Delaware PTA joins the fight for parental choice to opt-out of state standardized testing!

Delaware PTA: Parents should have say in standardized test Matthew Albright, The News Journal

The Delaware Parent Teacher Association is joining teacher unions and several school boards in saying that parents should have a right to opt their children out of taking the state standardized test.

The PTA’s Board of Managers, made up of the local leaders for each school, passed a resolution urging parental choice. Teri Hodges, the group’s president, said the resolution is about parents having control over their child’s education.

“We feel that a parent should have a right to make this decision on behalf of their students and, if they feel that the test is not in the best interest of their students, they should have the option to act on that,” Hodges said.

Thank you Teri Hodges for reminding the “P” in PTA is for Parent not politicians! 

Gov. Jack Markell’s administration says testing helps teachers figure out how to best help students and is an invaluable tool for district and state leaders to make smart decisions. They also point out that federal law requires 95 percent of students to be tested and say the state, districts or schools could face consequences, like a loss of funding, if they fall below that figure.

“Students and parents deserve the benefits of of knowing how they are doing and where they may need extra support to be prepared fro college or a career when they graduate,” said Jonathon Dworkin, a spokesman for Markell.

And why couldn’t the coward governor speak for himself? Federal nor state law does not specifically say parents can’t opt-out ! The state should face consequences for allowing the governor to become a fixated education czar who has no qualification in the field of education. He controls who gets hired at DE DOE and makes room for Rodel clones!

“We have received positive feedback from many educators and parents about the new test,” Dworkin said. “We expect that our schools will continue to follow state law and administer the test to students who should take it.”

Tell you one thing, somebody’s cornbread ain’t done in the middle ! 

Markell’s administration says it is taking steps to limit the impact of standardized testing. The governor recently announced that the state was taking an inventory of all tests students take and would work with districts to eliminate any tests that are redundant or not useful, though he emphasized that Smarter Balanced will continue to be administered.

Nothing but a Jack Markell political moonwalk 

In a statement, the PTA acknowledged those efforts, but said they don’t mean parents shouldn’t still be able to opt out.

“While we do agree that we need to reduce the amount of statewide testing, adopting this singular approach to the exclusion of acknowledging a parent’s right to opt out, ignores the fact that parent and teacher concerns with the Smarter Balanced Assessment go far beyond the amount of testing,” it said.

Delaware parents need to join together and beat back this federal Wall Street laced intrusion! 

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45 responses to “Delaware PTA joins the fight for parental choice to opt-out of state standardized testing!

  1. Publius e decere

    I don’t think this goes far enough. If the logic of this “bill” prevails, then students should of course also have the right to opt out of tests designed by their teachers. And then roll on out and give them the right to opt out of attendance requirements, uniforming, decorum, and classroom attendance. In fact, why not just make school a correspondence course so everyone can stay home and “opt in” when they feel like it but not have to deal with petty annoyances like learning? We could put the school login information on matchbook covers (oh, wait, I am showing my age) or we could just print the logon information on the TAX BILLS sent out each year. We could run the school system online and lay off everyone except the programmers. Taxpayers would win. Right?

    “Thank you Teri Hodges for reminding the “P” in PTA is for Parent not politicians! ” OK. Also be thankful for reminding us that “T” is the new “U”.

    Publius

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    • kilroysdelaware

      “then students should of course also have the right to opt out of tests designed by their teachers. And then roll on out and give them the right to opt out of attendance requirements, uniforming, decorum, and classroom attendance.”

      Come on now, there are established consequences associated with what you say. There are no defined consequence with opting-out and nothing writing in the law.

      Admit it, you are worried with no skewed testing there would be no artificial means to justified charter schools! It seems everything is gauged on the “test”. School rating are gauged on one test!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Publius, you always get really sarcastic and snarky when something happens you don’t like. I think if Rodel has their way with “personalized learning”, your prediction about kids doing everything from home on a laptop wouldn’t be far from the truth. Then we truly enter the zombie stages of Common Core!

      Like

    • Publius e decere

      KO,

      Think what you wish. I am merely applying opt-out logic to suit people who do not think like you but nonetheless have an equal right to exercise their opt-outedness. Just think about it … a teacher has a class of 30 students and 29 of them opt out of the teacher’s test. Oh the conclusions we could draw.

      I realize that you are in vigorous agreement with the other nine people you talk to. But the law already allows for opting out for special needs students. Your professed aims are already met, so what is it — really —- that you are after? The vast majority of people inherently recognize that tests evaluate results and they have value for them as such. Why are you fighting a timeless value for accountability?

      Publius

      Like

    • “And then roll on out and give them the right to opt out of attendance requirements, uniforming, decorum, and classroom “attendance.

      Thought these were already opt out choices. No? So what are the consequences of say for example, not wearing the clothes listed in dress code?
      Kilroy, it’s been a hard week, can you find the laughing guy video. I didn’t watch the laughing chicken yet, cause Nashville is on and I’m not muting it, but I’m sure the laughing guy is funny, and I don’t think Publius was on here back when you posted it. I need to see it 😀

      Like

    • Publius e decere

      I’m pretty sure that schools disallow optional attendance, optional behavior when that behavior is not acceptable, and optional intra-school choice over whether a particular teacher’s class is worth attending versus a study hall. As for dress codes (a broader point versus uniforms) I’m pretty sure that schools disallow provocative or inciteful clothing as well as the relative absence of clothing.

      The point, of course, is that the school sets a standard and all students must conform. Why is testing any different? If students can opt out of state testing, then with logical consistency they should be allowed to opt out of a teacher designed test, and opt out of an administrator designed dress code, and opt out of a teacher/administrator designed behavior code, and opt out of a last-century state requirement that they actually show up for school when instead the “modern” teacher should be putting everything online so that the “i-Student” can opt out of the inconvenience of actually showing up. Attendance is soooo 20th century!

      Opting out is not a solution. Amend the test to meet a reasonable majority of public aceptance — the test’s content, schedule and length — but keep the test compulsory for all students other than valid exceptions (IEP-designated exclusions etc). The state standardized tests let the public see how the system is delivering in its raw essence — without the unitary spin of the hyper-local and pecuniary vested interests.

      Besides — opting out is for weenies. 🙂

      Publius

      Like

    • There is an actual LAW requiring attendance. But Delaware’s legislature fears voters too much to pass a similar law about SBAC.

      Opting out of SBAC is not about the test. It is akin to civil disobedience protesting a larger issue. With SBAC, finally the edreform agenda has presented a face that most parents can understand. If SBAC is the hook we need to pull down the edreform agenda, so be it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • @Publius: Opting out is not a solution. Amend the test to meet a reasonable majority of public acceptance — the test’s content, schedule and length — but keep the test compulsory for all students other than valid exceptions (IEP-designated exclusions etc).

      That’s actually what you are seeing occur here. Politically the only pressure that parents and teachers have to achieve those amendments is the ability to make the system cease to function until it is changed to their satisfaction. Otherwise, as has been proven time and again in Delaware, “public acceptance” is not really a value to our political and educational leaders.

      Of further note: how does Delaware “amend the test” when there are only two tests accepted under CCSS–PARCC and Smarter Balanced? Delaware is not Texas or New York in terms of having a large enough population to drive education corporations to change their product. They’ll simply lobby the government to pass a specific Federal requirement that we all consume their product.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m having trouble understanding, because I’m still just “selfish and stupid”, why we need a “law” to opt out. Are the brown shirts going to come after parents if they simply keep their kids from school on that day(s)? Do you really think the school or Curly are going to come arrest you if you refuse to allow your child to take the tests?

      The test (SBAC) was put into place by the DSEA and DOE, not even knowing what was in it. Wait, have we heard this before ACA lovers? The DSEA never had any intention of letting it (or any test) stick to their members and now they want parents to do what they should have done which is, “flick the bird” to DOE and Curly, who have suction cups for mouths on the Obummer POTUS administration.

      You don’t want your kid to take the test, keep them home. At this point, colleges already know the results are tainted meat so it probably won’t mean anything for soon to be college students.

      Like

    • lastDEconservative

      I want to have M’s child.

      Like

    • Publius e decere

      OK LDC, that was gross. 🙂

      Midnight Rider makes a point: why is a “law to act” necessary when the law does not prohibit said action?

      Do the opt-outers feel so bad about their choice that they insist on a “law” to justify the choices they already have? Or is it that the opt-outers merely want a consequence-less environment in which to make their choice? Or, maybe, the opt-outers actually realize that standardized testing actually is compulsory and they are seeking by protest to change the law? In this latter case, their protest would in fact be law-breaking until such time as a new law is passed.

      I can’t think like an opt-outer. I realize that Bart Simpson would opt out, but heck he is a cartoon character. Keep it simple. Teachers, teach what is expected. Students, learn what is expected. Test for results. Give consequences to the students and the teacher — constructively — so that down the road teaching really is effective and learning really is embraced. $10-12,000 per student ($200,000 to 360,000 per classroom per year) is alot of moolah to spend without measuring results.

      Publius

      Like

    • lastDEconservative

      A lot of things my phraseology was or wasn’t (I would exclude gross, though you used it tongue in cheek),

      one thing it was,

      efficient.

      Like

  2. Publius e decere

    ” — there are established consequences associated with what you say —” Really? Like what?

    I think it is pretty fair as proposed. The student can opt out of the test designed by the classroom teacher. The student has had all year with regular weekly contact to perceive if the teacher is biased against that student as an individual. The student might actually want to take a test designed BY SOMEONE ELSE. Why is that such a big problem?

    Publius

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  3. As a teacher, I am glad there is an opt out option ONLY because of the message it sends to those in charge. It is a voice to to say that what is being done to our schools will not stand.

    I am not against some testing that is relevant and helps me. But what students are going through now does not benefit them or the schools. Testing is political, and I am sick of it, especially when I read comments in the article like teachers think the test is good. I am not saying it’s bad, but I don’t hear comments from my colleagues praising the test. Please.

    I actually long for DSTP. Give it in one week to the whole school like it matters. I also would prefer NWEA testing that gives a score and shows improvement. But as soon as they start tying scores to school scores and teacher performance, then it is not about helping. Testing has become about punishing all but the student.

    Oh, our district has a practice round which we teachers score. One student wrote “h” as his answer. That was his whole essay. I am NOT responsible for that. I also had a student who wrote “idk.” I said, “You are not going to submit that, are you?” He clicked submit right there and then. Why not? His score doesn’t impact him. It still infuriates two weeks later.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I liked the DSTP until I realized that my son scored above average but was actually 1 1/2 year behind in reading comp. How could he score so high? His score on that test made me question my concerns for where I, as a parent, thought he should be.
      Of all the standardized tests my 3 kids ever took, in my opinion, the MAP test seemed to be the most accurate. DSTP being at the bottom of my list so far.
      Can’t we just do something like survey and interview teachers, guidance counselors, parents, and the kids, and figure out which of all these tests can actually benefit the students and help us find their strengths and weaknesses?

      Like

    • Publius e decere

      If one student defies the system it is an aberration. But if 50% of the students under a particular teacher defy the system then to what degree has the teacher failed to engage those students? It is a fair and accountable question. A question we can’t even see to ask until we have test results. Clearly an essay which says “H” or “IDK” is a different matter from one with attempted writing that falls short of grade level standards So let’s work on the test to set aside flyers like this rather than throw out all testing in the false expectation of perfection.

      As for the student’s consequences, I agree that there should be a component of their grade associated with the standardized test. Even then, there will be students who answer “h” and “Idk” and it is still a legitimate question as to whether the teach “lost” the student. One student doing so will not break the bank. But if a substantial number of students do this then yes it IS a reflection on the teacher. That teacher is not connecting with his students. After the denial, the anger, the rejection and the depression, the reality needs to be accepted and then worked on. If the teacher doesn’t want to work on it then maybe they are in the wrong profession.

      All the more reason for a standardized test. Just saying.

      ublius

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  4. Publius, I follow your rationale. In fact, in America, there are choices. A student can choose not to take a test. As a result, the student may receive a 0 on that assessment. Perhaps that 0 is detrimental to the grade but maybe it is not. In this scenario, there is a consequence that does impact the student (which may involve parenting.) There are students who “opt out” of attendance, classwork, homework and other aassignments each day. However, the sum of their achievement reflects a cconsequence/ grade and/ or course credit. In the case of SAT, if a student reduses, the student faces the consequence of not being admitted to the next round. In these examples, there is a connection/ consequence to “opt out ” and the student’s next steps. What many anti “opt out” folks fail to understand is the smarter balanced test does not impact the student or provide feedback to parents…and teachers in informing progress for next steps. This test is to inform companies on their product, states in comparcomparison data. This test fails the student. Those who are anti “opt out” are also anti “kids first. Those folks are misinformed on the actual test, it’s developmental process with regard to addition to other testing. Those folks are devaluing a student/parent right to empower their student in the face of competing with students of other states and globally. Ironically , anti “opt out” people will commit our state to a narrowed learning diploma of English and math. If that is your definition of a weenie…well, you may not be seeing a bigger picture, kids first.

    Liked by 2 people

    • In fact, in America, there are choices

      Publius does not believe this,because opting out is a choice he does not support. He is a hypocrite on the issue.

      Like

    • Publius e decere

      Of course John can’t seem to follow the thread. One should OF COURSE be able to choose the public school to attend, but with that choice comes the obligation and duty to conform to the rules and expectations of the chosen school. line-item It seems that you insist on line-item compliance which I doubt you would allow for a CSD principal or administrator when it comes to CSD board decisions.

      If there is a groundswell against testing, then form a charter school based on no testing. “If” it can even get approved (and I supposed that CSD would approve such a charter) then let’s see how many people will actually choose to throw their education into such an unaccountable morass of a school. I suggest very few would.

      Again, I go back to the “logic” of opting out. Why not allow students to opt out of a teacher’s classroom rules or tests or activities without any consequences? Why not let students to opt out of attendance and tests and homework and activity and just print out diplomas for them anyway? Why not allow a school principal to opt out of the district board’s rules? Why not allow individual members of the public to opt out of their feeder pattern and choose one to their liking without the doggone inconvenience of actually moving residences?

      Opting out only seems to make sense coming from a person who sees no illogic in taking conditional federal money and then defying those very conditions while holding the money in clenched fists. There are other words for this.

      Publius

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  5. I would note that I do agree that A test for purpose of cross comparison of districts and public measure is acceptable. However, smarter is not that test. For a valid comparison, it would be important for students to have a stake in the test. The state has veered very far off that path.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lastDEconservative

    First line, partially: “The Delaware Parent Teacher Association is joining teacher unions … ”

    By the looks of the volume of comments, a number of you read past this first phrase.

    Why?

    Like

  7. I’m a little confused. Some parents want the choice to opt their kids out of testing but dont want other parents to have the choice to send their kids to a charter school.

    Also, those opting out are the rich white parents therefore skewing the potential scores because the low income families arent as well versed in this and wont know to opt out.

    man, this public education stuff is confusing.

    Like

  8. The test (maybe I should capitalize that…the Test) is of no consequence to the student. He is not held accountable for his results in any way, shape, or form. This is different from an AP exam, for example, or the SAT, or even any high school final exam. The Test means nothing to students. Let me repeat that; it means nothing. I teach students – they glaze over when they open their laptops for DCAS/SBAC/SMI/EIEIO. They don’t care (and even answer that way. As such, opting out of a Test that means nothing should have no consequences. If this Test mattered to students…if the results mattered…if there were consequences for their performance….then there should be consequences for opting out – just like there would be consequences for opting out of an AP exam. But honestly, when somebody tells me they are opting out their son or daughter, I shrug my shoulders.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Publius e decere

      OK, so let’s talk stakes, relevance and consequences.

      I would much rather have a standardized test designed without vested interest in mind to tell whether a student has met an achievement standard that to have a teacher who will be (very partially, i.e. part of one of five “Components”) be prosecutor, judge and jury.

      At work (i.e., in the for-profit world) how would it work out if an employee could design their own standards, test themselves, and provide themselves with an “extraordinary” rating? Poorly, of course. Well — poorly for the owners, customers, and suppliers. The employees would have their Potemkin Win until the other stakeholders were to “opt out” of the lunacy.

      The standardized test is just that — a standardized test. Equal for every student. Equal. A baromoter of whether or not learning took place. I can hardly believe that “professionals” as teachers would resist this. We have universities nationwide crying out loud about the reality of remedial high school teaching when students arrive. We have kids “graduating” from high schools without anywhere near proficiency. And we have a workforce which is falling farther and further behind its REAL and INTERNATIONAL competitors. So WAKE UP and accept that a standardized test is a litmus test for whether or not THE SYSTEM is working or merely dithering.

      Republics fail when their people confuse Liberty and equal opportunity with the illusion of equal outcomes. The standardized test tells us where we are systemically, and it tells the individual where they are individually. The public has invested $10,000 PER YEAR, PER STUDENT in thei edcuation. The public danged-well deserves a report-ut about whether or not the employees have delivered on the investment. No feints, no soft peddling, no excuses nor curves. GIVE THE PEOPLE THE FACTS and let them decide for themselves what they mean.

      Transparency. For the Republic.

      Publius

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    • @publius: I would much rather have a standardized test designed without vested interest in mind…

      And where, pray tell, between Smarter Balanced and PARCC, would you find that test designed without vested interest? Pearson has a multi-billion-dollar interest clearly in view.

      Yet I agree with you regarding the need to have the information regarding how well the system is performing. How then do we make the test itself disinterested (in the sense you use the word)?

      Perhaps by building a decent wall of separation between those who devise the test and those who profit from the textbooks and materials designed to master the material. For even one so cynical as Publius must realize that Pearson is driven by the profit potential of creating materials that are never quite good enough to support teachers in helping their students reach proficiency. Because if too many children were rated as proficient (regardless of the objective reality of their skills), then the test would lose its luster. As it is, Pearson is virtually guaranteed 5-7 years of multi-billion-dollar profits just so long as the vast the majority of students never quite measure up.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Publius e decere

      I am more focused on whether or not students are actually learning relevant and competitive things. If we are going to decide that Pearson The Corporation makes too much money, then we are going to have to apply that standard to everyone in the system. I dont think you intend to go there. We could start with the anti- right to work monopoly. Maybe we could dock a day’s pay from a teacher who is paid (in this case a profit) while he parks his students in front of an “educational video” or has them have a “self-directed in-class fun day” rather than actually teach a prepared lesson. The pursuit and destructionof all forms of profit would know now bounds — and serve no purpose. Just focus on results.

      Pearson does not have a monopoly. Neither does Apple. These companies might be making money becuase they are delivering value. What kind of phone are you using?

      To test your bias, why don’t we just pass a law which says that no supplier to the school system should ever turn a profit. If a supplier turns a profit they will be immediately dropped and replaced with a money-losing competitor. Regardless of whether or not the profitable supplier was delivering a service of value at a mutually-agreed price.

      Think of it. An entire school system served by organizations which don’t value the customer (the school system) because the customer refuses to “allow” them to earn a profit. Be careful what you ask for. Better yet, ask an old Soviet.

      Publius

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    • Publius e decere

      As for vested interest, it was clear that I was referring to a teacher designed test used to evaluate that same teacher. The use of a standardized test externalizes and mitigates that conflict of interest.

      Like

    • The use of a standardized test externalizes and mitigates that conflict of interest.

      It certainly does externalize that conflict of interest: from individual teachers in a classroom to a multi-billion-dollar corporation that profits most strongly from ambiguous or negative results, whereas the teacher profits most strongly from unambiguous or positive results.

      This is not mitigation of conflict of interest, but merely transfer from one party to another.

      You ignore the proposition that the real mitigation of conflict of interest would involve the separation of testing from textbook publishing, because deflection is your game here.

      Like

    • If we are going to decide that Pearson The Corporation makes too much money, then we are going to have to apply that standard to everyone in the system. I dont think you intend to go there.

      Who said, “Too much money?” It is not about how much money, but about the fact that maximizing profits for Pearson is dependent on a certain outcome set that is not the same outcome set that is the goal of the school system.

      As for your contention that Pearson is not a monopoly (with the idiotic comparison to Apple, which only holds about an 18% market share), the ridiculous comparison to “right to work” is another neat distraction wrapped up in pseudo-erudition.

      When a single vendor is the sole source of a high-stakes test within a state or state, that constitutes a monopoly. I’ll grant that single-vendor tests are probably necessary at the state level, but what’s that monopoly done for Pearson? You want to talk about “prevailing wage”? Let’s talk about the fact that Pearson’s textbook prices to support their tests have increased 812% over the past three decades, with the largest part of that increase coming in the era of standardized testing.

      Let’s talk about the fact that when you have a single-vendor monopoly you are at the mercy of the low quality of service that monopolies bring. To quote the Sun Times:

      Between 2000 and 2012, Minnesota, Florida and Virginia among many other states, received millions of dollars in settlements from Pearson due to errors in test grading. Between 2005 and 2006, the company scored over 4,000 SAT college admissions tests incorrectly. The New York Times reported that this year in New York City, Pearson excluded thousands of eligible students for testing into gifted programs and of those who were tested, hundreds received incorrect scores.

      http://thestatetimes.com/2013/11/20/the-pearson-monopoly/

      Or this, from 2013:

      “Last week, the New York Post and Daily News reported that the Pearson-developed New York State ELA sixth- and eighth-grade assessments included passages that were also in a Pearson-created, “Common Core–aligned” ELA curriculum. This meant that students in schools that purchased and used instructional materials from Pearson had an enormous advantage over those who didn’t.”

      http://edexcellence.net/commentary/education-gadfly-daily/common-core-watch/2013/pearson-crosses-a-line.html

      For those actually reading, what’s happening here is this: Publius is free to ignore and distract from the reality of the corporate conflict of interest, because–like Pearson–Publius has a different interest than the school system. Publius is interested only in using the testing to collect data that “proves” that traditional school systems are inherently a failure. No other data has value except that. No qualitative data, no teacher-scored data. No portfolios. No allowance for circumstances of poverty. Publius demands high-stakes testing not because it provides anything close to an objective assessment of the system’s function, but because it provides supposedly “objective” data to use to beat teachers bloody with.

      The fact that Publius wants to take us to “right to work” and “prevailing wage” as a distraction is a clear indication of discomfort with where the conversation is going.

      Like

    • Publius e decere

      “Deflection” Uh huh. You do realize that Pearson VUE is a global established company with scores of internationally recognized certifications and serving a variety of markets in addition to academia – markets such as governments national & local, professional licensing across myriad industries, military services, health care and IT. Your uninformed premise that such a far flung enterprise operating in myriad sophisticated markets could somehow maintain a singular collusive control based in a conflict of interest is fatuous paranoia.

      On the other hand, leaving the entire evaluation of student progress to the teacher to say I will evaluate myself, thank you very much, and let you know how I did — well, that IS a conflict of interest which directly impacts local students and local taxpayers.

      The standardized test is the report card on the system. The school system is not here to provide jobs to adults, it is here to ensure that students gain a bona fide education. The adults are tools … the teachers the staff, the contractors … tools toward this end. Adults are the means, not the ends.

      The system falls short by many points of view and by frequent consensus of the public. So work on it, Measure it. Embrace it. Improve it. Wash, rinse repeat.

      Publius

      Like

  9. The lie you believe is that a standardized test gives you reliable data. When a student glazes over, doesn’t care, and needs to be awakened multiple times during a test, do you think you’re getting accurate data about what he’s learned? Of course you do. You believe the lie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lastDEconservative

      Hmm. I thought the “glazed over” at the bottom left of the bell curve were discounted when global insight was the goal. Thanks.

      Like

    • Publius e decere

      I thought glazing was for doughnuts.

      Interesting “Delaware Voice” piece in today’s paper. “What is the prevailing wage for a glazier? .. anything from $11 to $65, how is this representative of a fair prevailing wage?” The author — a non-profit leader — applied a bit of sensible analysis (think Common Core State Standards skill set) and identified the sheer lunacy of having a prevailing wage requirement at all.

      Maybe this is the bottom line of the opt-outers … they are afraid that rational thinking will — prevail — so they will “boldly” advocate for a protected right of apathy in order to keep the schooling system locked in its post-war mid-20th century idyll and thus sidestep the rest of the trending planet.

      CCSS and SBA are aimed at rational analytic thinking. The resisters grew up in a less demanding bubble-test world. A world which no longer exists. We need this radical change in expectations, rigor and capability in the schooling system. Maybe some of the employees are not willing to go for this ride, and they are free to opt out of employment. The omlette will never get made until we break the eggs of outdated thinking.

      Publius

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  10. And here, among the other absurdities that Publius supports are Art Teachers and even school janitors being evaluated based on student math test scores:

    “Among the most absurd hallmarks of the high-stakes standardized testing era are teacher evaluation systems that assess teachers on the test scores of students they don’t have and/or subjects they don’t teach. Why has this practice has been going on for years? High-stakes standardized tests are only given in math and English language arts. So complicated — and invalid — mathematical formulas are concocted to figure out how teachers who don’t teach math and English can be judged by those test scores anyway. ( In fact, for a few years in Washington D.C., every adult in every public school building, including custodians and lunchroom workers, were evaluated in part by the school’s average test scores.)”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/03/25/how-is-this-fair-art-teacher-is-evaluated-by-students-math-standardized-test-scores/

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    • No they are not, not in Delaware. We are talking about DE, yet you bring in other state teacher evaluation systems and act as if that is what is happening in DE and it is NOT. Art teachers in Delaware do not have the Smarter Balanced test scores in their evaluation nor did they have DCAS. Many of them got to design, or have other art teachers in the state design, pre and post tests about art and related to the art standards that they teach. Some even simply develop goals for student work or projects. They do not use “the Test” Even teachers that do have that as a part of their evaluation are measured by growth and only 50% of their students need to meet their growth target and if they don’t get 50% but get between 35 – 50% of their students meeting the growth target their principal can “bump them up” to meeting standard. And did I mention that teachers get to verify their rosters so that they can exclude students that have been absent more than 15 days, yes that’s right they are not held accountable for those with excessive absences and a few other exceptions. And the best part is that the growth targets are actually just the average growth that students scoring just like that student achieved over the past three years…yes that’s right all students have to do is grow on average just like students who scored identical to them over the past several years – the teachers are not actually given growth goals that require improving upon average growth from the past, yet when you hear some of them talk they are being asked the impossible…
      I was a group 1 teacher and never had a problem with my students reaching their growth goals and I had students that were in RTI math programs and just over 50% low income every year, two of the last years I was in a co-taught classroom with about 30% special education students in my classroom. Still I had between 63 and 70% meet their growth goals. Honestly, I’m glad I retired because the complaining I hear from some now is really disheartening to those that gave their life to educate children. It seems now many teachers only raise their voice about their evaluation, even the teachers talking about opt-out bring it back to teacher evaluation before they are done talking…

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    • Not advocating to hold teachers accountable to unwilling or unengaged students but what is Mr. Newton’s best assertion for how the public can regain control of an educational system that either refuses or avoids addressing pragmatic straight forward reform? The Charter and alternative schools effort was born out of deficiencies being unaddressed by TPS’s. Add in the resistance of teachers’ unions to have a documented protocol to fairly (is there ever going to be an agreed upon baseline?) evaluate teachers as good or bad ones (I do not claim there are an overwhelming number of bad teachers), school administrators who are just another level of the education bureaucracy and you have a nondescript soup of inaction. You don’t want an inappropriate test applied inappropriately but there isn’t a test to test students abilities AND identify if educational staff are a cause of inabilities. Be the governor and describe a fair test that identifies educational deficiencies AND identifies inefficient teachers AND has a direct line of action to solve the problems. When you’re done, I hear the middle east has some problems and they need a negotiator. That should be easy peasy to solve after we agree on how to improve schools.

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    • @MHS: The Charter and alternative schools effort was born out of deficiencies being unaddressed by TPS’s.

      We can go there, but only when you acknowledge that this is only one of the dynamics involved in that movement. The other was (and if you want to go back through the documentary history of the movement from the mid-1990s forward, we can) was a revolt by white middle-class parents against having their children sit in the same classrooms with poor non-white kids. It is no accident that the charter movement in Delaware only got up a head of steam once freed from the Federal deseg order, and there is exactly NO evidence that our schools perform any better–20 years later–since that happened. So I will grant you half your point as long as you are willing to grant the unlovely half and deal honestly with the consequences of that point.

      Then this: You don’t want an inappropriate test applied inappropriately but there isn’t a test to test students abilities AND identify if educational staff are a cause of inabilities. Ah, that’s an important admission. There is not a single test to do that. If only the Governor was that candid.

      Nor have you, or Publius, or anyone else explained the phenomenon that occurs regularly: a teacher with poor student scores at a high poverty school goes to a suburban school and immediately his/her student test scores rocket up. Likewise a successful teacher in suburbia is lured into a high poverty school and his/her test scores go down. Well documented across the nation (and in Delaware) but ignored by testing advocates, even though it severely compromises the reliability and validity of the test as a measure of employee performance.

      As for your complaint that my examples aren’t Delaware: (1) the first were examples of Pearson’s egregious behavior, and (2) the others HAVE happened in Delaware. Three years ago an elementary school in Delaware was listed as “needs improvement” by State authorities based solely on the test scores of five profoundly handicapped students who in fact attended a special needs school. But because they were assigned to the feeder pattern of that school, DOE used a technical ruling to count their scores against the rating of teachers and a school who had never even had them for a single day. Other examples within the state abound, but they are mostly hidden by confidentiality mandates. These sorts of Catch-22s exist in DE schools all the time.

      So I will be ready to examine your arguments seriously when you start actually dealing with the entire reality of the situation, rather than simply cherry-picking data to fit your premise (unions bad, traditional schools bad, testing ultimate arbiter, race and poverty don’t matter).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Publius e decere

      “Other examples within the state abound, but they are mostly hidden by confidentiality mandates.”

      And “snewton959” has access to this protected information? How is that?

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    • Publius, in all honesty I think I missed responding to one of your comments because kilroy has the damn blog set so that it is sometimes difficult to find the most recent one.

      But here are the last two for the night: you defend Pearson from accusations of monopolistic behavior by pointing out that it is a much larger monopoly than I asserted. Brilliant.

      As for how “snewton959” [next time, try to get the numbers right) knows about many elements behind confidential reports, gee–I thought you were paying attention. I’ve been involved in dozens of IEP cases and have sat on multiple state commissions and task forces, as well as served on accrediting and certification boards. I’ve had legitimate access to such confidential material in many venues for the past two decades.

      The example I gave, however, is NOT confidential; it was reported several years ago in the WNJ.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Steve- I believe you were quoting MRyder not MHS with your quotes – just wanted to clarify and make sure you knew that you had referenced the wrong person.
      In terms of our schools performing better: the state grad rate is up, dropout rate is down, more students are enrolling in college, more students taking AP courses and passing them, more students taking dual credit courses, higher NAEP scores, I think those are all indicators of our schools doing better than 20years ago

      Your second quote- also MRyder’s – but I’m so glad you have realized that the DPAS teacher evaluation is not based on a single assessment and so excited that school accountability will also move away from AYP and towards multiple measures

      Your comments regarding Pearson- you do realize that Delaware does not use Pearson as a test vendor nor did they even during the time period of DCAS. I’m not sure why you keep mentioning Pearson since they actually have nothing to do with the Smarter Balanced Assessmement.

      Your other point regarding a school under improvement- that sounds like NCLB requirements which DE has a waiver from and also sounds like support for moving away from a single measure like AYP to a framework of multiple measures as is planned to happen next year.

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    • kilroysdelaware

      “Publius, in all honesty I think I missed responding to one of your comments because kilroy has the damn blog set so that it is sometimes difficult to find the most recent one.”

      Steve, you might want to have those cataracts addressed. And how dare you use the word honesty and Publius in the same sentence 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Publius e decere

      Honestly! Fer shame, fer shame, Kilroy 🙂

      “929” keeps mentioning Pearson because among Pearson’s many marketplace competitors (read: not a monopoly) Pearson is a leader in strategy, revenues and growth. I guess 929 is envious. Pearson is a highly successful and value-adding and respected company. If “929” had read Pearson’s annual report (note to “929”: they have public securities reporting requirements) he might have been better informed as to the company’s credibility, integrity, effectiveness for the betterment of education. I’m sure the Federal Trade Commission has Pearson’s address so feel free to lodge an anti-competitive complaint against Pearson with the FTC and see how far you get. If nothing else, it will keep you off the streets.

      Instead of actually reviewing Pearson for what it is, “929” took the pejorative small-minded view of victim-versus-The-Man. Easy to throw around the words “billions” and “billionaires” and try to make it seem nasty, but of course the reality is what matters. Pearson’s total North American earnings fall short of “billions”, their executive staff members are compensated nowhere near “billionaire” levels, and company earnings reflect a wide variety of markets and products which are completely unrelated to his paranoid arguments about SBA testing.

      Common Core math: Which is the better description of “929 minus 929”: (1) better than sliced bread?, or; (2) mercy for the masses? Please answer definitively and show your work. Please don’t show your work in the margins despite the marginal value of the Object and please exclude any denigration of Pearson from your answer

      As for wearing the confidentiality of other people’s private cases as a badge of personal supremacy on a topic, all I can do is shake my head. Fer shame 929, fer shame.

      Publius

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  11. Puiblius e decere

    KevinO (on his OCD blog) is incensed over having to actually pay for public employees to set aside their regular jobs and service him individually and then he has the moxie to be upset that they would deign to charge him for it at cost without profit. Well, those set-aside hours are ones which you need to pay for otherwise the general public would have to pay for and frankly the general public is NOT interested in serving your paranoias.

    Kevin O: Get over it. And get over yourself.

    If you were not so mezzed up in your thinking you “could” have reduced your grossly broad FOIA request into something forked-over that they might have actually responded to for free. But your gratuitous self-serving over the top request was — well — dealt with as it deserved. They charged you full retail. Nice.

    KO-bro We get it. You are disaffected and upset over a system which does not disproportionately service you and your family disproportionately. We also judge your expectations to be unrealistic.

    Stop trying to show off with an effusion of words without meaning. Brevity beats all. Try it.

    Yo

    Publius

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