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Vergara Ruling Overturned by State Appeals Court….

A California appeals court, reversing a trial court’s ruling in the landmark Vergara case, has found that California’s job-protection laws for teachers do not in fact violate the state constitution’s equal protection guarantee.

 

The appeals court ruled April 14 that the plaintiffs in the Vergara case had failed to prove sufficiently that the state’s teacher-employment laws, including tenure and termination provisions, “inevitably cause a certain group of students to receive an education inferior to the education received by other students.”

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Exactly what those of us who read the transcripts all said… We called it a kangeroo court because it decided it decision based on shots called down to it, and not on the evidence put before the court.  There was no way the evidence pointed to that decision.

 

This is good news.   In the national test-case for unions, Unions have been declared legal and can stand stronger now……

A similar case to Vergara was  just filed in Minnesotaand this decision may put a knife in it early up there.

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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…..

Penny Schwinn:  “violence in communities has little impact on a student’s performance in school.”

First Go Here:  Photos of Dead bodies

Now Take this test:  Smarter Balanced Assessment.

The reason the takeover of public schools is being botched by a new catastrophe every new minute.  is because we do not have competent people in positions of authority…

If there is no way any adult could look at this, and then take this, there is no way a child should ever be expected to do the same….

It’s the test, stupid.  Rating anything by this test is ridiculous, insane, and stupid to boot…  Rating a child by a teacher who knows them from working with them all year?… Now that is where we need to go.

Here buried in the Title 14, Education section of Delaware Code…….

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(a) It is an unfair labor practice for a public school employer or its designated representative to do any of the following:

________________________

(1) Interfere with, restrain or coerce any employee in or because of the exercise of any right guaranteed under this chapter.

(2) Dominate, interfere with or assist in the formation, existence or administration of any labor organization.

(3) Encourage or discourage membership in any employee organization by discrimination in regard to hiring, tenure or other terms and conditions of employment.

(4) Discharge or otherwise discriminate against an employee because the employee has signed or filed an affidavit, petition or complaint, or has given information or testimony under this chapter.

(5) Refuse to bargain collectively in good faith with an employee representative which is the exclusive representative of employees in an appropriate unit.

(6) Refuse or fail to comply with any provision of this chapter or with rules and regulations established by the Board pursuant to its responsibility to regulate the conduct of collective bargaining under this chapter.

(7) Refuse to reduce an agreement, reached as a result of collective bargaining, to writing and sign the resulting contract.

(8) Refuse to disclose any public record as defined by Chapter 100 of Title 29.

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If you are a public employee, who has faced any type of personal intimidation, subtle or otherwise, you are fully protected by law if you complain… They may still fire you illegally, power being what power does, but the courts ultimately will decide in your favor and make all the stress monetarily worthwhile… Maybe you can even retire in Costa Rica… Wouldn’t that be nice.

If you are a public employee who has faced personal intimidation, either perceived or otherwise, here is your first contact….

Your best bet would be to copy Rep. John Kowalko when you discuss your predicament with your legislator… You are protected by law…  Which means, if you sincerely feel that opting out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment is the best option for parents to take in order to insist on the changes needed to fully improve our educational system, then you are protected if you communicate your objections directly to your students in order to have passed on to their parents….

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is this century’s colossal mistake:  our equivalent of Prohibition…. Let us hope it doesn’t take 10 years for its repeal… Especially since instead of being socially neutral, it is actually abusive to those children who become ground up and left for dead over such extreme, unnecessary expectations.

Bluntly: since Mark Murphy took over from Ms. Lillian Lowery, the sole focus of Delaware’s Department of Education has been to privatize education across New Castle County.  By “privatizing”, we are specifically mean “charters”.

This is Rodel , (a wealthy group who are paid to achieve one single business purpose), and it should be a surprise to no one, the the current head of Delaware’s Department of Education was culled from out of that organization.

The modus of operation is clear.  They do all to achieve this one single mean.

Otherwise?

A. Why would highly damaging charter legislation be comprised in secret, a decision the Attorney General belatedly said was unconstitutional and illegal?

B. Why would that same bill be rushed through General Assembly without being debated in full?  And quickly signed before any legislator could change their mind over a re-vote?

C. Why would bills that changed the level of test scores, making tests harder so scores would appear lower, be sneaked through both chambers by shills of the followers of this policy?

D. Why would when the above bill failed its first Senate, that the administration scrambled and with deal to put Greg Lavelle on Chuck Todd’s television show, got his vote to switch and put our children into the wood chipper of the Smarter Balanced Assessments (take it yourself here)… ?

E. Why  would a search for someone to oversee accountability, (short for “manipulation of test data”) end up with a controversial figure from a Californian district that had a bitter charter battle where charters won, and now, all evidence shows, students and parents lost?

F. Why would charters waste $2 million of state money to landlords for each charter opened, when we have public education which own their buildings outright?  Answer:  to put money into those landlord’s pockets?

G. Why does the News Journal (slowly improving) only report the administration’s side and white-wash and disregard the mounting piles of direct evidence proving that charterization is not only less satisfactory then public schools, but are actually harming children overall?

H. Why were the Priority schools all chosen for their closeness to the Mega Charter? And schools far away, who are by non-affiliated sources, deemed to be doing worse, were ignored?

I. Why were all the $119 million RTTT funds used to push this agenda, instead of being used to fix schools and help even these students who now are being used as human shields for the DOE privatization of these schools?

J. Why is our current DOE so gung-ho on returning separate but NOT EQUAL schools upon the children of Wilmington?

K. Why did the Wilmington City Council vote to NOT allow charter school into Wilmington without their express approval.

L.  Why did the DOE dismiss and not sign off on the highly acclaimed report publicized by the University of Delaware which stated that two of the priority schools were rated EXCELLENT on their achieving improvement in their students?
M. Why were those charters included in the bottom 5% of the DCAS scoring group, spared from being considered for priority schools, but just public schools were chosen, perhaps since you can’t increase the number of charters if you prioritize a charter school to turn it into a charter?

N. Why the one person who could bring up questions that provide balance against the DOE in House Education Committees, was unceremoniously removed for obviously no other reason?

O. Why does the DOE insist on its ability to over-ride any of the General Assembly’s passage of laws it deems not to its liking?

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We are in a war… A war you may not be aware is going on around you, until it is too late.. There is a Rodel War on public education and as with any war, if you don’t take the right side, you end up losing…

As with any conflict around you, you have only three options.

  • Fight against the side who seeks to destroy you.
  • Stay out of the fray and accept whatever happens.
  • Fight for the side who seeks to destroy you, hoping they will spare you for your good behavior.

Of these three for most of us, fighting and winning against those who seek to destroy you is our only option. Except instead of us, it is children who suffer.  It is children who get less options. It is children who can’t complain that resources that once came to them at their desks, are now quietly siphoned off to wealthy hands sticking out across all our three counties…

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It’s a war.  and what can you do?

Clearly you need to opt out of the test this spring…  The test hurts children. The test destroys schools and teachers. The test allows more charters to invade Wilmington.  Opting out of this test is the ultimate vote by all citizens over whether this policy shall go forward.  If this state has to disqualify these test results… by mass opt-outs of all its citizens, this takeover will not go forward.

YOU are directly responsible for your child’s educational outcome… Your actions to opt-out or not opt-out, will ultimately decide the future upon which your children, your grandchildren, your neighbor’s children will inherit… These are your schools. Not the DOE’s. These are your communities. not the DOE’s. This is about you, not the DOE.

There is a war going on against Public education; that same education that gave most of you the tools you still use today.

Standardized tests do not determine a child’s worth…  You can make that quite clear to those who seek to use them to destroy public education by opting out…..

It can even be classified as an unjust war, and we have been attacked by a well thought-out long-planned process… In war… all things are fair, or so our mom’s told us…

Opting out of the Smarter Balanced in this state, with a DOE which seems to pretend to listen to you, its citizens, but who’s actions certainly show the opposite to be true….

“They seek to change the people’s law, if it does not suit their purpose…”  You need no more evidence.

It’s done. On to the next one.  Many attempts were made to influence and change one vote.  And that one vote decided as it did… All 7 voted for what they thought was in the best interests of their students.  It may not be the way all wanted.  It may turn out very bad… But going backwards just now became a waste of everyone’s time.

All eyes need to focus forward as we all try to figure out how to land this thing…  It says a lot about human nature. If you strip away all the details, the main thrust of tonight’s argument came down to this:… a decision to choose either the “known”, or an  “unknown”…  The “unknowns” could lead to magnificent growth, enriched prosperity, or the new freedom to teach as only teachers can.  But It could also have lead to a forced closure; returning to the original MOU, where the new owners would be KIPP, who would then fire 50% of the teachers and hire Teach for America to fill in.

The “knowns” will not lead us to such great hopeful possibilities… Nor will they lead to closure of the schools. With tonight’s vote, the very good is foregone; the very bad is prevented…

This time, things were not bad enough to vote for “nothing left to lose”.. That sentiment across the time-frame of human existence, is usually the only time when great daring changes ever get made, when truly, “there is nothing left to lose”.

This was not that time.  If things work, that time may never come… If things don’t, we are one step closer to when it will….

I wanted to take time out this holiday with battle lines currently etched deep across our state’s educational system, not so much to point out what it is we don’t want, but to remind all that this fight is indeed worth having by reminding us of what is possible for New Castle County Schools, especially those within the city of Wilmington.

Children learn things quickly.  it’s our genes; If the brain grows, a growing child fills it up with whatever he has available: whether books, video games, twerking, or basketball.

Our problem which we face today is that we have many children in America who grow up, learning and filling their heads with things which are not being tested on corporate developed Standardized tests… We must accept that they are not stupid; they have for the most part the same number of brain cells as did we,   They just used them to study something other than our version of academics, because our version of academics was unavailable to them. Instead they developed neural connections relating to other things.

Example. If one never browses through an encyclopedia, one will never know what is in it.  If one does do so, then one has at least a better familiarity with those topics…  So to fix education in our cities, we need to work on early exposure, which basically inflates their universe very early in their development, so later neurons can be created out of knowledge particles later.

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Secondly we are a big country.  If a child is an artist, we will still need artists and forcing them into a spot as a mathematician is bad for them and their employer. “OK, Which one of you keeps drawing daisies on our investor reports?”

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Third, think back on your own development… What did you learn and what do you remember?  Most likely what you remember are those moments where your emotions dominated your thought process, whether you were happy or frightened, and you remembered those instances.  Research is now discovering  what we always knew about our selves, which is that when your emotions become stimulated, you remember that moment for a long time.  Emotions are what lay the groundwork of our memories, from our beginning to our end.

Anyone who has gone through our military’s basic training (except for the Navy, their’s is a joke), can attest to this. It is a very (both good and bad) emotional time, and one retains a lot.  You may love or hate your Drill Sargent, but he is the most effective driver of knowledge you’ll ever know.  Without him, learning can not be as thorough.

What works best for children who do learn, is for them to have a personal relationship with their teacher… If they love their teacher, then losing that return affection is an incentive not to do poorly.  No one disappoints those they love; if given a choice, they always disappoint those who don’t matter.

This is exactly why we need an 11:1 student teacher ratio in all our schools which have percentages of reduced lunch over 50%.  Let us look at the advantages of this.  An 11:1 student teacher ratio allows children to know the teacher, and more importantly, the teacher to know the child… It is this bond, especially among those who’ve never had a conversational relationship with an adult, that will cement knowledge into their child’s head.

High need children require more time.  With an 11:1 student teacher ratio (grades k-5; and grade 9)  in schools of high poverty,  a teacher can determine if the child is “getting it”, or if outside factors are preventing that child from moving forward.  Even if each child gets an additional hour per week, that is 11 hours spent (one full workday) on top of a full work week every teacher needs to spend… Now explain to me how a high school teacher who has 6 classes of 30 people can spend one hour per child?

Hopefully most readers have seen this before and know the critical factor in improving education is to have a positive relationship between each student and their teacher.  To achieve that, you need a ratio underneath the maximum of 11:1

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The next step is to pay for that.  Raising income taxes on the top 1% of Delaware would add $70 million per year to the revenue stream.  This $70 million should go on to insure that sufficient staffing exists in all schools with over 50% poverty levels.  Those schools must be at 11:1.  Therefore funding for that, needs to be done upfront.  By ignoring  that piece of the puzzle we will in turn, not discuss the most important piece of whether education succeeds or fails.  No one replaces their roof before they figure out how it will be paid.  This pay-piece must be in place for all other reforms to follow…

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Next, we need to educate children directly at the levels of their abilities…   If a child enters school with a vocabulary of 3000 words and his seat-mate enters with a 300 word vocabulary. teaching down the middle will benefit neither.. Both will be lost and unmotivated.  Plus children do not learn at the same time of time.  Some children learn fast early and slow down later; and others are cool to start, but catch fire later while the others are slowing down.  One can see the problems.

The best way to fix that is simple and ingenious.  You group children in groups of 11, based on similar test scores. If you have 440 kids in your elementary school,  you will have 40 teams of 11 students each and require 40 teachers. This allows each teacher to specialize in the individual needs of each of their students.   Her 11 person class might include those who scored between 500-550.  Her partner teachers in the same class, might have the 550-600 range and the third teacher in that classroom, might have  the 600-650 score range of students….

If lack of space requires it, this still allows 33 children in the same classroom while complying with the 11:1 ratio.   Each teacher’s job is to make sure their class of 11 understands all educational basics.  In this arrangement there should be no child held back for a year, (unless outside circumstances come into play). The child with low vocabulary works on growing it. The child with a huge vocabulary, works on growing his as well. Each can apply themselves fully to the task at hand.  And there is certain to be intellectual crossover in the same class where what is learned by the top group, gets picked up by the lower two…

With proper funding, this arrangement works on so many fronts.  it allows for specialization by each teacher since their groups are homogenized by test scores, but the entire room remains full of diversity.

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Fourth, we need to phase out Charter Schools.  Or to be more precise, make them no longer compete against public schools for funds.  Instead, fund Charter Schools out of line items in the state budget.  We currently do so with vocational schools.  If a child wants to go to vocational school, he goes and his school money does not follow him; it stays in his feeder school.  This would allow public schools to keep their money and properly allocate the experimental funding of charters to the correct repository of that research: the state DOE.  It would also serve as a revenue boost for each public school competing against charters, one coming without the raising of property taxes district wide.

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There are two more planks which we  can cover later.  For now, I want you to see how easy it would be to provide education on the world class level with that of Finland by carrying forward four simple steps.

  • 1)  11:1 student teacher ration in schools over 50% poverty line
  • 2)  Tax the top 1% to cover increased expenses.
  • 3)  Group children with others scoring as did they on the test.
  • 4)  Eliminate Charter’s drain on public education.

Hopefully this easy solution to today’s educational problems, is deemed worthy of fighting over.  Because it is.

It’s official! By 2050 whites are the minority.  So who will run things?  Currently all population trends point out those lucky ones will be today’s least educated.  History over the last century showed two ways these reins of power can be exchanged… One happened in the former nation of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, The other was South Africa. Whites need to hope and pray the South African model becomes the one chosen.  There is no guarantee America will be great forever.. Either of these choices can happen and the wrong one will cause the economic collapse of this country.

Today’s child entering kindergarten THIS YEAR, will be 40 when that shift occurs…  Today’s child will be running the country when if lucky we in our 80’s and 90’s will be completely dependent upon them….

This past class year, we needed to have these true reforms in place.  We are already behind one year… How many more years does it take before we finally drop this charade which lets wealthy get rich by appearing to help lower economic levels get an education, and instead, …make the right choices which immediately start giving them a real education?  

Let us cover this one more time… They would “like” your child to take the test, but they do not have any forceful way to make you comply… Just like a used car salesman would “like” you to buy an underwater car off of him, but has no way to “make” you buy it.   And like that car salesman in a little hut on the side of the road somewhere, the DOE will try to do all it can to convince you that your child must take those horrible tests…..

Let’s look at what they have, shall we? (DOE In red; truth is black)

The Smarter Balanced assessments are a key part of implementing the Common Core State Standards 

True That. Question being, do we want those standards?

State Standards prepare all students for success in college and career

Standards are ink on paper. They cannot do action. They prepare nothing. Only teachers can prepare students.  Most experts feel the new standards will be less successful at preparing students for “life” than the old standards…

Delaware’s move to the Smarter Balanced assessment system replaces previous tests, offering significant improvements over assessments of the past.

True again, and although all standard testing is suspect, this test is one of the most ridiculous tests ever offered. It is unquestionably a step backwards.

The Smarter assessments provide an academic checkup by measuring real-world skills such as critical thinking and problem solving.

No one believes this who has taken their child’s test.. If any thinking skills are involved, it is in solving why one should have their child take this test. Have you taken your child’s grade’s test?  Click here and you can do so… Take the actual test and then tell me if YOU think this applies to YOUR job, or the jobs of anyone YOU ever knew?  Go ahead… Take the test….

In addition, through optional formative assessments and a digital resource library and interim item bank, Smarter provides information during the year to give teachers and parents a better picture of where students are succeeding and where they need help.

The resources are available but with the DOE’s entire attention currently focused on bringing Charter Schools into Wilmington, these tools provided nationally are under-utilized, if ever utilized at all.  Very few children have had class time to check them out.  It’s as if cubicle people in Washington and Dover think kids and teachers sit around for the first hour, and say… “Gee, I wonder what we will do today….”
In Delaware, the purpose of state testing is to ensure students get the help they need to graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to make the most of their talents.

This has been completely debunked.  In Delaware the purpose of state testing is to ensure that public schools appear badly enough so that people will flock to the new charter schools.   It begs comparison to a child with one leg who can’t jump over a three foot bar, so you raise the bar to 5 feet and threaten to fire his coach if he doesn’t succeed…. (you are obviously hoping the coach fudges the results of the test and you can say, see, how great I am? I raised scores..

The Delaware Department of Education recognizes state testing as an important part of understanding how schools, districts, and the state are doing in educating and preparing students for college and careers.

Standardized state testing has been repeatedly debunked for showing bad data…  so many studies have proven conclusively that test scores only show income level.  Test scores correlate directly with the rise and fall of the parents income levels. Super great schools embedded in impoverished areas are deemed failing, (they aren’t; they are making fantastic progress when analyzed by professional methods), and poor and mediocre and unchallenging schools are deemed enterprising and successful when only test scores are used to make that determination…

Basically these tests, rooted in the north Mid-west, only measure exactly how closely the tester thinks like the test creator, and unless one was privileged to have grown up in that environment, one really has no idea. Things like that are not taught between ages 1 and 3, that important time-frame when the brain sets up its language framework, and therefore each tester must choose their answer making the most sense to them. It is usually marked wrong. 

This is the primary way we can know if we are making appropriate progress toward educating students on the academic standards.

But it was not always so.  We have other tests. One is called the PSAT. Another called the SAT. Another optional one, called the ACT.  We have the NAEP. And we have the PISA.  If you want to take a good assessment, to compare it to the bad, take the NAEP for your child’s grade...  This very bad Smarter Balanced Assessment was created instead of using all these other internationally accepted good tests, which were already available to compare schools’ progress

Student testing also helps districts and schools identify if there are specific populations within their school that are behind and may need extra assistance.

But why do we have to fail 70% of the students on a new test  to make these comparisons when that data is already available with the DCAS and the DSTP prior to that?

And state testing helps parents understand how their child is doing in comparison to students in other schools.

Which gets to the whole point of pushing charter schools.  Charter schools who can bully and kick out disabled and poor students, “appear” to have higher scores than schools who have to take in those rejects.  No parent is going to pull their child out of a public school which has been given a top grade by their local university, and put them in one which if run by the Delaware Charter Association, has a 35% chance of closing!  But they certainly will consider it if their child comes home crying his eyes out over the Smarter Balance Assessment and they see higher scores in a charter school nearby…  Get it now?

That said, we cannot spend precious student and teacher time on assessments that do not offer this important information.

WHOA!  Extremely false statement.  Again, what the Smarter Balanced Assessment does in plain language, is test your child two grades ahead. If your child is in third, the tests rise to the  5th grade complexity on the old tests (DCAS).  If your child is in 6th grade, his test lies at an 8th grade difficulty.  If your child is in 11th, he is tested to see if he is currently ready for college courses.   This does not offer information any different than the other tests mentioned above.. In fact if offers far less….

For if you have a very hard test in which most children have no idea what it is about, all of the children will fail… Let’s assume 70% of the scores are below 10%…. This is one big lump of students.  How can you differentiate, if all the kids get all the questions wrong because they are too hard?  Statistically, you can’t.   Were the test far easier, then some students would be in the 10’s, some in the 20’s, some in the 30’s, some in the 40’s, some in the 50’s, some in the 60’s, and some who passed.  Once gaining the wider spread, one has better statistics to determine. These tests will limit knowledge, not grow it.

The Delaware Department of Education over the past two years has eliminated some required tests and its switch this year to the Smarter assessments will reduce the number of times students take the state English language arts and mathematics assessments from up to three times a year to only one.

True. The testing is less, but the stakes are higher.  If your child passed last year’s test, he has a 70% chance of failing this year… Got it?  That is because he is getting tested 2 grades above his grade level for which there is no way he can be prepared.  The previous tests were excessive in number but they correctly showed what a child knew at the beginning and learned across the year... Ironically these old tests the Department of Education hereby dismiss, ARE THE VERY ONES BEING USED TO JUSTIFY THE CLOSING OF ALL SCHOOLS IN WILMINGTON, WHETHER THEY BE OLD CHARTER OR PUBLIC SCHOOLS.  It seems the Department discounts the tests only when it suits their purpose, and holds them in high regards… also when it suits their purpose.

The reason for opting out of the test is to protect your child and to stop this entire process from grinding children up further; these tests have only one reason: to further discredit public schools in hopes it opens the market for more charters to enter.  (Charter Schools except for the most exceptional, all tend to do worse than schools of public education.)

There are no provisions in state or federal regulation that allow Delaware to have a system for parents to refuse student assessment.

There are also no provisions in state or federal regulation that allow you to eat Peanut-Butter sandwiches.  Nor is there any provision in state or federal regulation that allow you to wear stiletto heels.  It is exactly like there are no provisions in state or federal regulation that allow you to lie in your backyard and look up at cloud formations…

Which means you can do it.  Right here the Delaware Department of Education acknowledges that they have no power to make you stop your child from taking “their” test….   New Jersey admitted it two weeks ago.. Delaware expressly admits it here… 

There is no way to enforce you as a parent force your child to take the test… They can’t force their hands to move on the keyboard….

But of course… they would “like” your child to take the test they wasted $119 million dollars creating…  So they will try to bluff, plead, beg, and do all those things used car salesmen do when you tell them no.. You aren’t interested. They can’t make you buy it…

In addition, state and federal laws are clear that there is an expectation that all students will participate in the state assessment system.

These laws were made without teacher, student, or parent input.  They were never debated in public. They were signed, sealed, and became official policy before anyone knew what they would bring.  We now know what they will bring… 70% failure rate over a test that exists only to fail students by rates as high as 70%… It is not college or career ready, yet the old tests were. And you only have to take it yourself as an adult, to understand why all parents so far who have taken it are 100% determined their child WILL NOT TAKE THIS TEST.    (Seriously, did you take the test yet?)

The only instances in which students can be excluded relate to exemption requests. Only two reasons are allowable for requests for exemptions: extreme medical incidents or for reasons of mental health of the child (each requires documentation from a physician).

If you have a child in either of those categories, go ahead and make the case and opt out… The reason they insist on full participation, is that when these laws were put in, to ensure that the firings that came afterward would be fair, as well as the school closures, it was insisted that 95% of students had to take the test for results to be valid.   If only 94% take it, the scores are deemed statistically unfit and no firings or school closures can be enacted off test scores alone.

Since test scores only measure the poverty or lack of poverty in ones parents before their child starts kindergarten, getting enough people not to take the test to make these results non-usable is indeed a worthy goal.  If the tests results are not viable and we only need about 7,000 out of 120,000 to reach that level, then the DOE will need to find another way, one that is more fair to measure, compare, schools, districts, and teachers… This time it will be open for debate.  And when it comes to what is best for our children?  Debate is a good thing…

State Code: http://delcode.delaware.gov/title14/c001/sc04/index.shtml
ESEA, Subpart 1, Subsection 1111(b)(3):
http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/pg2.html

And if you want to see for yourself that there is no violation listed for opting out,  check the above link listing all that is considered a violation… 

Opting out is good for you, your kids, your teachers, your school… Taking the test is good only for those who crafted, bought, and used RTTT money to pay for this test just so they could bring charters into Wilmington….

When FFA (Family Foundations Academywas administering the DSTP tests, one teacher would block all the windows with paper and would place candy on the correct answers while the students were taking the test.  This teacher would NOT open the locked door until all the tests were done and in their bag.

This school rigged the game.  Honest schools didn’t… Standardized testing can never be a method of comparing education. Never. Never. Never.

Seriously, I know I sound like a glitch on a CD, but it is time for all of Delaware’s parents to rise up and opt out of taking the Standard Test….  Keep your kids at home those days in protest…

We only need 7000 opting out to nullify the entire test with the Feds… We are shooting for 70,000!