Delaware News Journal two-dimensional veiws misses the mark re: Testing Opt Out

Testing vote still avoids solution News Journal Opinion

The “education war” turned more dramatic last week. The Delaware House of Representatives decisively passed a testing opt-out bill Gov. Markell opposes. If the State Senate follows suit and passes the bill, the stage will be set for a veto.

After last week’s vote, participants on all sides spoke politely about “issues” and the process, but underneath it was a power play. The governor lost this round.

At “issue” is the demand that parents have the right to exclude their children from standardized testing in Delaware schools. The testing has become contentious on both the political right and the left.

The left, backed by the teachers’ union, does not want teachers, students and schools held accountable for their performances as judged by test results. On the right, the opposition is a response to a perceived federal government takeover of local schools.

“Perceived federal government take over of local schools.” I am not going to go into a deep rant other than say the News Journal is full of shit! Race to The Top a federal grant not federal law was a hook with billions of dollars attached tactfully suckered states, RECA and DSEA into biting. Governor Markell was a willing participant to the Trojan Horse agenda. Markell made an offer that could’t be refused delivered by his pool boy DOE Dan to each and every school board in Delaware.

Now that the Race to The Top is done and over you’ll hear key educators say “we must move on” when reminded of their dance with the devil. Not going to happen at Kilroy’s. Many local school broads approved the Race to The Top MOU at the request of their district superintendents at time local and state education funding was stretched thin due to the recession. It was a game of play now and pay later. Judas sold-out tomorrow’s public school teachers to preserve as many of today’s teachers jobs. I get it and understand backs were against the wall. However, “the time to move on” is nothing more than protecting those with Race to The Top egg on their face! And those who knew damn well what as going on! Judas was rewarded with a DE DOE job that in the end bumped her state pension. 

Race to The Top had Common Core Standards and The Smarter Balance Assessment in tow.

The fight has been building for years as Delaware and just about every other state pushed to judge the performance of our schools by measuring what children learn. The testing has become more frequent and the data gathered has become more complicated.

In Delaware the call to end DSTP was because it was a single student assessment indicator twisted into measuring teachers effectiveness with a 20% pay penalty attached. As for students there were consequences such as mandatory summer school, grade retention and those 3-tiered diplomas. Sounds good in theory but based on one indicator it wasn’t so good. Teachers with the support of parents pushed backed and demanded multiple indicators to measure students and teachers. Teachers said “measure us on student growth” So in comes DCAS an assessment that did just that! So now came the time for teachers to pay-up! It was better to go along with Race to The Top which created a diversion and put the Smarter Balanced Assessment in motion aka another can to kick down the road. The only way for teachers to create another diversion is to disrupt the Smarter Balanced Assessment. In comes the “intense” parental and community support for testing opt-out. Once again like with DSTP parents took the ball and ran with it with teachers laying back making it looked like its a parent movement. One of the things parents called for was a growth model test. DCAS was that growth model and even Delaware PTA was on board. But the price to pay was more disruption to learning time with a test taken three times a year. A test that could have been avoided if teacher accountability was based on a local district agreed accountability plan using district driven multiple indicators. HOEVER in defense of good hard working teachers, accountability must be a three-way deal with parents, teachers and administrators all being accountable for their “responsibilities.”  Red Clay did take a stab at just that with the parents, school and district contract all signed by parents, school and district.  But, it was a no go when Red Clay asked to be cut out of the state’s plan. I KNOW ALL OF THIS FOR A FACT!  

The issues are very complex as is the politics within. Parents are pawns in this chess game and there are parents within that demonstrate the ability to understand the issue to a point we they don’t see the true agendas within.

The opt-out is 100% on the mark! Rep Jaques does have a good heart and in his mind he is right and of course loyal to Markell. But in the big picture as I personaly told him and all board members in attendance of the New Castle Combined Board Meeting , from a parents view this testing opt-out is more of a symbolic move to say we’re all tired of federal and state intervention of local control. Enough is enough! We have student in the system today who have been exposed to the DSTP, DCAS and now The Smarter Balanced Assessment. And lets not forget all the pilot test and realignment of  curriculum to meet the needs of the new assessments. The data across this time-span is shewed and is pretty much invalid. Does Rep Jaques have the courage to call for legislation requiring charter and traditional schools be funded like votechs? No referendums? Local tax rates set by state legislators? The testing opt-out is an assessment on Governor Jack Markell and pretty much says, Jack Markell has failed our children and educators and let it be known election 2016 is just around the corner.  

At the end of the day if the testing opt-out makes it through the state senate and signed by the governor the reality is, students and parents win nothing unless we see the dismantling of Delaware participation in this national political laced agenda such as the Common Core Standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessments. We need to see state education funding be based on needs based funding. Whereas we see more teachers and more paraprofessional not administration, testing and consultants. We need more transparency on the local district school to allow parents and the community to be the watch dogs. Government proved time and time again the can’t be their own watch dogs. Look what is happening to high poverty charter schools! They are being uses pawns, as examples of how Markell can close failing schools. But at the same time Markell continues to allow discriminatory charter admission preferences which are seeded in state.  

The current standardized testing regime is flawed and over technical. A solution that would work for all of the children and all of the parents is needed.

And to do so we must end the federal intervention of local control and put a firewall between the governor and education policies that meets the needs of national education political agendas rather than state and local education agendas. 


25 responses to “Delaware News Journal two-dimensional veiws misses the mark re: Testing Opt Out

  1. Reblogged this on Exceptional Delaware and commented:
    Kilroy and I don’t always agree 100%. Whatever may have initially started the opt out movement, it happened. I’m going by what is happening now and I see parents changing history one voice at a time. The key will be holding on to that momentum!


    • kilroysdelaware

      One voice at time is on the mark! The Opt-out movement is really the first to say enough is enough with the overreaching education agenda where Markell plays puppet to D.C. and Wall Street, where unions go along to get along agreeing to wrongheaded unproven reform agendas and where state legislators but in on face value the bullshit Markell shovels.

      You can bet the farm come 2016 we’ll see the implosion of the education house of cards and will have a long road to recovery of the Delaware Department of Education.


  2. You can’t claim this was started by teachers. Many of us are also parents. Yes, I myself was a forerunner in this movement, but it was not because of my JOB but rather because of my CHILDREN that I became interested. I felt I had a stronger voice as an educator than as a parent, but now I feel my parent voice is just as powerful as it needs to be. Parents are becoming educated and empowered. Don’t make the parent/teacher boxes so exclusionary.


    • kilroysdelaware

      No the movement wasn’t started by teachers. It was started by parents who support public school teachers and understand the thankless job they do! Parents were clueless about Race to The Top seeded with the Common Core Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessment. Also the NCLB wavier pushed aside Title 1 Section 1118 and still to this day I feel RTTT is illegal as it circumvented Section 1118. Title 1 parents were not part of the planning and review of this plan. Markell is a bully and held state ed funding hostage in return for all the RTTT MOU agreement. Someone say to me forget about Race to The Top and move on! Bullshit ! I know who the ones are holding the box of matches behind their backs as if they had nothing to do with starting the fire! I support the opt-out and I support any legislation returning decision making of our public schools back to the community !

      ” Parents are becoming educated and empowered.” And they are learning to move in the political circles.


    • Man, you’re preaching to the choir. I AM one of those parents. It’s just tough to also be an educator and constantly hear that my interests are due to not wanting to be held accountable, etc. etc. My interests are solely with what’s best for MY kids in this issue. The bigger issue of how standardized testing needs to go away entirely is another issue, and on that one I’m speaking fully as an informed educator who knows there are other options 🙂


    • kilroysdelaware

      You and I know 99% of all teachers just want to do their jobs in peace and have the flexibility to use their individual creativity. The Red Clay parents and the community are prime examples of how local control can work. Yes there was those parents who seeded the charter school movement and then came parents standing up saying at what cost to Dickinson and McKean. Local innovation is the call of the day not agendas hatched in D.C. and Wall Street.

      The internet aka social media from blogs, FaceBook, Twitter, online mainstream news and even testings is an entirely new ball game in education. And board meetings are coming via recordings for those who can’t make and home doing their parenting jobs. Parents and the community are reading new legislation as they are being posted in Dover long before mainstream media picks them up. Site-base management can work with these new tools. Hopefully we can reverse course in 2016 and elected a governor who doesn’t have an ego bigger than his pride! I don’t foresee NCLB reauthorized before the next election and I hope not! And God save us if Markell is appointed next U.S. Sec of Ed!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is very important to be very clear… The opt out movement was seeded. cultivated, nourished, and grown entirely by parents. Teachers were bound by gag orders, signatory silences, and had their social medias mined for any anti-corporate sounding statements….Even if they wanted to speak out…. they could not, not even privately.

    It was entirely pushed forward by parents…. and it was entirely because of this stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid test being forced on little tiny children that will make them unfit for all future public employment or college..

    We all know that no one but bloggers ever read the opinion page of the News Journal anymore and the only reason bloggers stoop to read it is because in it one can easily find something to write about because the News Journal never gets their facts correctly…It’s like a free food buffet.

    Did I just say the News Journal never gets their facts correctly?…. In case I didn’t:, the News Journal never gets their facts correctly.

    Who else but the stupidest, stupidest, stupidest, stupidest, stupidest, stupidest person in the whole state of Delaware (Sweeney, I guess there are no brains in that big head of yours) would ever stoop to lying like this? “participants on all sides spoke politely about “issues” and the process, but underneath it was a power play.:” If it was a power play, you would have the governor’s 11 votes against, (including the Speaker;s)… it was far, far bigger than a power play.

    No, it is the test… Always was. still is… and always will be…. It’s the test, stupid….. How dumb can you be?


  4. ^To answer my own question:

    Obviously too dumb to take the test… If you had, you would know by now that to defend the indefensible, is the ultimate measure of stupidity….

    Gosh, they are SO STUPID………


  5. lastDEconservative

    Kilroy, I must congratulate you on the headline, the intent if not the words. It is alarming lately to see the shallowness of the editorials at the NJ over the last, what, couple of years? Even in defense of, or as an apologist for the worst possible policies and actions of the capital S State, their construction of arguments, their presentation of scholarly observation … comes across on about the level of an average 7th grade TPS kid.


    • lastDEconservative

      Or should I say, Charter scholar? 😉


    • lastDEconservative

      Can you set a preference for emoticons over emojis? I’m so tired of the noseless millenial’s version of one of my generation’s contributions to the demise of polite society I could scream.


  6. john kowalko

    Published in today’s News Journal

    The Sunday “Our View” article entirely missed the point of House Bill 50, the parental opt out bill, in a number of ways that continues to muddy the waters of education reform. To proclaim that “Testing Vote Still Avoids Real Solution” in your headline shows that your editorial board has either failed to read or comprehend the legislation. The bill does not purport to be any “solution” offered to correct or attempt to correct flaws in Common Core, the Smarter Balanced Assessment or the education reform movement being foisted upon the local governments by Arne, Gates or President Obama himself. It is certainly not a hidden “power play” by the author, yours truly, but may be called a “power play” by the parents of Delaware’s public school children In order to wrest back their rights as parents from the feverish grasp of the non-educator salesmen who produce product after product in an isolation chamber in a never ending attempt to sell said products under the guise of education reform tools.
    Particularly insulting and ridiculously lacking in any serious attempt to draw a logical conclusion and compare relevancy were the two paragraphs in the piece that started with “What was interesting” and ended with “opting out of the traditional school systems.” Allow me to explain more clearly to readers. It was and is a vote/legislation for “parental rights” (it doesn’t just claim to be) and that is expressly obvious in the legislation. The bill is limited and specific to opting out of the “Smarter Balance Assessment” and even a cursory reading of the bill and its amendment would make that obvious. And to respond to the ridiculous notion that HB 50 could “actually catch on” and be used indiscriminately belies the fact that this legislation is specific and pointedly refers only to the SBA, foments an absurd notion with no reasonable logic to claim any such thing. Furthermore if the professionals at the newspaper, wish to assert that they “know of no other issue where parents have a right to opt out” I would suggest that they take a look at the over 1,000 households that legally home-school in many cases without a skilled or professionally trained educator as oversight.
    There is no implication or authorization of a “parent trigger” in Delaware law and especially not in HB 50. To somehow imply that the “parental right” reaffirmed in HB 50 should be immersed in the fertile imaginary haze promoted by your editorial board in that regard insults those thousands of parents and teachers who know their rights and demand them of this government.
    Two of your article’s most egregious and serious misrepresentations of facts in the HB 50 discussion are your construction that this is a product of the teachers’ union to protect their members and- even more appalling- the reference that this bill somehow deconstructs a system that would validly assess performance of minority students and they would “slip through the cracks”. Although your editorial board was obviously not in attendance at either the committee hearing or the floor debate you erroneously conclude that this argument was overlooked in the “pro opt-out campaign” since it was vigorously considered and debated yet relegated to its proper place as a straw-man argument from DOE and the Governor. Those two paragraphs merit an apology to all of the sincere and honest people who supported this legislation for what it really is not what some would imagine it to be.
    In conclusion let me state that I wholeheartedly agree with your final paragraph “The current standardized testing regime is flawed and over technical. A solution that would work for all of the children and all of the parents is needed”, but little else in the article.
    State Representative John Kowalko


  7. lastDEconservative

    ” … education reform movement being foisted upon the local governments by Arne, Gates or President Obama himself.
    ” … wrest back their rights as parents from the feverish grasp of the non-educator salesmen who produce product after product in an isolation chamber in a never ending attempt to sell … ”

    Damned shame isn’t it, that Delaware has no legislature, no elected representative government in place to do the will of the people and provide leadership there around, and to protect the citizenry from such predators so distractingly presented here.

    All you need to know about His Pompousity is contained in these few words: ” … those thousands of parents and teachers who know their rights and demand them of this government.” Any one who believe government’s job includes possessing or granting rights, is, well, a sucker for such as this. Governments are instituted among men (in America) to protect God given rights, including and especially parental rights. That an office holder would believe the opposite is a truly sad commentary on him and on the boobus electorate.


    • Unless you’re the guy who sat next to me getting a pedicure in South Dover a few years back asking me if I was still proud of the Obama/Biden magnet on my “rust colored car” and threatening imaginary death panel door knockers with shotgun blasts to the face while accepting bite-sized pieces of mango from the Vietnamese lady exfoliating your foot skin, you are not the last conservative in Delaware. Be happy you aren’t alone!

      That’s totally not germane to the conversation, but it popped into my head.


    • lastDEconservative

      Hey! Long time no see! How are your old dogs looking these days?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. ok, i’m going back into the Kowalko Vortex by asking a question that he cant/wont answer:

    in the comments section of the delaware online OPEd John, you state “because there are some districts and schools that were refusing to recognize the parental right.”

    this statement sounds like a violation of civil rights and lawsuits should be filed against those districts and schools and those refusing should be fired. why isnt that happening? Why hasnt the AG filed lawsuits? Why havent you brought the ACLU in to file on behalf of those parents whose rights were violated?

    do you need to write a new bill saying african americans can be served at the denny’s down the street if they are told they cant be? no, you would sue becasue of that violation. so instead of writing a bill (and holding NO ONE ACCOUNTABLE) file suit!


  9. john kowalko

    Oh Arthur! your so charmingly uninformed and unable to comprehend things that I’m beginning to enjoy your childlike curiosity. It’s like that curious cat thing. Maybe someone should buy you a catnip soaked toy to amuse you or how about little bells installed in your keyboard to assist in your own manufactured bewilderment. Of course your not a cat so you could dial a phone and ring me for a civilized dialogue re all of your queries. Bye now.
    Representative Kowalko


  10. john kowalko

    Bye the bye Artie you may wish to read the comment section again and see that my son made those remarks in response to another woefully uninformed and unable to comprehend troll (who at least identifies herself). Make no mistake about it my son is quite capable of defending his own statements, but I had to point that out to your holiness sorry, (shallowness)
    Representative John Kowalko Jr.


    • Warning – we are in the vortex – 0-2 in getting an actual answer – we are in the vortex….


  11. john kowalko

    Here’s a question: How many monkeys in a room typing randomly would it take to produce a better argument than Arthur has ever made on this blog?
    Answer: probably one relatively bright monkey.
    John K.


  12. Pencadermom

    Seriously Arthur, how could you not be enticed into the civilized phone conversation offered up here?


  13. john kowalko

    You are also welcome, anytime, to a conversation with me. Probably more civilized then your comments re Kevin O. but welcome nonetheless. if you wish to have a dialogue about issues or policies I’ve always encouraged that. Your occasional sarcastic efforts to defend Arthur’s attempts at some type of investigatory journalism could also be part of the discussion since I have always welcomed an open dialogue intended to discourage personal attacks.

    John Kowalko