Daily Archives: April 14, 2013

Lizzie kicks Governor Markell in the nuts! Film at 11

Boring NJ Headline, Most Accurate of Late – and Still Nothing on the Pencader Early Closure Crisis… by Children and Educators First

Yes, Gov, if we won’t play by your rules, take the ball, go home, and contact the game manufacturer.  Tell the corporation that they need to rewrite the rules so that everyone plays by your rules b/c you are, of course, the governor, and your rules are the only ones that matter.

Read more here>>>>>>>>>>>>

What good are Delaware new teacher mentors if they don’t make classroom observations?

Q 11.2: On average, how often did you engage in each of the following activities with your mentor? 

b. Being observed teaching by my mentor? 

Answers: 39% Never, 32% less than once per month, 17% once per month, 9% several times a month, 3% once per week and 1% almost daily.

Teacher designated mentors receive between $750-1250.00 and looks like observing new teachers in action is low on the priority. Shit, if we’re going to have common core standards for the kids don’t you think we should have standards in requirements of mentors to make classroom observations? 

c. Observing my mentor’s teaching

Answer: 52% Never, 28% less than once per month, 11% once per month. 5% several times a month,3% once per week and 1% almost daily.

Q 11.3: How much did the support you received from your mentor influence your practice in the following areas?

B. Subject matter I teach

Answer:  40% Not at all, 13% hardly at all, 25% some,17% quite a bit and 5% a great deal

d. Using data to identify student needs

Answer: 36% Never, 16% hardly at all, 31% some, 13% quite a bit and 3% a great deal

Folks the Delaware TELL survey is telling parents that hands on mentoring isn’t what you think! Race to The Top is heading towards it’s forth and final year and here we are hearing about very little classroom observations of new teachers by mentors and poor influence / impact of mentor on helping new teachers in their subject matter. 

Governor Makell will spin all the positive responses however, isn’t the goal to improve teachers classroom skills? Obviously our new inexperienced teachers need the greatest of support.  

State legislators need to demand Markell return the mentor stipends back to the general professional development fund. As for mentoring, we need to go back to grade level teams where new teachers are mentored by grade level peers and a seasoned team leader. Let the “teams” have “their” in-service days

Never in the history of the state of Delaware have we had such a cluster-fuck of a governor! The four years of the Race to The Top Wall Street ponzi scheme will take eight years to undo and cost of millions! If the state legislators allow Markell to impose his Smarter Balance Assessment the damage will go deeper! And hear me well, the local taxpayers are not going foot the bill for damage control! 

Message to Pencader Charter High School parents #netDE #edude @dedeptoed

Title 14 Education

500 Curriculum and Instruction

505 High School Graduation Requirements and Diplomas

2.0 Credit Requirements for the Graduation Class of 2011 (Freshman Class of 2007-2008) through the Graduation Class of 2014 (Freshman Class of 2010-2011)

2.1 For the graduating class of 2011, a public school student shall be granted a State of Delaware Diploma when such student has successfully completed a minimum of twenty two (22) credits in order to graduate including: four (4) credits in English Language Arts, four (4) credits in Mathematics; three (3) credits in Science, three (3) credits in Social Studies, one (1) credit in physical education, one half (1/2) credit in health education, three (3) credits in a Career Pathway, and three and one half (3 ½) credits in elective courses.

2.1.1 Students shall complete mathematics course work that includes no less than the equivalent of the traditional requirements of Geometry, Algebra I and Algebra II courses.

2.1.2 Scientific investigations related to the State Science Standards shall be included in all three science course requirements.

2.1.3 During the senior year students shall maintain a credit load each semester that earns them at least a majority of credits that could be taken that semester. A credit in Mathematics shall be earned during the senior year. Senior year credits shall include regular high school course offerings, the options available in 8.0, or a combination of both.

I received rumor that Pencader is working with some juniors in efforts to allow them to graduate from Pencader skipping their senior year of high school. When I heard the same information from unrelated sources I felt it was necessary to share this information

Though it’s no unheard of for a student to skip a grade but Delaware’s new high school credit requirements does make it a challenge as it should be.

8.0 Options for Awarding Credit Toward High School Graduation

8.1 District and charter school boards are authorized to award credit toward high school graduation for the following activities, on the condition that the activities incorporate any applicable state content standards. Before awarding credit for any of the following activities, the districts and charter school boards shall have adopted a policy approving the activity for credit and establishing any specific conditions for the award of credit for the activity. Such policy shall be applicable to each school within the district or each charter high school.

8.1 District and charter school boards are authorized to award credit toward high school graduation for the following activities, on the condition that the activities incorporate any applicable state content standards. Before awarding credit for any of the following activities, the districts and charter school boards shall have adopted a policy approving the activity for credit and establishing any specific conditions for the award of credit for the activity. Such policy shall be applicable to each school within the district or each charter high school.

8.1.1 Courses taken at or through an accredited community college, two or four year college.

8.1.2 Voluntary community service as defined in 14 Del.C. §§8901A and 8902A.

8.1.3 Supervised work experience in the school and the community which meets the educational objectives or special career interest of the individual student.

8.1.4 Independent study.

8.1.5 Correspondence Courses.

8.1.6 Distance learning courses. These courses may be delivered by the teacher to the learner in real time, online or by video.

8.1.7 High school courses taken while in the middle school in conjunction with an articulated agreement between the district middle school and the district high school(s). Such credit shall also transfer to a high school in another district or to a charter school.

8.1.8 Course credit transferred from another high school.

8.1.9 Course credit earned through summer or evening school classes, as a member of the military service or as part of the James H. Groves Adult High School.

8.1.10 Tutoring programs taught by a teacher certified in the subject being taught.

8.1.11 Course credit awarded by agencies or instrumentalities of the state other than public schools which provide educational services to students. A description of the program provided to the student, grades given, and the number of clock hours of instruction or a demonstration of competency must be provided to the school district or charter school prior to receipt of credit.

There is no such policy in Pencader’s approved Charter 2006 agreement and 2009-2015 approved Charter Renewal  . Pencader states this on page 13 

The variety of assessments in each course will allow students to show mastery in a number of ways. Students must accumulate passing grades in all core curriculum requirements each year to be promoted from one grade level to another. In order to be promoted to the 12th grade, students must haw earned a minimum of 18 credits; 12 of these credits its must be a combination of English, mathematics, science, and/or social studies. The remaining credits will be in electives and/or career pathways courses. There are no administrative assignments to any grade. A student must meet all specified Pencader requirements to be promoted to the next grade 

The state requirement of 22 credits supersedes Pencader’s 18 credits noted in approved 2006 and renewal charter applications. Pencader can’t modify it charter without state approval and “if” Pencader is altering graduation requirements individuals should be held accountable.

Pencader parents, if you have a child in the 11th grade and some deal / provision is being made to have them graduate this year skipping their senior year PLEASE CALL DE DOE! You don’t want you child being handed a bogus high school diploma not compliant with state law! 

Delaware Governor Jack Markell crowned worst governor on public education

Slashed spending strains districts Markell says teacher jobs saved but tough choices still necessary Written by Jonathan Starkey The News Journal

Gov. Jack Markell embraces his reputation as an education governor and proudly promotes his work to protect school funding even as a lingering recession has strained state resources.

Markell promotes all the innovations so that he can create a laundry list of accomplishments even-though they weren’t too successful. He brags how Delaware has Choice schools where every student can attend a public school of their choice. But he doesn’t fess-up there is no Choice transportation and many schools are closed to Choice. He’ll blow his horn about charter schools yet he doesn’t address the re-segregation impact and the skimming and creaming fo students as he calls it. Markell made a campaign promise in 2008 to address the charter concerns and failed on that promise!

Markell counters criticisms about state cuts by arguing that he has protected funding for teachers – the largest education expense. Markell has increased state spending on teachers, providing money for new positions as enrollment has grown.   

Nothing personal union friends but Markell protected union support! And you’ll see further down in this article those new positions re: enrollment are tied to state unit allocation that Markell can’t touch! 

Markell’s first budget, passed in 2009, slashed $52 million in funding from the state’s billion-dollar public education budget, according to the Office of Management and Budget and local district business managers. According to financial records published by the Delaware Department of Education, the state’s share of public education costs dipped below 60 percent during Markell’s second year in office, meaning federal and local budgets would have to cover the difference.

Markell cuts $52,000,000,00 in funding to the schools

In 2010, Markell continued cutting, reducing by $7.1 million funding to bus students.

Among the other cuts:

• $17.5 million in “tax relief” funding that districts used to fund local operations.

• $12.5 million to support math specialists and reading resource teachers.

• $8.5 million for “extra-time” programs, such as tutoring sessions and summer school, as well as discipline funding. Some districts used discipline funding to hire School Resource Officers, armed Delaware State Troopers or local police officers.

• $4.6 million in Academic Excellence funding for computer hardware and software, substitute teachers and other expenses

All adds up to another $50,200,000.00 in cuts to local schools

Administration officials said they’re asking districts to do more – mainly, they say, to better manage their own administrative expenses.

“I think what we support is the local school districts finding efficiencies within their structure,” said Brian Maxwell, deputy director of Markell’s Office of Management and Budget. “We don’t dictate to them.”

“We don’t dictate to them.” WTF !!!! I was there when DE DOE Dan dictated to Red Clay School Board either sign the Race to The Top MOU or fund those programs out of local dollars! Looks what’s going on in Christina School District! Markell is forcing the district to give ridicules $20,000.00 teacher bonuses for people who get paid to do that job. Come on Deputy Dog fess-up Markell dictates to everybody in Dover!

There have been increased expenses, though, confronting districts and the state, including rising personnel and energy costs. For every dollar of salary, districts and the state now pay 20 cents each toward pension obligations, up 28 percent since Markell took office.

In English = when the state increases their % contributions to the pension fund the district and charter schools are required to increase their % of contributions. Another Markell backdoor tax on local taxpayers. Also, for I forget, ask Markell how much that job including benefits and pension contributions cost for the job he created for Judas? 

Districts did have a federal backstop for the first couple of years of the cuts.

In 2010 and 2011, an infusion of federal money from President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan and a $10 billion account to fund teachers’ salaries helped districts survive reductions in state support

We’re talking the Ed Jobs bill where Delaware received $27,425,111.00. But isn’t interesting cash-strapped school districts like Red Clay gave administrators raises and paid for golf outings with RCEF. Also, good source says Markell asked supers to use some of the funding to back fill his state cuts! So the fed Ed Jobs funding saved (short-term) Jobs directly impacted by Markell’s action. 

More than $50 million came from the federal government in each 2010 and 2011. Race to the Top funding also helped districts cope with losses. The impact varied widely across districts. In Brandywine, federal dollars helped fund science education and Advanced Placement programs, said Holodick, the superintendent there.

So Holodick is saying he used RTTT funding to supplement jobs outside the scope of RTTT  related funded positions? And he couldn’t use $1500.00 to setup a digital recorder to record public sessions of board meetings. I wonder how much money could be saved if there were better transparency of our school districts? 

As that federal assistance expired, Markell inserted $27.4 million in the current year’s budget that districts are able to use flexibly. It replaced more prescriptive funding, something districts had requested. But the new money accounted for less than half of the original state cuts.

Now look at that, he inserted $27.4 million dollars nearly the same amount of the Ed Jobs funding from the fed of $27.4 million dollars. Look here, this is from the feds and look under Delaware. Well at least he is honest when told the district supers to use fed money to back-fill state funded programs and he’ll repay them.

Superintendents urged Markell in October to restore some funding lost in the last four years and called specifically for money to update computers used to administer state testing and hire more tech workers who could keep the computers running.

“School districts are facing a critical problem in meeting the rapid demands created by increased technology usage” for student testing, wrote Michael Thomas, superintendent of the Capital School District and president of the Delaware Chief School Officers Association

Anybody want to take a stab at how much computer equipment and maintenance cost for those computers used for DCAS? Wait until the Smarter Balanced Assessment test start. More student data will be needed and maintained. Greater security will be needed because of exposure being part of a national data linked Smarter Balanced Assessment consortium. Did the state legislators approved the Smarter Balanced Assessment? Don’t need to, Markell owns them! Keep an eye on Red Clay when Coach Murphy comes selling the Smarter Balanced Assessment! We’ll see what little Jimmy Hoffa is made of ! But it’s just a shell game because the Smarter Balanced Assessment is a done deal where the district and charters have NO CHOICE but to conform.

The Delaware Department of Education included $8.5 million in its budget request for new computers and tech support. But the money was jettisoned by the governor’s office and administration budget officials.

Perhaps it’s time to jettison Judas and some of those Rodel Clones! DE DOE is too fat and I think John Carney may have been correct in suggesting decentralizing DE DOE. DE DOE has become a puppet show for Jack Markell’s personal ambitions. So the district and charter schools will have to pay millions in maintaining computer needed for the Smarter Balanced Assessment! Yep you got it, local taxpayers will be asked to pickup the tab!

“When push came to shove for us, are we going to fund the additional teachers or are we going to fund technology?” Markell said. “We always have to make choices, and it would be wonderful to be in a place where we don’t have to make any difficult choices.” 

That’s because computers don’t carry union cards! Why not dump Teach for America? Dump the Chinese language! I am all for Pre-K but the lack of technology harms K-12! We need to make difficult choices.

In some communities, the cuts translated into higher taxes. Appoquinimink and Colonial both attribute the need for higher taxes in part to the recession-era reductions from the state.

Yep Kilroy was correct, local taxpayers will be forced to back-fill Markell’s state cuts and Race to The Top.

Folks if we had better transparency of our schools we would see better efficiency of public education funding and cost savings. Keep an eye out for those crying digital recorders will break the bank! Those are the ones who want to work in the dark.