DOE Considering Replacing SAT With Smarter Balanced Assessment, Markell’s “Assessment Reduction” Plan Has Been In The Works For 6 Months, & School Turnaround News

Originally posted on Exceptional Delaware:

Chief Accountability and Performance Officer Penny Schwinn, at the Delaware Department of Education, gave a presentation on the Smarter Balanced Assessment to the State Board of Education today.  Schwinn indicated the Smarter Balanced Assessment may potentially be considered to replace the SAT in 11th grade for Delaware students.  She claimed that other states are doing this already.

The main part of the presentation was the five-year Smarter Balanced Assessment plan.  Schwinn and Dr. Carolyn Lazar, another associate at the Delaware DOE, talked about the recent “assessment reduction” initiative that had some rather revealing and shocking acknowledgments.  The DOE has spent the past six months reviewing state assessments and found there is a lot of replication across the state.  Their goals in this review have been to make sure assessments align to the state standards, yield valuable reports on student progress, adhere to best practices statewide, and align with the system…

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Did Delaware’s largest school district school board tell Governor Markell to kiss butt re: parent test opt-out?

Red Clay eNews March 20, 2015

Opt-Out Resolution Approved by Board

By a vote of 6 to 0, the Red Clay Board of Education approved a resolution at its April meeting supporting the right of a parent to “opt-out” their child from state standardized testing, with no repercussions.  Board member Cathy Thompson was unable to attend the meeting. 

Last month, board member Adriana Bohm announced that she would introduce such a resolution. The full text  of the resolution can be found  Here

Delaware charter schools losing luster ! Can’t fill seats~!

3 Delaware charter schools short on enrollment  Matthew Albright, The News Journal

Three New Castle County charter schools are having trouble finding enough students, raising questions about whether too many charter school are competing against each other and traditional schools for students. 

State officials placed Freire Charter School, Delaware Design Lab High School and Prestige Academy on “formal review” Thursday because the schools are well short of their enrollment targets.

Not sure what the hell is going on but one thing for sure , ever since Delaware Charter Schools Network got and new leader more charters struggle and fall victim to closure.

Legislation to kill the 5 mile charter school preference in the pipeline

148th General Assembly

House Bill 83

Primary Sponsor(s):


Additional Sponsor(s):    Sen. Henry


Rep. Potter; Sen. McDowell

Introduced On:


Long Title:


Synopsis of Bill:

This bill requires that all charter schools not discriminate against applicants based on their homes’ location in comparison to the school. The bill also eliminates the possibility of a preference in the charter. Thus, this bill eases the restrictions on the enrollment process for students residing within a 5-mile radius of the school.

Current Status: House Education Committee   On  04/16/2015

Another Delaware charter school falls at the hands of Governor Markell and he calls it courage!

Reach Academy lawsuit rejected, closure imminent MATTHEW ALBRIGHT AND JESSICA MASULLI REYES, THE NEWS JOURNAL 

A Chancery Court judge rejected the Reach Academy for Girls charter school’s last-ditch legal attempt to stave off closure after the Department of Education revoked its charter last year.

The Department said Reach’s test scores were so low that it could not justify keeping the school open, but the school sued, arguing the Department didn’t sufficiently consider evidence it, parents and supporters presented.

Delaware PTA shames Governor Markell on his go-it-alone education agenda! @usedgov #netde @delawareonline @FoxNews @WSJ @HuffingtonPost @nytimes @washingtonpost

Delaware PTA’s Response to Press Release on SBAC and DE Higher Ed Institutions 

In a statement made today by Governor Markell, Delaware PTA learned that the four colleges; Wilmington University, University of Delaware, Delaware Technical and Community College and Delaware State University have all agreed that the outcomes of the 11th grade Smarter Balanced Assessments is a good indicator of college readiness. In addition, these institutions have all agreed to accept the assessment in lieu of other placement exams.

At a time when there is so much turbulence in our public education system, we are disheartened to learn that the conversations that proceeded this major conclusion did not include input from any of our major stakeholders. The Delaware Department of Education and the Governor’s office have publicly committed to greater transparency and collaboration with the broader community, yet Delaware PTA, the Delaware State Education Association, state legislators and other community stakeholders were not only excluded from these conversations, but we only learned of this decision a few hours prior to the public announcement.

We believe the lack of a collaborative process has resulted in misguided decisions regarding the efficacy of the Smarter Balanced Assessments, further misleading parents and students.

While Delaware PTA supports the use of assessments with a growth model that will effectively and adequately measure student growth and college and career readiness, we stand by our previous statements, citing the following concerns with the Smarter Balanced Assessments:

1. In its current form, the SBAC does not provide a true growth model;

2. In its current form, the SBAC is overly subjective and not an accurate assessment of student knowledge, skills and abilities;

3. Our educators have not had sufficient time to teach and our students have not had sufficient time to learn;

4. In its current form, the SBAC does not provide parents or teachers with the individual diagnostic data necessary to work together to support student success.

Although we believe that this most recent development is a knee jerk reaction to HB 50 on the Parent Opt Out, Delaware PTA remains fully committed to engaging in collaborative and transparent discussions on developing a state assessment that provides meaningful data for parents, students and teachers.

Decisions made in a vacuum often lead to outcomes that are misaligned and unsuccessful. Delaware parents, students and teachers deserve better.

 Dr. Terri L Hodges, State President 

Yvonne Johnson, VP of Advocacy

Conrad Alumni support your mascot with the purchase of a CHS vanity tag



Red Clay experiences “intermittent network issues” Re: Smarter Balanced Assessment

Yep that’s the word!  “intermittent network issues” . Keep an eye on Red Clay’s $$$$$$$$$$ expenditures on technology that back-fills the federal intervention called “The Smarter Balanced Assessment” with local taxpayers money.

Conrad Alumni should close the door on relationship with Red Clay if board votes to change school mascot

Conrad alumni to school board: Keep Redskins mascot Matthew Albright, The News Journal

A group of alumni and supporters of Conrad High School urged the Red Clay school board on Wednesday not to retire the school’s mascot, the Redskin, saying it was a proud, decades-old tradition that honored the spirit of Native Americans.

Never in the history of Conrad has there ever been intent to demean the name of Native Americans. 

As Conrad Alumni Association President Jeff Nichols took the podium to address the board, dozens of members of the audience – most clad in red; some wearing old, worn letterman jackets with the mascot’s visage – stood in a show of support. They remained standing as eight speakers addressed the board.

Nichols took issue with the fact that some who want to change the mascot quote Webster’s dictionary, which says the term “Redskin” is “usually offensive.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, Conrad is not a usual school,” he said. “What Webster’s is missing is a definition of Conrad Redskin, a noun: a student, past, present and future of Conrad who emulates the positive traits of pride, spirit and honor.”

Spot on! Well said! 

A group called the “Retire the Mascot Committee” has been gathering petition signatures to change the mascot and hopes to make a proposal for a replacement mascot to the district in the summer.

The group’s efforts come as other schools and athletic organizations, most notably the NFL’s Washington Redskins, have faced criticism for using the mascot.

School officials have said they have heard concerns from parents and others about the mascot. Some teams and other school organizations have quietly left the word “redskin” off of their gear.

And who might these ” Retire the Mascot Committee” be? 

Several speakers said removing the mascot would disrupt a proud alumni tradition that has led to thousand-dollar donations and many hours of volunteering. A few blasted the district administration, saying it was trying to make the change without asking the school community shortly after Red Clay voters approved a referendum to raise property taxes to fund district operations.”This superintendent does not communicate with this community unless they need money,” said Susan Strawbridge. “How dare this superintendent keep the mascot issue under the radar until after the referendum.”

Folks all district superintendents serve at the pleasure of their boards! Red Clay’s board has the final vote! 

Shout-out to Ron Houston’s best bud! Good luck and thank you for being real !

Don’t forget to call home 

Red Clay school board poised to approve resolution on expanding Red Clay’s district boundaries

Readers Report that Computers Crashed in Minnesota, Tennessee, and Nevada Disrupting Testing

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Nothing to add to the headline. Send me links if you find them.

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Delaware Governor Markell approves a two-tiered high school diploma punitive to at-risk students

Test scores could help kids get out of remedial classes Matthew Albright, The News Journal

High school juniors who do well on the state’s tough new standardized test will not have to take remedial classes if they attend a Delaware college or four-year university, state leaders announced Tuesday.

Gov. Jack Markell said the arrangement, which applies to the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Wilmington University and Delaware Technical Community College, will hopefully allow more students to avoid paying for classes that don’t count toward their degree.

So now Delaware universities and colleges have a better gauge to cherry-pick college bound students. While I agree we need to better prepare college bound students but using The Smarter Balanced Assessment as the sole means to determine whether or not a college freshman needs remedial classes is just a political Markell shell game.

Markell brags about Delaware historical low highs school dropout rate and improved graduation rate but fails to address needs-base funding for early education and refuses to believe smaller classes do improve academic success. The crisis in education in rooted in poorly structured  K-5 education. Raising academic success from the bottom up will set the stage for better academic performance at the high school level which will translate into better prepared college bound students.

Governor Jack Markell is slicker than a pile of dog poop! His tactful media blitz is all about undermining state legislators who support parents rights to opt-out their children re: state standardized tests. He set the stage for universities and college to cherry pick students using the state assessment. No doubt students who are still at-risk going into college will be impacted. They’ll see more rejection letters! Also, it’s kind of sad to see students at the 11th grade level being stressed out taking the state assessment know now colleges and university are watching. One thing for sure, Governor Markell has taken an “assessment” test and transformed into a component of college acceptance.  I wonder what backdoor $$$ deal he made with state funded higher-ed? 

The writting was on the wall tying the Smarter Balanced to college admission

So you don’t think there is a Smarter Balanced Assessment tied to college admission! Better think twice! Posted on by kilroysdelaware

How deep is the Smarter Balanced Assessment agenda? Deeper than many know! 

There is a common college complaint that many students aren’t prepared for college and are required to take remedial courses.  

Test scores could help kids get out of remedial classes Matthew Albright, The News Journa l5:10 p.m. EDT April 14, 2015

High school juniors who do well on the state’s tough new standardized test will not have to take remedial classes if they attend a Delaware college or four-year university, state leaders announced Tuesday

Folks there is a lot of smoke and mirrors with Markell’s education agenda. Again it will be the more affluent students getting by the college gate keeper. The impact on our neediest students will be minimal.

Sounds so wonderful that students can test out of remedial college classes before they even apply. Wouldn’t it just make sense to end social promotion with will ensure all students are “really” ready for college or career.

The weight of a high school diploma has declined rendering it valueless. An Associated Degree is becoming the new high school diploma.

Again this year nearly 50% of graduating college students graduating with a bachelors degree won’t find employment in their field of study. They work in jobs playing about 60% what they would if working in their field of study. Then in comes student loan payments. 

We’re herding more and more children off the college stuffing their pockets with college loans to only come out the other end to a stagnated economy. Those with Associate Degrees will struggle in competing for jobs with such a large pool of those with bachelors degrees.   

As far as the Smarter Balanced Assessment being tied to college admissions, it a dangerous love affair and deep seeded in politics. Markell has now created scare tactics the will undermine the opt-out movement. Surely it won’t look good on college and university applications where students put “opt-out” of standardized testing. It will be a red flag to university and college admissions offices that the student is a radical and parents helicopter parents.  

Dear Delaware legislators! Jack is out in 2016 and the education reform house of cards will fall! And many of you Markell ass-kissing legislators will pay the price at the polls! Markell’s “Arrangement” will be used against you to not support the opt-out legislation.

The bottom line is, either a student needs remedial math or reading or not. And you can bet out most neediest at-risk student won’t get smaller class sizes! The standardized state test can’t be the only yardstick and college and university must continue their entrance assessments. Remember folks, the capitalist still need people to work minimum wage and pick up the trash.      


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