Daily Archives: April 27, 2014

Delaware Legislators abducted by DE DOE’s Flying Monkey’s

Wake up dear legislators ! DE DOE charter school office is still in disarray! Taxpayers on the verge of funding a 20 million dollar assessment system called the Smarter Balance of all things! Then there is the  data tracking system the Gestapo would be proud of! Secretary of Education Murphy joins ranks with Jed Bush’s Chiefs for Change! Governor Markell keeps the lid on the K12 thing!

inBloom, Education Technology and the Murdoch-Klein Connection: A Son-of-Frankenstein B-movie Sequel?

Andrea Gabor

Last Sunday’s New York Times ran a fascinating story on the controversy surrounding inBloom, which promises to serve as a one-stop warehouse-in-the-cloud for student data, but which many educators and parents worry might compromise the privacy of kids in grades K-12. Like a number of major education-reform ventures, this one was launched by a group of funders led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Now that most states have signed onto the Common Core State Standards, which will use computerized assessments, the allure of creating a central repository of student data is more compelling than ever.  The NYT lays out the potential benefits of the inBloom system, including the ability to store large amounts of student information and provide tools for analyzing the data–information that will be available not only to educators, but also to education-technology developers who can tailor products to student and school needs. The…

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InBloom implodes! Shutting down! Will DE Sec of ED Murphy resort to using an abacus to track student data?

Sun Sets on Controversial Student Data Project inBloom Monday, April 21, 2014 – 04:25 PM By YASMEEN KHAN

The non-profit corporation inBloom which sought to create a national repository of student data will shut down, following concerns raised by parents, school boards and elected officials over privacy and commercializing student information.

The company also cited New York’s recent mandate, included in the state budget, to halt its relationship with the controversial venture. New York was the most recent of several states around the country to do so.

“I have made the decision to wind down the organization over the coming months,” said Iwan Streichenberger, inBloom CEO, on the company’s website. “It wasn’t an easy decision, and the unavailability of this technology is a real missed opportunity for teachers and school districts seeking to improve student learning.”

Delaware legislators still stuck in Governor Markell’s education reform fart bubble! NPE has congress ear re: standardized test

PRESS RELEASE: Member of Congress joins with NPE and calls for public hearings on the misuse and overuse of standardized tests March 19, 2014 NPE Call for HearingsPress Release

Member of Congress joins with  The Network for Public Education and calls for public hearings on the misuse and overuse of standardized tests. Massive social networking campaign to be waged in coming days.

On March 2, 2014, following their highly successful National Conference, The Network for Public Education (NPE) sent out a call for members of Congress to hold public hearings on standardized testing. This call came in response to the onerous testing regime that has enveloped schools across the country and threatens to create a generation of students who possess less creativity and problem solving skills than previous generations.

Delaware legislators STOP the advancement of The Smarter Balanced Assessment. Did you vote on The Smarter Balance to Replace DCAS? $20 million dollars is on the verge of going down this money-pit of a test! A movement is coming for parents to Opt out their kids from taking this test! 

Today’s News Journal Murray Opinion is provoking! Kilroy says teachers need individual creativity and passion within free on extreme micromanaging

Raise the bar carefully in teacher education Frank B. Murray is H. Rodney Sharp Professor, School of Education, University of Delaware from News Journal Opinion April 27 ,2014

The “raising-the-bar” for grades, license scores, admission scores are advocated by policy-makers, like those who sponsored and voted for Bill 51, because they think that doing so will eventually improve teaching. This “raising-the-bar” approach for the prospective teacher, however, has another serious weakness. It overestimates the influence internal personal characteristics (like ability, disposition, knowledge, motivation, personality, etc.,) have in accounting for and explaining teaching behavior and it underestimates the influence of external situational factors and actions. This bias leads education reformers to focus on the characteristics and traits of the teacher and not directly on the features of teaching acts themselves, the very things the reformers seek to influence. The shift in focus from the teacher to teaching entails the study of, and the subsequent improving of, the routines, artifacts, lessons and methods of teaching a particular subject.

In my opinion teachers without that special passion and creativity as an individual don’t have a chance in preparing children for the working world and more importantly productive members of society. Many of us can recall that special teacher from our days as a student and the ones most harmful. Though some claim Common Core Standards broadens education the fact remain it tries to squeeze teachers into one mold and the same for children. Preparing children for college or careers leaves out the arts and sports. Teachers are not social-workers nor can they replace absent parents. However a good teacher with that special personal formula does positively spark the self-esteem of students. I think Red Clay’s 50% lowest possible grade score is meant to not demoralize students self-esteem beyond hope. No where does Common Core or the Rodel’s of the world support this worthwhile concept.

The wrongheaded reform goals meant to purge undesirable teachers out of the system takes the approach to demoralize all teachers whereas those with the strongest characters will rise to the top has made education less desirable as a career. Many business leaders who subscribes to a seven-year employee turnover business model may see this as healthy. This concept rotates stale old employees who’s productivity may have peaked with fresh eager young employees helps keep the profit margin healthy. Teach for American model does the same for education. However, they too burnout within 3 to 5 years. Teaching is a craft and motivating students is an art. There is a clear distinction between a “teacher” and an “instructor”. Many businesses fail because they went from having seminars to webinars where face to face human interaction is no more. Telling new teachers you have 2-3 years to provide the skills of a master teacher is wrongheaded! Sure teachers need to reach certain benchmarks in their teaching skills but that is where intervention needs to take place! We need staff development to be lead by master teachers not wall street developmental coaches. Reading student data doesn’t require data coaches! This is something that should be taught to those pursuing teaching degree!  

The Rodel’s of the world fails to see the distinction between a teacher and an instructor. Like in business, micromanaging employee rather than empowering employees leads to failure. And this also happens in government re: the failed Markell administration. No one dares to look Markell in the eye and say, “governor I think you got this one wrong”. Not even Matt Denn! Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy joins Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change! Why? Should he use his time doing his job?

Traditional public school teachers are people too! But if they join a charter school they become innovators even if that charter school fails to meet the same standards.

Every time there is another agenda to improve public education a new layer of administration and consultants are added and nothing is done to reduce class sizes. As this happens more money leaves the classroom and reduces “tangible” classroom resources.

If we can only create a more effective local control environment giving parents and the community the tools and transparency will we ever truly reform public education. Do notice the word “public” in public education. It’s there for a reason and a reminder! 

Crucifying 100% of the teachers to weed-out the 10% that might be in the wrong profession is pretty much immoral. Sure somebody will say more like 25%! But surely there are many young teachers in needs of quality teacher mentoring programs.

Rep Valerie Longhurst accuses others for blocking progress as she blocks H.B. #23

Legislators seek solution for gas tax deadlock Jonathan Starkey, The News Journal

At the same time, House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst have criticized Republicans, who hold just 14 seats in a 41-member chamber, for blocking progress. And they have called Markell’s gas tax hike too tough a vote for many of their members facieng re-election in November.

Parents of the Bear, St Georges, Delaware City and all areas within the Delaware Representative District 15, Representative Valerie Longhurst does not want House Bill #23 to make it to the governor desk! Longhurst opposes H.B. #23 that would require all traditional school boards, votech school boards and charter school board to record the public sessions of their board meetings. She does this in-spite of the fact that Red Clay, Christina, Capital, Delmar, Brandywine and Colonial school boards voluntarily record their board meetings.

Isn’t so ironic that Longhurst criticizes others for blocking progress when she herself blocks open government from the people whom government was meant to serve and pays her wages! Get this, Longhurst is the chair of the House Ethics Committee! Though her legislative ranking aka pecking order puts her as chair of the ethics committee she is far from being “ethical” when it comes to transparent government! Perhaps this is something she picked up at AIG.

This is what Rep Longhurst’s opponent for 2014 Matt Lenzini says about his position on education:

 ” 2. Education: We have one of the top 10 costs per student in the country.  This would be ok if we were also one of the top 10 performing states when it comes to education.  Unfortunately, we are in the bottom half.  Our school systems are inefficient.  Its not the teachers fault, nor the students.  When you take good people and put them into an outdated, broken system, you will always get poor results.  We need to work on getting more money into the class room and modify our schools to allow each student to be educated in a way that best aligns with his or her learning style.  More testing is not the answer, adaptability is.  Education can open doors but it has to be effective – our current system is anything but that.”  

We cannot take back local control of our schools unless we take back Dover and Washington. Rep Longhurst is a major roadblock in this effort. Sad to say the reason H.B. #23 is slow to make traction is because Rep. Longhurst owns Rep. Husdson the H.B.#23 key sponsor. Longhurst wants to hold H.B.#23 hostage and is committed to making sure it won’t make it to a House and Senate vote. H.B. #23 will die on the House ready list!

Folks we need change and parents of the 15th Representative District needs stronger commitment to real transparency and real shared decision-making when it comes to public education. Longhurst fails in this department! Look at Longhurst legislative track record or education  nothing! But she’s proud to sponsor legislation which was successful and signed by the governor to raise personal income-tax by more than 10% on families making over $60,000.00 and sure enough she supports the governor’s call to raise gas tax!        

Wake up parents and voters of the 15th Rep District! It’s time to question those who want to dedicate their lives as “full-time” elected politicians. You have options in November 2014! Explore them and educate them to the needs of the real world that lives in the center! Those who stand in the way of full transparency of public schools are not for the children! Blocking the real tools for progress should be questioned!

Longhurst, you may own Rep. Hudson but you don’t own the voice of the people! Bury H.B.#23 all you want but the power will always belong to the people and we’ll get there without you! Shame on you!