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Jon’s loving father discovered that something called the Smarter Interim was to take place this fall.  It is a form of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

In selling the Smarter Balanced Assessment, Governor Markell loudly proclaimed we be doing one test, not two. And the Synopsis for the Smarter Balanced Assessments, HB 334 actually says so….

This bill provides for the transition of the statewide student assessment system, the Delaware Comprehensive Student Assessment (DCAS), to the Smarter Balanced Assessment System (Smarter). Specifically, the bill removes references to multiple assessments.

So one would think that we’d be going to one test right?

Here is a graphic view of the schedule:  (Parental Discretion Advised)

test schedule

Click for larger size.  As you can see the Smarter Balanced Interim carries from November through the end of they year…   The Smarter Balance Assessment begins March 2nd.

Back to HB 334… vague wording was used to allow this.  It was no accident…  Here is what was stricken…

One assessment shall occur within 30 school days of the beginning of the academic year, the second assessment shall occur at a time established by the Department which will allow its results to guide education of students within the current school year. In addition, the Department shall administer end of course assessments in appropriate high school grades.  

That was the old DCAS which was a good test and which made 97% of Delaware’s teachers rightfully appear highly effective.  For unlike other assessments, teacher’s were measured on their own output alone.  One test at the beginning, and one at the end, which showed they improved students learning… 97% of the time…

But, though many legislators thought they were voting to go with only one test, after all the governor said so, the Secretary of Education said so, Dave Sokola and Darryl Scott said so,  and even the Synopsis said so, and the part stricken in the bill even said so!

So why do we have more than one test?  Was it because they were tricked.

At no point in the bill does it state that there will only be one test.  So even with the lines pulled requiring three windows to take state assessments across the year,  the letter “s” on the end of assessment”s’  was never deleted. By using a game of switcheroo, done by refering to other sections ((b) and (c)) the bill, the multiple assessment was sneaked through…

This second assessment is not against the law… just against the conditions under which the law was passed. For the ultimate law actually does little to define the test, but hands over to the Department of Education, the sole authority to assess kids however they see fit.  They are solely in charge of the schedule, content, and grading….

Jon’s loving father quotes an unnamed legislator as saying he was lied to.  He was under the assumption there would be one test and he voted on that because that was what he was hearing from constituents:  that there was too much testing.

But now the testing amounts won’t change,  But I’m guessing that legislator was the one who must now be getting a new career lined up after getting bumped off Primary Day, primarily for supporting HB 334 and helping move Common Core forward….

Just an example of the tricks used throughout these past two years to get the Common Core agenda into law before anyone could stop it.

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Ass Mints

The interactive site is here…….

Think about these myths as you gaze….

  • All students will be tested by the same test.
  • There is one united curriculum across this nation. 
  • That curriculum is internationally benchmarked.
  • Students in Idaho can be compared to students in Louisiana.

 

 

 

 

Having just returned from a Gates sponsored seminar  “ to further hardwire the Common Core curriculum ” (Gate’s words; not mine; notice he said “curriculum“) Mr. White opines us on what he learned.  He was most taken with a story from Deborah Ball, now dean of education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who was teaching her third grade students about odd and even numbers, when one student, Sean, said that he thought some numbers were both odd and even.

It is obvious this was an exercise at the conference.  For Mr. White asks us how we should respond…. We are given three options.

Teacher A responded that there are no numbers that are both odd and even and that you can always tell which are odd and which are even by which are divisible by two and which are not. Those evenly divisible by two are even and the others are odd. She then moved on with her lesson plan.

Teacher B asks the student to explain why he thinks some numbers are both odd and even. He says that because two goes into some even numbers (like 6 or 10) an odd number of times, those numbers are both odd and even. The teacher says that is a very interesting thought, but then goes on to explain the rule to him as had been done by Teacher A and moves on with the lesson.

Ok, those were almost the same, so you know the Common Core set up is coming up in …. C

Teacher C suspends her lesson plan and asks the class to think about the student’s conjecture. They talk about it and the teacher provisionally calls these odd/even numbers, Sean numbers, saying that is what mathematicians do when they explore a new idea. The class subsequently discovers or notices that every other even number is a “Sean number” and they then discover what kind of number results (odd, Sean or non-Sean) when “Sean numbers” are added to other “Sean numbers”, to “non-Sean even numbers” and to odd numbers. The lesson ends as the class tries to decide whether “Sean numbers” should be added to the list of numbers in their mathematics curriculum, but by then time has run out.”

Obviously I’m not a Common Core enthusiast.  Did you see the part that the teacher “suspends” her lesson plan to cover something totally ridiculous as naming numbers “Sean numbers”?  The immediate question is…….. when will they cover what they were supposed to do THAT DAY?  Tomorrow?  If so, what will be missed on the test because the Smarter Balanced Assessment is tightly wound so everything covered in class, is used on the test… Will each of these children lose 150 points because they missed a most important element of multiplication, because they were kept behind by talking about “Sean numbers”?  Remember the test examples we showed you, so complicated that adults cannot even figure out what is being asked?

This is ruining children… Remember where we said the child’s brain is growing and must get a certain amount of knowledge in on a timely fashion, or it is lost forever?  How does spending a full day on Sean numbers, probably something everyone in the class except Sean had already grasped, help a child in this race against time?

Most of all, this is an example of taking something really simple…. and making it really complicated….  This is exactly why Common Core is so rotten at it’s core….

Remember in high school where certain cliques made up certain rules, and everyone in-the-know had to follow them, and those not in-the-know, were ostracized and put down?  I want you to keep this in mind as we go through the rest of Mr. White’s essay….. 

Whose pupils, Teacher A’s, B’s, or C’s, would do better on Common Core standards? Teacher A seems out of step with the Common Core values as she was not even curious about Sean’s reasoning, although she did explicitly correct what she took to be his error. Teacher B went further in exploring Sean’s reasoning, surely something expected in the Common Core, but Sean was more or less left with the idea he was not doing anything worthwhile mathematically. Teacher C seems to embody the Common Core’s values of having Sean “make sense of problems and persevere in solving them, reason abstractly and quantitatively, construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others, attend to precision, look for and make use of structure.” Teacher C moreover encourages the whole class to accept the Common Core goals and see what more Sean and his classmates could make mathematically of his unconventional idea.

Did you get that?  Teacher C embodies Common Core’s rules the best… Whoo Hoo… Give him/her a prize!…  No comment or discussion if those rules are even good for children … It is a blind-set:  these are the rules and we must follow them….  Now if you like this example of creative thinking, it is because you are only thinking of Sean. You are ignoring its impact on all the other students… In the opposite approach to Common Core, where you would have an 11:1 student teacher ratio, a teacher could take such time with Sean and then cover her other 10 people.  But in a class of 20, 22, 24, 28, 30?  Most of the children are sitting through this discussion going: “this is really stupid; I hate school….”

Now, in Mr. White’s essay, since we are starting with the premise that Common Core is good for children, notice the evaluations given to Teachers A-C.

But what about those who gave Teacher C low marks, sometimes the lowest marks? Their concerns fell into three categories, all worrisome for the future of the Common Core. Most worrisome were those who felt Sean had made an error that had to be corrected and because of that, it was a mistake to let his error contaminate the whole class. Others felt the teacher’s mistake was pedagogical because having the error named after the student inappropriately shamed him. Others felt that Teacher C simply wasted valuable time as this “odd/even number” conjecture was never going to be on a standardized curriculum test and they, and their districts, want their teachers to focus on what the state will test. Clearly, the topic of numbers being both odd and even has no mathematical future and is not going to be raised by anyone ever again.

Forgive me.  They all sound good to me… Read them over again…. 

But that would not cause this post to be written.  Mr. White completely disagrees…..

Sean, of course, has not made a mistake, and as his conjecture shows, and as too many faculty and students overlooked, he fully grasps the principle that Teachers A and B taught. He is in fact doing the kind of thinking that the Common Core standards also hope to see when they ask students to “make sense of problems and persevere in solving them, reason abstractly and quantitatively, construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others, attend to precision, look for and make use of structure,” and so forth….

And this is deemed good for education?  As a standard it sounds noble, especially when italicized.  But in the example provided, it is completely ridiculous… And that is why Common Core is going to so confuse children, especially children in the inner cities who don’t get meals, who can’t do homework, who don’t have parents involved with their education because their night job gets them home at 11:50 pm…  2, 4, 6, 8, 10, are even… 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, are odd… any questions?  Let’s practice counting by evens… let’s practice counting by odds… everybody got it?  Recess.

I learned fine that way.  So did you. So did our whole generation.  So did the generation before them….  But now, we are encouraged to have a discussion about “Sean numbers” which to be honest, I couldn’t even follow because I had nothing to write with and draw a little map as to how Mr. White was explaining it…. 

“The class subsequently discovers or notices that every other even number is a “Sean number” and they then discover what kind of number results (odd, Sean or non-Sean) when “Sean numbers” are added to other “Sean numbers”, to “non-Sean even numbers” and to odd numbers.”

Huh? Could you have handled that in 3rd Grade?

So we have confusion, instead of simplicity… For in Mr. White’s terminology, simplicity shows us:  

“The limitations in their subject matter and pedagogical knowledge *which) unfortunately foster the kind of conventional teaching that would undermine the larger goals of the Common Core and preserve the undesired status quo.

If simplicity undermines the larger goal of the Common Core and preserves the status quo, isn’t that now deemed by every parent of a student, to be a good thing?

Flat out, here is what is going on here….

Common Core is a very bad program that is impossible to teach, and impossible to grasp.  IT FAILS 70% OF ITS STUDENTS IN EVERY CLASS!  It is losing support with parents.

So what Bill Gates did, was whisk educators off to a green world where there was only one set of alternatives, an alternative universe so to speak… In that alternative universe, Common Core is spun as the most awesome thing that every happened…  Mr. White descends back to reality…  And suddenly, his ideas plop down in a real world where there are 30 students in a class, all going WTF is wrong with this teacher?  Please, STFU and lets learn something real. 

The Real world…  not Gates’ville… the real world…

This is an example of not being in the “real world”….

“The success on this counting task, if it is taken as an exemplary measure of the standard, means that some students will remain as baffled as were a countable number, but fortunately a relatively small number of participants in today’s teacher education programs buy the sense in which some numbers can be both odd and even.”

 

Wait a minute…. Did he just say that some numbers can be both odd… and even?  I think he did… How is that going to go over when tested to see if one is college or career ready?  “Sure, some numbers can be both odd and even.”

This is exactly what is wrong with Common Core… It is stupid. It is made-up bullshit.  It is fantasy.  it does not correspond to reality.  It has as much relationship to reality as does your attractiveness to the opposite sex being based solely on your beer which is the same as is in a commercial with attractive models… “Hey, slut! Go out with me, I drink Coors Lite.”

With regard to how we will know whether we have succeeded in the Common Core experiment, we won’t know for sure until the tests we mandate find a way to respect and reward the ingenuity of students like Sean….

By failing 70% of Delawares children… Why?  Because they don’t know that numbers can be both odd and even…. 

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why there is considerable pushback on Common Core.  it is farcical. The chickens are running the farm and the real teachers, are being called ridiculous… They aren’t ridiculous.  Common Core is what is ridiculous and anyone who tries to rank teachers according to Common Core, will set learning back greatly…

Just remember, that in its effort to resell Common Core to the masses, this op-ed of Mr. White was its high point: “stating that number can be both odd and even…. “

That is Common Core.  That is why all parents are against it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bobby Jindal, once a Republican hopeful for the President’s chair, is now suing the Federal Government over Common Core… Some interesting factors have come to light out of the preliminaries for that suit….

It was claimed by the opposing Louisiana’s Director of Education (which is a supporter of Common Core and the privatization of education), that Louisiana’s scores held steady despite a tougher test that was geared to Common Core… 

That claim was FOIA’s and we now have insight on how that could have been….

For example, in 2013, 4th grade students taking the ELA test needed to get 51.54% of the answers correct in order to get a scale score of 301 for a level of basic, but in 2014, after the annual “equating of test forms”, students only needed to get 44.62% of the answers correct in order to get the minimum scale score of 301 needed for the level of basic.

This gives the general pubic who does not know how test scores are cut, the idea that Common Core is doing it’s job.  Harder tests… same results… they must be learning more….

Based on a sample analysis of the very meager data LDOE finally released under threat of lawsuit it is clear that not only is student performance not increasing or staying steady, it Is in fact declining, and being masked by a lowering of the number of correct answers required to pass LEAP and iLEAP tests….

Proponents of Common Core, and the High Stakes testing required by it, have claimed the comparability of test scores across states will make for meaningful comparisons. To have this meaningful comparison, all states must teach the same curriculum and all must administer identical tests from one of the two federally funded consortiums (Smarter Balanced and PARCC). However neither consortium controls the cut scores; those are entirely in the control of the states. These scores can go up or down as local politics require.

Let me spell this out for you. If you want to show progress in your state you can artificially inflate the scores to show improvement. If you need to make a case for more charter schools and school closures simply lower the scores and take them over and then raise the score back to show that reform worked. That is exactly what Louisiana has done and no doubt other reform markets as well. The actual data shows the Reforms, including Common Core, have had the exact opposite effect, and a very dramatic one.

When in reality, what this means is simple terms is that Louisiana students are about 18% less prepared now in 4th grade in English Language Arts, and 28% percent less prepared in Math by the time the reach 8th grade than they were before John White and Common Core started being used in Louisiana schools.

Inside the Delaware Department of Education, they also know this is true….  All the Delawarean Common Core pilot classes slumped in their performances, and non-Common Core classes continued their rise…  With corresponding data now from two states, Common Core seems to be a very bad way to get children to learn… 

It took a subpoena in a lawsuit for that data to be released in Louisiana…  Once Common Core is data mined, it is dead on arrival… One can lie all they want, but those lies are exposed as direct lies, not mistakes, once the data is released….

And, the best way to rid ourselves of Common Core, is to have 10% or more of Delaware’s children opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment being given this spring, which Murphy has already leaked will be artificially cut to fail 70% of Delaware’s students.

One can only think it is done in order to have charters take over schools.   Why else would a billions of dollars have been contributed for an otherwise purposeless endeavor?

Corporate interests have been attacking education since Bush 2000 said, “No Child Left Behind”… it was a way to get money from public schools into private pockets… 

When you hear some stupid fool talk against tenure…. it’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear someone praise Common Core….. it’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear someone praising any Charter School…. it’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear someone praising Shanghai or Korean schools…. It’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear anyone lie that Common Core is not a Federal program,… It’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear that the Smarter Balanced Assessment will fail 70% of Delaware’s children… It’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear that a local school board must do merit pay on teachers… it’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear teachers get paid too much… it’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear that teachers have too much time off… it’s the corporate war on education……

When you hear inner city schools are failing… it’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear that charters don’t have to be accountable the same way public schools do… it’s the corporate war on education.

When you hear that poverty has nothing to do with low scores; it’s due to bad teaching… it’s the corporate war on education….

When you hear that Arne Duncun is coming to Delaware… it’s the corporate war on education… 

When you hear a megalithic charter school is moving into the Bank of America building … it’s the corporate war on education….

When you hear that waivers should be given to failing charter schools, but public schools should be closed if they fail… it’s the corporate war on education….

When you hear that students with disabilities, will now be mainstreamed and put in regular classes,… it’s the corporate war on education…. 

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You get the idea… It boils down to one thing. If one is concerned about money… they are taking the side of the corporate war on education… 

On the other hand, if anyone is primarily concerned about how new policies and old policies affected the children… they are those playing defense for the children in this corporate war on education…. 

That includes all teachers.  Parents.  Students (themselves of course),  and most district school board members who are accountable not to the Governor or his swaggering Department of Educational Secretary,… but to real people, who work for a living, pay taxes to schools every year, and who have to come home and get their child ready for school the next day….

These people have a different plan. One that worked once before.  One that has much more hope and promise than anything we have gotten from those other people do never did like children, but know a business opportunity when they see one…

To fix education and make our students the most qualified in the world…. we need to do 5 things….

  • Mandate an 11:1 student/teacher ratio in all schools with more than a 50% level of reduced lunch, for all grades k-5 and across the 9th grade as well…. 
  • Tax the top one percent to pay for any extra expense entailed.
  • Remove the high stakes apart from testing.  Use testing as a tool to see what a student has missed solely in order to fill the void that students has.  Technology can do that.  But real information is being covered up by teachers teaching to the test.  Students are learning the test, not how to apply what they know to real world situations.  Changing that will only happen if we stop firing teachers and closing schools based solely on poverty’s influence upon test scores….
  • Fund all Charter Schools by a line item in the state budget.  The property tax funding is meant and must go to fund public schools.  Not some privateer’s investment portfolio.  If a state wants to experiment in education, it must do so out of its General Fund. 
  • Let teachers teach. Stop telling effective teachers with over 25 years of classroom experience that you know how education works, and they don’t…… 

 

 

At the Lee County District Board of Education meeting last night, emotions came to a head when mother Lori Jenkins took the stand. She said her son was on leave from school due to a terminal heart condition, yet the district still sent someone to proctor the FCAT exam at his home. The audience gasped with disgust.

He’s terminal, he’s going to die, but he goes to school! He does the stupid remedial classes! That’s how I know this is all about money,” Jenkins yelled into the microphone before she hit her one-minute time limit and the audio was cut.

 

It’s all about money. It’s always been about the money. No one gives a damn whether kids learn or not. It’s all about the money. Nothing… but …. money.  Just money.,…  Only, money.

The Lee County school board, by a 3-2 vote Wednesday night, decided not to administer the FCAT, the standardized test that Florida requires of its students. Cheers and applause filled the packed auditorium after the vote was taken.

Can we get this on the agenda of all 19 districts here in Delaware?  

The district is opting out of ALL statewide standardized tests. “We cannot allow the fear to hold us back.””

If they can do it……………… 

It was one line in a long article….

“Everyone who is gung-ho and supports Common Core, is somehow financially connected to it’s implementation…..”

I was thinking… Why!  That is absolutely true…. I know of no parent who says “Common Core did my child good.”  I know no teacher who ever said: ” Common Core is awesome.”

Now.  Why is that?

 

 

The Brookings Institute study came up with a remarkable observance, that will come as no surprise to most…..

  • For one, the researchers found a strong statistical link between teachers’ observation scores and the achievement level test scores of the students they instructed.
  • Two, the report takes aim at evaluation systems that use a “school-wide” value-added measure, in which all teachers are judged in part on the progress of the school as a whole.  Good schools inflated mediocre teachers; bad schools deflated excellent teachers.
  • Three:  Observers tended to give the best marks to teachers whose incoming students were high performing, while those teachers working with academically struggling students were penalized, according to an analysis of thousands of observation scores.

This comes particularly as we in Delaware rewrite and vote on a House Bill  linking evaluations with test scores…

The Brookings finding discovered that really great phenomenal teachers get penalized for teaching students with low income status, and poor and mediocre teachers get high marks for teaching incoming students who are exceptionally gifted…  It appears that among others, one of the things standardized test scores can’t judge, is how good a teacher is, or isn’t!

We have all heard problems with Value Added Tests before.  All concern in the past, was mostly centered upon the test scores.  In theory that was to be balanced by classroom observation.  What this study breaks into the open, is that now, simply based on data of many subjective teacher evaluations, those class room evaluations are prejudiced depending upon the test scores. There is no offsetting value….

That means even the classroom evaluation is flawed, because of test scores.

This study tended to show that principals were the worst culprit, that when impartial outside observers came in to judge the classroom experience based on a rubric, they were much more honest and correct in their evaluations.

Even the best principal, if being scolded for his school’s low scores, walking in upon one of the teachers whose classroom is full of the sort of students who are guilty of lowering that school’s scores, in this situation, even the best principal, perhaps in the course of trying to move the needle for his school, will unfairly judge that teacher…. simply because of what is at stake…

So it appears that not only are high stakes testings unreliable, the counterbalance of classroom observation is also unreliable, simply because of the human nature to make those observations fit in hand with the test scores….  We can all put ourselves in that principal’s shoes:  “The test scores out of this class are so bad,  I can’t say you are a great teacher, even if you are; I’ll get laughed out of my job!”  Now… my brain is fuzzy.  Where have I heard that Delaware principals were not being tough enough on their evaluations because the actual classroom teachers ratings did not jive with the secret recipe formulated test scores?  Hmmm.  I can’t remember… The knuckleheads all sound alike this late in the legislative session…..

The big answer to solving this dilemma, the one that will get us moving forward again, is for us to continue using the tests to help children, but use that critical mass of data only to discover their weaknesses and work to strengthen those areas in them… Not fire, nor demote, nor put on parking duty, any teacher who has the misfortune to have lower income students incoming into her class……..

 

 

Senator Lavalle’s legislation forces the test agencies to reveal the questions and answers to parents, teachers, administrators after the test has been taken.  It opens a process for parents who think their child was dissed, to have a human element look over the questions and either disagree or concur….

Parents have a right to know their children are being tested in a fair and accurate way….

The first year the bill becomes law fifty percent of the Common Core questions must be made publicly available 30 days after of testing.  The second year would require full disclosure of the information on the State Department of Education’s website.  Questions asked purely for future use, and not included in the scoring, would be excluded from the measure.

 Senator Lavalle’s bill also requires the reporting by the DOE back to the Governor, these six points.

1) the effectiveness of common core state tests in enhancing student learning and performance; 
  
2) the fairness and appropriateness of test items for each grade level, including the percentage of test items found to be above grade level; 
  
3) the correlation between test scores and grade point averages of test subjects taking common core state tests; 
  
4) a statistical analysis of student performance based on socioeconomic, gender, race and ethnicity and regional factors; 
  
5) the effectiveness of the test agency as the test development vendor; 
  
6) factors to be considered in determining whether to continue with the current test agency or other vendor as a test agency or utilize Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests in 2015. 

The only problem for us now, is that this Senator is in New York!  Our Senator Lavelle is nowhere to be found on this issue… Why is that no one, not one single Delaware legislator has the balls to take on this administration and the debacle of Common Core?  But New York can?  Indiana can? Tennessee can? Georgia can? Florida can?  Texas can?  Why is our crowd of Delawareans a bunch of wussies?

Greg Lavelle… Since you have almost the same name… Why are you a wussie?  Give Rick Jensen a call and let him (and all of us) know why you are a wussie…

🙂