded in such a way that incorrect answers are identified as correct and correct answers as incorrect. No tests that are so unfair should be given to anyone. Certainly, with stakes so high for students and their teachers, these Smarter Balanced tests should not be administered. The boycotts of these tests by parents and some school districts are justified. In fact, responsible government bodies should withdraw the tests from use before they do damage.

Some notable quotes from the report:

“why  offer  a  keypad  that  builds  numbers  from  left  to  right?  Students are  taught  to  solve  whole-­‐number  addition  by  working  right  to  left—just  like  you probably  do!  Every  school  calculator  builds  numbers  right  to  left  for  a  reason.  With  an  input  device  that  is  harder  to  use  than  correctly  adding  the  two  numbers,  what  will  we  learn  about  a  student  who  gets  this  question  wrong?”  4th Grade Math SBA.

“A  simple  sketch  is  the  most  appropriate  way  to  show  one’s  work.  However,  there’s just  one  major  issue:  There  is  no  way  to  draw  or  submit  a  drawing  using  the  problem’s “technology-­enhanced”  interface!  So  a  student  working  on  this  problem  is  left  with  a problem  more  vexing  than  the  mathematical  task  at  hand—“How  do  I  show  my picture  by  typing  words  on  a  keyboard?” 10th Grade Math SBA.

“So  the  problem  is  not  just  that  the  number  line  behavior  needs  fixing;  it’s  that  a number  line  is  the  wrong  tool  for  answering  Question  1.  Asking  students  to  display the  exact  results  of  division  with  fractions  on  a  tiny  number  line  marked  only  in whole  units  —whether  it  “snaps”  or  not—is  like  asking  students  to  eat  soup  with  a fork  to  determine  whether  they  know  how  to  eat.”

“At  some  point  between  April  16,  2012,  and  now,  a  simple,  well-­‐specified  interface idea  turned  into  a  nightmarish  implementation.  Smarter  Balanced  quality  control failed.”

“The  graphic  on  this question  was  obviously  not  created  using  mathematical  software.  The  graph  is
inaccurate  and  misleading.”

” why were  there so  many  buttons  on  it  and  what  do they  do?.  The five  arrow  buttons  above  the  numbers—three  leftward  and  two  rightward  pointing arrows—look  so  similar  that  their  actions  can  only  be  deciphered  through  trial  and error.  (I’ll  list  their  functions  here  to  save  you  the  effort  of  experimenting:  move
cursor  left,  move  cursor  right,  undo  last  action,  redo  last  undone  action,  and  delete digit  to  the  left  of  the  cursor.)  Only  the  last  of  these  buttons—Delete—is  needed.”

“the  last  key  on  the  keypad  a  subtraction  key  or  a  key  for  inputting  a negative  number,  or  can  it  be  used  for  both  purposes?  It  acts  a  lot  like  a  subtraction key—you  can  enter  “65–1”  for  instance—but  you  can  press  it  repeatedly  and  display many  subtraction  signs—like  a  negative  key.  I  wondered  whether  “65–1”  would  be evaluated  by  the  parser  as  64.  Unfortunately,  it’s  impossible  to  figure  out  what  this key  actually  does  mathematically.  That’s  why  I  call  it  “inscrutable.””

“Calculators  typically  don’t  allow  more  than one  decimal  point  in  a  number—precisely  to  prevent  silly  typing  mistakes.  There  is no  benefit  to  this  question  in  allowing  typing  mistakes.

” the  design  that  CTB  implemented  for  Smarter  Balanced penalizes  struggling  students.  Students  at  ease  with  the  mathematics  and  familiar with  computer  input  interfaces  will  breeze  through  Question  4—they  need  only correctly  type  “64.”  But  a  student  who  struggles  with  the  math,  makes  a  mistake  or
two,  and  tries  to  correct  his  mistakes  may  get  mired  in  the  ridiculous  interface, especially  if  he  is  tempted  to  input  his  answer  with  the  graphical  keypad.  It  reminds me  of  the  saying,  “The  rich  get  richer….”

Ironically,  while  poor  results  on  the  Common  Core  tests  will  be  a  blow  to  policy makers,  parents,  educators,  and  students,  they  will  be  a  boon  to  those  in  education for  a  profit.  I’ve  been  in  the  business  for decades  as  an  educational  publisher.  For many  companies,  including  the  large  ones,  there  is  no  business  like  the  “failure business.”  Failure  precipitates  crises  on  a  large  scale.  National  politicians, governors,  and  state  legislatures  demand  immediate  action  to  address  crises.  In desperation,  school  officials  look  for  quick  solutions.  They  loosen  purse  strings  in states  and  districts.  And  the  quick-­‐solution  vendors  spring  into  action,  throw together  products,  and  make  a  quick  buck  from  their  “solutions.”

The  same  testing  companies  that  delivered  these  failed  tests  will  win  lucrative  new
contracts  to  deliver  “better”  tests  to  states  forced  to  abandon  the  current  ones. 

========

So why are we subjecting our children to this?  Oh yes, Greg Lavelle.

Why is this test currently just inserted without General Assembly approval, to be used for the next 5 years?  Oh, yes, Dave Sokola.

Why do you not know how bad this test is and the express harm it will cause your child?  Oh, yes. Earl Jacques

Various members of our General Assembly’s Individual actions often bordering intentional deceit, by these individual people, have almost derailed the entire public educational system.

So, how can we stop this entire process from destroying our children?

Don’t let them take the test… Period…

common core walkout

Students:  if all else fails… take a walk… Get up and go outside… Your counterparts are doing it all across this country.  Carrying signs that say… We are not a test score…. They are leaving their computers, getting their stuff out of their lockers, and walking out…  You have a Constitutional Right To Express Your Beliefs!  You can never be punished for it!

Seniors need to lead the way… and all other classes need to follow… There needs to be a citizens’ uprising against this test.  Most of your parents seem have no clue or be far too timid.  … Not true with you… You need to set the moral example, like your parents or grandparents did in the 60’s.

Say “Fuck this Shit.”  Get up, get your things and walk outside….  If you have signs hold them up for passing cars and shout… “Stop the Common Core… Down With Corporate Whores!”

Filing a civil rights complaint is one way parents who refuse to have their children participate in high stakes standardized testing can defend the children, against the following actions taken by school site or district administrators and officials….

To do that, one of these things have to occur.

  • Administrator failure to adhere to parent’s decision to refuse student participation in testing
  • Forced grade retention when proficiency has been demonstrated via other methods
  • Course credit denial when proficiency has been demonstrated via other methods
  • Forced remediation  such as summer school or remediation classes in lieu of elective classes when there is clear evidence the child does not need remediation
  • Unwarranted and punitive penalties such as detentions, inability to participate in extra-curricular activities and team sports, inability to participate in field trips, inability to continue in magnet or academy programs, or inability to be placed in advanced or gifted academic programs

Your child has the constitutional right and as a parent so do you, to not have them take this test…  Since obviously your child will not be treated in an educational system that goes so far overboard protecting corporate interests over those of children… as a regular citizen of this nation you have the right and ability to take this matter to the highest court in the land, if necessary…

A third party has a better chance of seeing your side, as opposed to the guilty party.  No business interest, no matter how well entrenched with local government, has the right to victimized young children for their own profit.

You can click here for the form.  

Typically, complaints are filed at the school site first; however, in the case where an administrator is identified as the violator, it is best to file at the Civil Rights Compliance Office (CRC) or similar office in a specific district.

We are in Region 3.

Here is where we file…

Region 3 – Philadelphia (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia)
Barbara Holland, Regional Manager
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
150 S. Independence Mall West
Suite 372, Public Ledger Building
Philadelphia, PA 19106-9111
Main Line (800) 368-1019
FAX (215) 861-4431
TDD (800) 537-7697

Fill out the above form with specific prompts.    Describe each person who allegedly discriminated, retaliated and/or harassed you, please describe in detail, what occurred and specifically describe the exact event or action which you believe was discriminatory, retaliatory and/or harassing.

Here is an example:

Public schools are required to teach all children regardless of all impediments.  The Smarter Balanced Assessment which guarantees a 70% failure is deemed to be an impediment to my child’s learning.   When I opted out of my child taking the test, an action that is both legal and non-binding, I was punished for it in these following ways.

When citing this as the reason I am refusing to allow my child to test, District Superintendent____________ and  Principal _________,  and Counselor ______________  subsequently, via verbal face-to-face communication , on September __, 2016 and via written communication received on September __, 2016; denied my child the opportunity to continue to participate in _________  program in which she was thriving.

High stakes testing as documented by numerous of studies over decades, “has had the effect of segregating” children according to social class and racial differences.  Were I to go forward with this test I, the parent, would be willingly and obligingly forcing my child to be stereotyped as a failure across his/her future, despite all other classroom evidence pointing to the contrary.

I obviously refused to do this, and for this, my child was singled out to be punished by the officers representing this school. This is a violation of my child’s civil right to receive the best public education which can be given.  Were she treated the same due to the color of her skin, her religion, her gender, her sexual preference, or her philosophy, she would have behind her, the full support of the law.  

As parent, we are given and have the legal obligation of making all choices in how to raise our child.  One worthy example: if we feel vaccinations are harmful, we can opt out our child.  Laws allow that.  Against something that is far more dangerous to our child than a rare virus, something that could affect and ruin a child for life like this Smarter Balanced Assessment, we obviously have the same parental right. The law does not allow a parent’s right to be trumped by any governmental agency, especially if trumping that right can be proved to harm the child.

There is considerable evidence that the Smarter Balanced Assessment will cause children to suffer severe stress and emotional abuse, causing longterm educational damage. Against this claim the Department of Education has brought no evidence to the contrary.   What we DO hear, is almost every child psychologist across America unified in saying that this test is very harmful to children’s development.

Things to remember when filing:

  • Clearly identify your reason(s) for test refusal (political, disability, medical, religious, age, etc.).
  • Clearly identify what violation has occurred (forced remediation, inability to participate in an extracurricular activity, etc.).
  • Identify by full name and position all those that participated in the violation.
  • Keep narratives short and fact focused.
  • Attach all pertinent paper work (letters home, emails, letters to school, forms, etc.).
  • Show up for all scheduled meetings for mediation that are meant to forego a hearing.
  • Show up for all scheduled hearings.

Now call your principal and ask him when your child is scheduled to take the test.  Say you want to remove him from school on those days, and you don’t want him to take the test… Tell him you are in contact with the Civil Rights office in Philadelphia and you have the right to opt out your child from the test and furthermore that he cannot be punished in any way for having parents who know the damage this test will cause and decided to prevent it from affecting their child.