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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.

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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.

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….

This scandal is big because it involves a state which went down the charter path in a big way; one which is template for the current model which Delaware’s current administration is using…

Under Democratic Governor Cuomo, New York has done what the Democratic Governor of Delaware is trying to do. Force Charter Schools upon families.

And here are the results long predicted, now official.

Overall, schools in poorer districts spent $8,733 per pupil less in 2012 than those from wealthier ones, an inequity that grew by nearly 9% from before Cuomo took office in 2011, according to the study by a coalition of education advocacy groups opposing many of the reforms pushed by Cuomo…

This has long been predicted and long dismissed by Charter advocates who continue to say, there is no harm in allowing Charter Schools.

Charter schools by allowing choice, allow funds to leave public schools and go to private operators.  Those private operators are under no obligation to meet the public school’s level of teaching.  So those in charter schools end up with inferior eduction, and those remaining in the underfunded public schools also get inferior education, and the net result is an educational decline.

The only way too boost standards is to boost education in public schools, which (unlike Charter schools) are accountable and because of that, do a far better job.

Those wishing to reform education by making it less public, are not reforming education towards any student’s best interest.  They want education reformed so it provides their investors a better return. not a better return for every one of the public-good’s dollar being spent..

If you listened to Al Mascitti on WDEL today with El Som you got the impression that nearly everyone is now scratching their head over how and why Jack Markell and Mark Murphy and Rodel and Senator Dave Sokola,  are completely destroying the public school system across Northern New Castle County’s three districts.

Exceptional Delaware puts it together.

if your motivation is to enrich your pockets, then Mom and Pop charters don’t do it for you… They have no money spread around… But… if you deal with the largest charter school corporations who cover a national scale, for example, then there would be lots of money of which, ummm.. bribes could be hidden.

Going through the charter application process is too tedious and would create a political firestorm so large in Delaware that a charter school organization would not fare well.

But, if one simply hands over a school to a charter management company, says “here are the keys, goodbye,” then those companies become entrenched and the public is shut out completely. No review. No accountability.

  • Hence the insistence of priority school leaders answerable to no one.
  • Hence the insistence of renegotiating priority union contracts to nothing at all
  • Hence the insistence of firing half the priority teachers and allowing subs to do the heavy educational lifting.

This is privatization being done without public’s approval. Like giving away the Port of Wilmington. Or selling I 95 to be hit with $4 toll booths to and from Wilmington….

It is the equivalent of a low-life spouse secretly selling the family house and the car, and surprising his partner,  “Hey, Girl, I’m divorcing you; C U….” and flying off with a suitcase of 100 dollar bills.  Although the house belonged to the family; one member made deals in secret and legally absconded with the money.

That is what is going down.   That puts everything in perspective.  That sensibly explains what otherwise makes no sense.

These 6 schools belong to the public. We paid for them; we own them.  They cannot and should not be simply handed over to a crafty mistress who for a year has secretly been calling the shots…. Someone is getting paid.  We desperately need an…., oh crap, we elected Tom Wagner, didn’t we?  😦

SEPTEMBER 4, 2014   THREE CHRISTINA SCHOOLS NAMED “PRIORITY SCHOOLS BY THE DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
CHRISTINA BOARD PASSES RESOLUTION ON MOU FOR “PRIORITY SCHOOLS”

OCTOBER 2, 2014
CHRISTINA WELCOMES INVITATION TO COLLABORATE

OCTOBER 15, 2014
CHRISTINA PLANS MEETINGS ON PRIORITY SCHOOLS

OCTOBER 16, 2014  PRIORITY SCHOOLS SCOPE AND FRAMEWORK MEETING
3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Drew Educational Support Center
600 N. Lombard Street
Wilmington, DE 19801

10/17/2014  PRIORITY SCHOOLS SCOPE AND FRAMEWORK MEETING
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Location: Drew Educational Support Center
600 N. Lombard Street
Wilmington, DE 19801

OCTOBER 22, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Bancroft Elementary School Priority School Meeting

OCTOBER 22, 3:15-4:45 p.m.
Stubbs Elementary School Priority School Meeting

OCTOBER 24, 2014   CHRISTINA INVOLVING STAKEHOLDERS IN CONVERSATIONS ABOUT PRIORITY SCHOOLS

October 27, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Priority School Update with the Superintendent

October 28, 2:30-4:00 p.m.
Bayard Middle School Priority School Meeting

>October 29, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Bancroft Elementary School Priority School Meeting

October 29, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Priority Schools Update with the Superintendent

October 30, 3:15-4:45 p.m.
Stubbs Elementary School Priority Schools Meeting

November 3, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Priority Schools Update with the Superintendent
Bancroft Elementary School Library

November 5, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Bancroft Elementary School Priority School Meeting

November 7, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Priority Schools Core Planning Team Meeting

November 10, 9:00- 10:00 a.m.
Priority Schools Legislative Coffee

November 10 ~ 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Priority Schools Update with the Superintendent
Newark High School Cafeteria

November 12, 8:00-9:00 a.m.
Priority Schools Legislative Coffee
Eden Support Services Center Cafeteria

November 12, 2:30-4:00 p.m.
Bayard Middle School Priority School Meeting

November 13, 3:15-4:45 p.m.
Stubbs Elementary School Priority School Meeting

November 14, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Priority Schools Core Planning Team Meeting
Drew Educational Support Center

November 18, 2:30-4:00 p.m.
Bayard Middle School Priority School Meeting
Bayard Middle School Libarary

November 19, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Bancroft Elementary School Priority School Meeting
Bancroft Elementary School Library

November 20, 3:15-4:45 p.m.
Stubbs Elementary School Priority School Meeting

November 21, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Priority Schools Core Planning Team Meeting

December 2, 2:30-4:00 p.m.
Bayard Middle School Priority School Meeting

DECEMBER 3, 2014   Two “Priority” Schools Receive High Scores on Comprehensive Reviews Conducted by the Delaware Department of Education and the University of Delaware

December 3, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Bancroft Elementary School Priority School Meeting

December 4, 3:15-4:45 p.m.
Stubbs Elementary School Priority School Meeting

December 5, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Priority Schools Core Planning Team
Drew Educational Support Center

December 9, 2:30-4:00 p.m.
Bayard Middle School Priority School Meeting

December 10, 3;30-5:00 p.m.
Bancroft Elementary School Priority School Meeting

December 11, 3:15-4:45 p.m.
Stubbs Elementary School Priority School Meeting

December 12, 3:00 -5:00 p.m.
Priority Schools Core Planning Team

December 15 ~ 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Priority Schools Update with the Superintendent
Sarah Pyle Academy Auditorium

DECEMBER 15, 2014   Delaware Department of Education Not in Agreement with District’s Recommended Candidates for “Priority” School Principals

December 19, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Priority Schools Core Planning Team
Drew Educational Support Center

As we boil down to the final clock tick, consultation is critical.  Here was DOE Chief Proficiency Officer Penny Schwinn’s answer to the request of a meeting…..

“My hours of availability during those two final days. (sigh, eye roll, and upward blow of bangs across the forehead) The longest block of time i can provide is two hours, but only if we can meet in Wilmington, between 9-11am on Friday.”

A) A teacher who cares that they learn and who knows them.

B) Adequate resources to allow them to become curious about their world.

C) Fair Accountability by someone they know who can explain the “why’s” to them.

D) An environment of positivity.

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None of these will be met under Mark Murphy’s plan to prioritize schools in Wilmington.  Nor will they be met in Great Oak’s Charter School opening up in 2015 at Rodney Square Wilmington.  They can only be met in existing public schools with adequate teaching resources, experienced direction, and human accountability funneled in…

January 6. We celebrate the Wise Men. King Herod had his soldiers kill all the babies under age two residing in Bethlehem when informed as to the nature of their visit. .  There was nothing the townspeople could do.  One day soldiers knocked on their door to run their swords through their little babies. Do not be the ones assisting our own King Herod, allowing him to unleash on our children of 6 schools…  You have fight it.  And You have to fight them.

I can see no real choice other than voting down the Department of Education’s plan and setting up a pitched battle for the next stage..  Yes they may win. but it is not foregone that they will. If you fight them… there is always the chance they may not… And that is a chance I think, which comes only once in a life, that is worth taking…

Had I been a soldier in King Herod’s court when he gave that decree, I would have put an arrow through his eye. Damn the repercussions.

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!

The testing results are in from last spring and line up slightly less than where we predicted.

In Math:

Third Grade:   61% shall fail.

Fourth Grade:  62.5% shall fail.

Fifth Grade:  67% shall fail.

Sixth Grade:  67.1% shall fail.

Seventh Grade:  67.1% shall fail.

Eighth Grade:  68% shall fail.

Eleventh Grade: 67.2% shall fail.

In English Language Arts. 

Third Grade:   61.9% shall fail.

Fourth Grade:  59.4% shall fail.

Fifth Grade:  56.2% shall fail.

Sixth Grade:  59.4% shall fail.

Seventh Grade:  61.9% shall fail.

Eighth Grade:  58.6% shall fail.

Eleventh Grade:  59.1% shall fail.

One should note that these were specially-picked schools to undertake the test.  One would assume state chiefs would pick their better schools in order to receive more detailed feedback from the testing surveys which followed the taking of the test.

Therefore close to 70% failure rate is a real possibility…

This begs some immediate questions.  Are we going to hold 60% of our students in all grades, back for one year? For if the students don’t have it locked down at their current grade level enough to go forward, they will then have to learn two levels at once if one is to expect any improvement.  That is impossible.

Will results of this test be waived when it comes time to hold everyone accountable?  Surely you can’t hold 60% of children, especially those little ones in third, fourth, and fifth, for knowledge that was sprung on them without warning?  None of us do well in that scenario.

Will 60% of our schools be closed because 80% of their student body is not college-career ready?  Even those where their oldest student is barely 12?

According to Secretary of Education Mark Murphy, yes to all of the above.  According to Governor Jack Markell, yes to all of the above.  According to Dave Sokola… yes to all of the above.  The problem has to be the kids… what other excuse could their possibly be except that the schools aren’t doing their jobs…

Well there is a more likely option. The problem could be the test.  For example I could make up a geography test and ask what the capital city of Ohio is and might, even here in Delaware, get correct answers… Or I could ask students to name 8 of the suburbs surrounding the capital city of Ohio…  Those who knew ahead that this question would be given, would be the only ones able to answer.  Likewise among adults, only those who had intimate knowledge of Columbus Ohio, would be able to answer that question…   In my case of testing students… their low scores would be the fault of the test-maker.  Not the student…

One can control the number of right answers by controlling the questions being given….  Would you like to see some of those questions?

A cereal company uses rectangular boxes for cereal.  There dimensions are:

12″ high

8″ wide

2″ deep.

They want a new size. They will have to be rectangular prisms.  The company will offer a design, and then you will have to create and propose your own design for the company.

The new boxes have to use less cardboard than the old boxes.  And they have to hold the same or more cereal.

1) Determine the volume of the current cereal box with the dimensions listed above. Find the volume (V) in cubic inches.     V =  _______ cubic inches cubed.

2) Label dimensions of the net for the current cereal box with dimensions 12″ height, 8″ wide, and 2″ deep.

3) Determine the surface area in square inches S of the current cereal box with the above dimensions.  S  = ___ inches squared.

4) The company proposes a box of 10.5 high, 7.5 wide and 4 inches deep.  It is a rectangular prism.  Determine if this box meets the new requirements.  Explain why or why not.

5) Design a new cereal box for this company.  All cereal boxes are rectangular prisms. Then explain why your box is better for the company, meeting all the requirements. In your response, give the dimensions of the new box; and explain how your box meets the requirements for the new box.

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What I find absolutely amazing is that 30% of Warner’s, Shortlidge’s, Stubb’s, Highland’s, Bancroft’s students did questions this complex and difficult and got them right!….  YET THEY SAY THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH INNER CITY SCHOOLS?  That is an amazing figure considering what many in that school, located in the inner city, have to undergo every night the leave the protection of that school until they arrive into it again the next morning…

SOMEONE SHOULD BE ABSOLUTELY ASHAMED TO PRIORITIZE ANY SCHOOL WHERE 30% OF ITS KIDS CAN ANSWER AND PASS THAT QUESTION ON THE SMARTER BALANCED ASSESSMENT.

There is nothing wrong with these children who fail. Just like there is nothing wrong with those teachers who can get at least 30% of inner city children to pass this test, just like there is nothing wrong where any school can get little 6th graders to answer this complicated problem (similar to those we faced in college geometry) now being given to little kids in the sixth grade…

Do you remember what you were doing in the sixth grade math?  We were doing long-handed division.  Our goal was to master that before entering 7th grade.  No designing boxes for Wal*mart (talk about cheap labor).  We were dividing repetitiously three digit numbers into 4 and 5 digit numbers and writing down the remainders….  7 years later I was doing calculus with ease.

Here is the knuckle sandwich slipped in for the clincher…. WE are testing kids in 6 grade to determine if they are college or career ready and then failing their schools, closing them down, turning them into charters, if 70% of those students are not…

It has to stop… And having one entire state opt of of taking the test… will cause this entire insane process to stop in its tracks, to be reassessed again, this time rightly by parents, teachers and administrators… Not by pigs in a blanket guaranteed big fat paychecks only if they fail enough students. 

Kilroy directed our attention to this Kool Aid letter published by the News Journal...  From its content we can deduce the author does not have children in school, nor does he have experience as a student in a charter school.  Just shows the News Journal will print anything…  and likewise, perhaps it is all good as long as the errors are pointed out for all to see.

The premise of the article supports its headline. Charter schools best choice for children..

What the author does not know, is that his readership passed that level of astuteness a long time ago.  Let me author some comparable headlines so you can gauge the incredulous effect this has upon the general public….

  • Charter Schools best choice for children.
  • Global warming is hoax; thermometers were programed to lie.
  • Sea Levels Are Not Rising; Land is sinking from increased number of vehicles.
  • Lower taxes create jobs; And cause deficit to fall to zero.
  • Santa Clause is a real man; because we can see him in the movie Elf.

All require the same low level of sophistication to be believed…..

Briefly let us look at the reasons stated erroneously (but with good intent), as to why charters are allegedly the best choice for children.

“I know that charter schools allow children to hone their skills in any activity that they choose to be in.”

Below is the reality: recommended by Delaware’s Charter School Association as performed in a neighboring state’s charter school

“Students were expected to stand up and “mirror” instructions using a Whole Brain Teaching technique at the beginning of lessons. They used “mirror talk” – repeating verbatim what the teacher just said. After “mirroring” some snippet of knowledge, for example “9 x 3 = 27” or “adverbs modify verbs,” they had to return to the carpet and have a mini-lesson related to that fact, using “Turn and Talk,” when students repeat the information to another student sitting near them, and “Teach/Okay,” when students repeat in unison verbatim what the teacher just said using the same tone of voice and gestures. Every word, every gesture is supposed to be done exactly so, no variations. In a class using Whole Brain Teaching, every few minutes you hear the teacher say, “Class, class” and the class responding, “Yes, yes” then the teacher says, “Hands and eyes,” and the class responds, “Hands and eyes,” silently putting their folded hands on their desks and looking at the teacher, tracking the teacher with their eyes wherever the teacher moves around the room. If any student is not sitting properly, silent, hands folded, the teacher says, “I need you to sit like a scholar.” Then the teacher says, “Mirror, mirror words,” and the teacher runs her hand across her mouth like zipping it shut. When the teacher says, for example, “How do we use math,” and pauses, the students repeat, “How do we use math,” and the teacher then says, “Every day,” and the students repeat, “Every day.” Then the teacher claps three times and says, “Teach,” and the students clap three times and say, “Okay.” This directive to “teach,” preceded by a formulaic pattern of clapping that the students mimic, followed by the students saying the word “okay” is a basic Whole Brain Teaching technique. Students then repeat what the teacher said using the “buzzing bee” level of talking which is allowed in the classroom for this activity. Each student addresses a partner using the same words, the same intonation. There is no intelligence involved on the part of the students, no critical thinking skills engaged, no independent thinking, no creativity. In this example, what follows is the students taking turns saying, “How do we use math every day?” first one student in a pair, then the second one in the pair, the students facing each other for this part of the lesson. Then the teacher says, “Hands and eyes,” and the students are quiet again, facing the front of the room, with hands folded.

“Charter schools provide choices for children who want to join the military, specialize in music, or pursue a career in finance or science.”

Take, for instance, one young charter school alumnae who passed all her classes in the 9th grade but was retained because she “failed behavior.” She was extroverted and a bit rebellious as my middle school student, so I wasn’t surprised to learn that she had broken her charter high school’s arbitrary rules (with 37 detentions), which among other things prohibit dying hair an unnatural color (say, pink or green), wearing dangling earrings instead of studs and talking in the hallway between classes. I was shocked, however, that the punishment was to hold her back, making her take the classes she had passed again to make her attitude “college ready.” One year of her life taken away.

“Charter schools can identify a child’s skills and enhance those skills while simultaneously instructing them with the basic educational needs every child should receive.”

I was told that the lower performing students should not be part of the whole class discussion of the stories in the reading textbook and they should be listening to the stories from CDs individually using earphones. They would miss out on the points other students brought up about the stories and they would be essentially penalized for their lower skills by being separated from the other students in the class. Basically make stupid black people, stupider.

Charter schools provide parents with alternative choices for school in case a parent does not agree with private and public schooling.

“I don’t want my kid going to school with no blacks!!! ”  “Oh, yes sir… Right here in this charter school, we proudly staff 66% white students (Newark Charter); Can’t find that in a public school!  And in this school, 94% (Wilm. Charter) of its students are NOT black… We certainly believe in removing the dark shadows from our schools, (wink, wink) if you know what I mean…

Charter schools allow children to be more diverse and interact with people from all over the country and world.

KIPP’s professional development, “was devoted entirely to classroom management strategies: the practice of giving directions and mandating that 100 percent of the students follow the directions.” And, of course, maintaining silence.  Not only, says Radding, were kindergarteners required to spend most of the day with legs crossed and hands in their laps. “They had to inflate their mouths to look like a bubble so they wouldn’t make any sounds.”  A dog trainer once stated: “I wouldn’t put my dog in that school,” “A conspicuous feature of the regulated environment, is an insistence on continuous compliance to perverted rules that shadow children throughout the day.”  These schools create “totalizing environments” through “systematic behavioral engineering” — drills, chants, and near-constant behavioral reinforcement. And punishment far more excessive than the crime.

“I have the foresight in knowing that enrolling them in a charter school setting will educate my children to their desire, and in turn they will be more willing to learn and practice their hobbies at the same time.”

Patterns of targeted exclusion plague the charter-school sector, whose enrollment trends have long suggested many vulnerable kids leave, or are removed from, the student body before graduation.  Bizarrely, charter high schools regularly trumpet 100 percent college-going rates with graduating classes that are a fraction of their freshman size. Culled state data shows that between fifth and twelfth grade, charter schools lose around three-quarters of its black boys — a demographic group that disproportionately faces corrections.

Bottom line, is charter schools cause more hurt than help.  They could be good if run well. But when run for money, all problems that creep up inside corporations, now happen in schools…

Every child who goes to a charter school, hurts 4 others who remain in public school.  Until this issue is remedied, and can be simply by funding charters as are vocational schools, by lines in state budgets, charter schools will always bring down the education levels in districts wherever they are introduced….

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I hope for the author’s sake, when it does come time to put his child in school, he will by then be aware that only 17% of charter schools perform better than the feeder schools in their district… Much worse, 37% of all charters perform WORSE than the feeder Public schools near their location… Meaning that the remaining 46% of charters maintain the status quo… No better, and cost those public districts valuable dollars better spent on all children. not just those of a hand picked elite.

This letter to the editor is embarrassing by its lack of facts.  If writing in public, it pays to know something beforehand before stating an opinion one has not bothered to look into yet.