Delaware Governor Markell Vetoes Testing Opt-out Bill as predicted!

Markell vetoes Delaware testing opt-out bill  Matthew Albright, The News Journal

Gov. Jack Markell has vetoed a controversial bill that would allow parents to pull their kids out of the state’s standardized test.

Did you honestly think he would support it ?

Markell has opposed the bill since its inception and rallied business and civil rights leaders against it.

Is that “rallied” or “Ra$$ied” ?

In a press release, a group of Wilmington civil rights advocates praised Markell’s decision. They included Deborah Wilson, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League; Maria Matos, president and CEO of the Latin American Community Center; H. Ray Jones Avery, executive director of the Christina Cultural Arts Center; and New Castle County Councilman Jea Street.

Maria Matos = RODEL

H. Raye Jones Avery = RODEL 


31 responses to “Delaware Governor Markell Vetoes Testing Opt-out Bill as predicted!

  1. Publius e decere

    Maria Matos = President and CEO of the Latin American Community Center

    H. Raye Jones Avery = Executive Director of the Christina Cultural Arts Center

    Maria Matos and H. Raye Jones Avery = community leaders with a legitimate point of view on the systemic value of standardized testing for the benefit of the system, “underrepresented” groups, and accountability at a personal and organizational level.

    Markell’s veto of this anti-education bill was not only obvious based on his record and statements, but it was the right thing to do. A smart legislative body will let the veto ride.



  2. Vicki Seifred

    The “systematic value of standardized testing” only works when we, as teachers, have validated and curriculum aligned tests to administer and meaningful and timely data to interpret and guide our instruction. This is NOT the case with the Smarter Balanced Testing We have also just been informed that results will not be made available until September. How can this possibly be helpful when almost 6 months has passed since we administered these? As a teacher, I have always welcomed validated, norm referenced standardized tests that provide me with data that I can use. Smarter Balance does not provide this to me.


    • lastDEconservative

      Interesting. In my day, teachers wouldn’t have even thought of such a thing as having some entity or individual other than themselves provide “data” or the means to it other than what they saw squirming in the little chairs before them, and were perfectly capable of dealing with, each instance to itself, and did. Without calling for a medal.

      We’ve since passed through teachers succumbing to all manner of such outside … help … and have now reached the point where the outside meddling and diminution of themselves is only a question as regards the nature of the interference, not the fact of the interference.

      And we wonder why the kids can’t read or reason?


  3. Publius e decere

    Is the purpose of SBAC to be “diagnostic” at a student, teacher or class level? Or is the purpose to evaluate the system, the results of a broad but identifiable group? I can see that you want to have a useful diagnostic tool within your classroom, but I don’t think that this has ever been the purpose of statewide standardized testing.

    As for curriculum alignment, that is within the control of the partnership between district administrations The SBAC is supposed to be aligned with standards of the Common Core, not to be aligned with any particular curriculum toward those standards. If a curriculum is defective and does not meet the standards, then focus on the curriculum setters.



  4. since it does neither Publius, how and why do you defend the one thing we know it does for sure: suck cash from the system.


  5. Publius e decere

    SBAC does measure systemic results. I defend the public’s right to know how its billion-dollar system is performing. And I want to see results (student achievement) by district by school, by demographic groups, and eventaully by teacher. One can hope that someday we will have a test to also evaluate our boads and our unin leaders..

    Do we really want to debate the merits of a district taking (in your words, sucking) public money while failing to meet the conditions under which that money was offered? This was a pyhrric outcome in CSD in recent years, but hardly an example to emulate.



  6. lastDEconservative

    Show of hands for all those as surprised as me that the leaders of the Perpetually Aggrieved and Resources Starved are applauding Marxell for protecting their positions at the trough … that’s what I thought. Taking the wink-wink cue from Marxell and Arne and Co. that all test takers will show diminished results, and knowing that due to the sustained and historical hard work they and their progenitors have done to ensure that their various fields of plantation dwellers will do orders of magnitude worse than the norm, they heave a sigh of relief and invest in laudatory fireworks in support of their spiritual leader who once again performs his quid in anticipation of their quo.

    “But last, what of the business leaders being all in for the testing? They are the polar opposite of the PARS?”

    Ahh, so simple. They don’t care about the test. They don’t care about the kids at all, per se. They protect the test because it’s part of the bigger scheme, in fact, a cornerstone, that will funnel them a lifelong supply of undiscerning, not -educated-, but well -trained- code writers at the expense, not of the businesses, but of the taxpayers! C’mon, you know that! Hearing Ernie say (admit) it out loud, almost that plainly, to a Vision auditorium with 250 people present, took even my breath away. America, land of the directed, and home of the drones. Coming soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Greg MAZZOTTA


    I write in support of Vicki’s comment that a “systemic perspective” be
    used to evaluate education systems; alignment and measurement.

    Please consider that we are now fifteen years into the deployment of the Baldrige/Education framework that has brought us several role model schools, best practices, case studies, and a growing community of learners
    and teachers. One of the achievements is the book: Leading for Equity: the
    Pursuit of Performance Excellence in Montgomery Cty Schools, the preferred text for schools of education.

    Our work in Milford schools was supported by: DSEA, DASA, DDOE, the Chiefs, DSBA and corporate philanthropy; What happened since then?

    In a few months, we will be celebrating the 100th Baldrige Award recipient
    and an Education organization may be selected; Stay tuned. The Delaware (state-level) Quality Program will be hosting a Quality Matters workshop
    at a Higher Education organization to begin their Quest for Excellence journey.

    As quality guru, Phil Crosby stated in this book: Quality is FREE.


    • lastDEconservative

      Look who’s back!

      From Amazon (bracketed breakout emphasis added by yours truly):

      Leading for Equity tells the compelling story of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools and its transformation in less than a decade into

      [ a system committed to breaking the links between race and class and academic achievement.]

      In chapters organized around six core themes, the authors lay out the essential elements of MCPS s success. They identify key lessons other districts can draw from MCPS s experience and offer a framework for applying them. A dramatic departure from business as usual, MCPS has won nationwide attention as

      [a compelling model for tackling the achievement and opportunity issues]

      that confront our nation as a whole.

      I’ll assume we need not even consider dismissing this tome with EQUITY as its central evil. Okay.

      Now read the unintentionally honest summary. Here’s a little help for the majority lacking discernment: Does it say MCPS — accomplished — anything? NO! But it is “committed to” the task, it is “tackling the issues,” so the authors deserve to be paid, good hearted equity drummers that they are.



  8. lastDEconservative

    In other surprising news, Vision 20xx announces formally the introduction of its self granted ten year reprieve from scrutiny or the expectation of results vis a vis its long and storied history of unfulfilled ballyhoo.

    Student Success 2025
    An education that prepares every Delaware child for a lifetime of success.
    In just two months, the Vision Coalition of Delaware will release Student Success 2025, a bold 10-year plan for public education in the First State.

    With three months to spare! I wonder if Jimmy will interview them and ask, as Major Garrett might, if they are “content” with once again ignoring the facts of multiple past failures of their “visions” and cynically starting a new campaign as if they just now discovered fire, expecting us not to notice the uncounted smoldering piles of ash behind them. Or maybe Kilroy will rise to that duty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Greg MAZZOTTA

      Timelines for Student Success?
      In 2000, Montgomery Cty School District, the nation’s 11th largest,
      began their quest for (education) excellence and in 2010 received
      the Baldrige Award. Others, both K-12 and Higher Ed systems
      have taken more or less the same amount of time. In a few weeks,
      we will learn the Education applicants that will receive a site visit from
      my Baldrige examiner colleagues with a winner announced in November.

      We, in the Delaware quality community have tried to collaborate with
      the Vision Coalition of Delaware only to have been stiff-armed.

      A “rules change” requires all applicants – Education, Health Care, Manufacturing, Service, Non-Profit/Government, Small Business – to
      use the resources of their state-level program for the first leg of their
      quest for excellence journey. The Delaware Quality Program will be
      presenting a workshop at a Higher Education organization soon and
      remains eager to help Education Leaders in pursuit of continuous improvement and transformation.

      Please consider the lost education opportunity costs from 2000 to Present.


    • Publius e decere

      So where do you lead your legions from here? Call-back special session and override? Or walk to the diminishing light on the horizon, tail in hand? Or just a grass-roots “let’s all protest” rant?



    • Publius, do you really think I wouldn’t have prepared for this eventuality? You know me better than that. I should be thanking Jack, because his actions assured more opt-outs next year. Many, many more. And we are gathering more parents by the day. It should reach your neck of the woods quite a bit. And we will not tolerate any of the shenanigans that occurred in so many of our schools this year. Whether the veto happens are not, we will stand strong and support each other. REFUSE THE TEST DELAWARE!


    • If I were you Publius, I would be a bit more concerned with the storm coming your way in about, oh, sometime in the next 75 days. Love, Dr. Doom


    • Publius e decere

      Bully for you.


    • Words that sting… 😉


    • The public speaks with its feet. They have chosen charter schools in large numbers.

      “Whites-only” drinking fountains were also chosen by large numbers of people. That didn’t make it right, and it doesn’t now. Even today I hear there is a Wilmington public high school with 6% African-American enrollment!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. john kowalko

    No ranting or tails in hand (unless we hand you yours). We bring it back for an override vote in January, as the people have demanded, and move on despite the Markells and other corporate flacks such as you, Jed, would like the story to end. Next time you visit Disneyland try some other attraction besides “fantasy-land”

    Representative (for all the public school parents) John Kowalko


    • Publius e decere

      Nice John. “Jed” Did I attend middle school with you? Oh. no. My parents could not afford it. Lucky you.

      Why January? Why not now? Strike while your iron is hot. Surely you can find a way to call the legislature back. Or, are you actually in recess? Be careful with this one.

      I’m not sure that Disneyland has a “fantasy land”. Should we fact-check that?

      As for your “(r)epresentative for all the public school parents” I’m sure you recognize that as a matter of law (laws which the legislature put in place) the schools your seem to abhor — magnets, charters, ability-based-separatist-schools-within-a-school such as Red Clay operates) ae — drumroll — PUBLIC schools.

      Now if you were to be tempted to say that “there are public schools, and then there are public schools” —- well, “there are representatives, and then there are representatives”.

      I realize that you live in a district which overwhelmingly supports the Newark Charter School yet you somehow feel that those supporters are not supporting a public school. You might also want to consider that in your neighbor’s district .. Red Clay .. more than 50% of ALL public high school students attend magnet and charter schools. Yeh JohnBro, more than 50%.

      Maybe it is time that you take you head out of the white powder and consider what it is that the public really wants. If you could only get behind the REAL public will you might have something going for you. Your adherence to the flamboyant vocal and visceral exceptional minority puts you in a pigeon hole you may not appreciate over time.

      The public speaks with its feet. They have chosen charter schools in large numbers. Stop disrespecting us, start listening. Or stand aside.



    • So much theater JK. Really? We still remember the theatrics of Minner’s judge salary plays and the effort to present legislative outrage. We all must just be that stupid (and cowardly) to not see that the “vote” for opt out was quite an easy vote for most of our reasonably smart legislators. ” Let’s all vote for something we already know parents have the choice to do anyway. It will make us seem receptive to the plebeians, we will kinda smack Marxell’s hands even though we know he’s got the cards, the feds, and the money in his pockets, his veto vote may or may not matter next year, he has no more coattails we have to ride and we’ll have something to run on next year as a campaign point. YAY!” Thanks JK for the easy vote.

      I know KO is adamant he doesn’t want his children stressed by taking a non binding test but this really is much ado about nothing and for you to claim it as though you landed on the moon by the will of “the people” is just silly.
      The test is bad. Yes it is. Fix the test.
      The test should be a tool to identify children’s ability for the material they’ve covered in school. It doesn’t. Fix the test.
      The test identifies which school’s children are smarter or have better test taking ability. Yes. But it doesn’t identify how to help the kids. Fix the test.
      The test is geared toward common core which none of the schools pushed for so it’s a test created for something the schools don’t or didn’t focus on. Fix the test.
      The teachers can’t see the test and yet their performance is graded on children taking the test so they don’t have a firm grasp of the parameters the test is evaluating. Huh? Fix the test to an aligned statewide robust curriculum and tell Arne and the feds, we’ll see you in court over the extortion to get the federal funds. Whoops…Dem governor, Dem AG, Dem State, Dem Feds….No lawsuit. Funny, they all play in the same kiddie pool.
      The test is designed to funnel money to Gates and his educational materials business. Follow the money and we know why we’re even talking common core and SBAC.
      (We won’t even begin to mention the test doesn’t offer social services, Anxiety medicine, hand holding, hints for answers,and milk breaks. That comes under the next administration)

      Final parting shot is that the test results for any given student are not reproducible which means the test is flawed and most certainly its subjective grading (like figure skating judges who give better scores for the color of their outfits ) only reinforces the pathetic condition of the test. Fix the test.

      What insulting name will you call me this time? JK. Your humble cowardly peasant awaits your unrelenting insults and tongue lashing. It must be a stress relief for you to call people names. I cannot go to bed without a good beating massa.


    • “The public speaks with its feet. They have chosen charter schools in large numbers. Stop disrespecting us, start listening. Or stand aside.” Last I checked Publius, charter schools enroll what percentage of students in Delaware? Could it be, yes, it is…13%. I don’t disrespect the concept of charter schools. I disrespect the ego some of the people leading them or serving on their boards have. I disrespect the fact that funds have been STOLEN from classrooms. I disrespect that big business in DE stands behind you because they are making money off it. I disrespect those charters who dare to pretend they have “lotteries” but still wind up not having equitable populations of students. I disrespect any school that has enrollment preferences that would shut out any student. I disrespect the charter movement driven by big business, non-profits and greed. The public is listening, very well. Stop acting like you are so much better than other public schools, because you really aren’t. We see through the façade, and we know why so many charters are anti opt-out. Because it will force you to do more than teach to the test. And that’s when the charter movement begins to crumble…


    • M Ryder, you have no clue. They won’t fix the test, because it is already fixed. Just wait until the scores come out, and you will see exactly what I have predicted all along. The results will be atrocious, but some schools will do better. It doesn’t take this long to score these kinds of tests, but it does take much longer to skew them and mess with the data…If things stay status quo, they will never “fix” the test.


  10. john kowalko

    Dear Cinderella and her footman,
    If the shoe fits wear it.
    I think the governor has pretty well proven how little he cares about poor children when on the same day he vetoes this bill the state awards $1/4 mill to a wealthy charter while Christina, a district with the highest number of poor children in the state, unable to pass a referendum, lays off 100 teachers. Last i checked all of Christina schools were also public schools with tens of thousands more students and much less money from your corporate masters. Certainly not enjoying a “performance/slush” fund available only to charters. Bye the way those charters can and do accept generous endowments from private and non-profit (Ha!) entities that traditional overcrowded schools cannot accept. I don’t need to call either of you insulting names since your ideas of equitable and fair treatment for all Delaware children is obvious to all and provides a perfect description of your attitude and malevolence,
    John Kowalko


    • Publius e decere

      More middle school name calling. Nice. Not.

      How exactly is a school “wealthy”? Maybe you could use your awesome FOIA powers to tell us what the Christina District spends per student and then compare that ratio with the ratio for your favorite-punching-bag schools. The unaudited districts might be difficult to get an accurate number from, but the annually audited charter schools have the information readily available. For a real comparison, to back up your unexamined assertion, get the district expenditures by school building and then from there get the building $ per student. Good luck with that.

      I do believe that your neighboring district, Red Clay, has a non-profit foundation to which you can donate all you wish to donate — on a tax-deductible basis if you so wish — for the benefit of district-managed schools. I’m not sure if Christina has a similar fund, but if not it begs the question “why not?”. There is nothing stopping your favorite billionaires from donating wagonloads of money to these foundations. Yelling insults rarely attracts billionaires, nor does wishing you had a foundation without doing the basic legwork to start one and the consistent followthrough work to build iit up.

      I’m pretty sure that you keep getting pushback because you seemingly refuse to discern between equitable opportunity versus equal outcomes. If you insist on supplanting the work ethic of our democratic republic with a saccharine gruel of fables, then up your game and try Aesop. Or Ben Franklin.



    • Mr. qué,
      If the shoe that fits is a big boot suitable for kicking, should I wear it? I couldn’t tell who you were talking to. There isn’t anyone named cinderella or footman.

      If you and the other “esteemed” officials had provided full funding, would the charters have had to seek alternative revenue sources to insure the children they took responsibility for had adequate (albeit less funded) facilities? If TPS’s with all their State and federal funding had been providing adequate education, would this debate be going on? Had Christina not damaged the public trust would the public have supported the district in its last two referendums? Who’s more distasteful, corporate sponsors recognizing a need for better education and putting money into it or public and school officials squandering billions of hard earned tax revenue on things that provide little educational benefit?

      Fair and equitable? Bash underfunded charters and parents for trying to obtain good education and support public and educational institutions who have shown the extreme propensity to waste “other people’s money”. That’s fair and equitable to you?


    • M Ryder, do you have a copy of Adventures of Superman #500? Back in 1992, DC Comics killed off Superman in Superman #75. The value of the comic shot off like a rocket, and comic book retail outlets who ordered wisely saw profits take off. A few months later, DC decided to bring back Superman, and his return was expected in Adventures of Superman #500. Stores bought the issue by the truckload. Everyone thought it would be another Superman #75. It wasn’t. In some dusty basement of comic shops across America, there are probably boxes and boxes of unsold Adventures of Superman #500.

      Far too many Delaware charters are Adventures of Superman #500, and not Superman #75. They purport to be “better”, but the reality is, they aren’t. You can put the nice shiny cover on the school, but if you cream your way to the top, of course you will look better. But you don’t have to look too far under the surface to see the reality. This whole charter argument has been going on for the past 20 years, and neither side will bend. The difference is, charters are coming up on a huge can of whoop-ass on a state and federal level. It won’t be today, and it won’t be tomorrow, but it is coming. If you want to sit there and blame Christina on the whole Joey Wise stuff, so be it. However, the main reason Christina is suffering is because of their tremendous loss of enrollment due to charters opening up like condom shops on prom night all over Wilmington. So let’s not pretend things are any way but what they are. You can live in the past, but me, I’ll live in the here and now. Thanks!


  11. john kowalko

    Charters get the same amount of unit count funding as traditional schools, not a penny less and they get approx. $850 per student in transportation money compared to approx. $550 per student in traditional schools. Both are required to return unspent transportation allotments by law except traditional schools never have any and must bill the local funds for the difference while charter schools have had the law contravened by a little trick called “epilogue language” in every budget since 2009 which upon budget passage permits the charters to keep an unaccounted windfall sum of the taxpayers’ dedicated money which has averaged out to in excess of one and a quarter million each year since. Then there’s also the little matter of the “Charter School Performance Fund” another slush fund accessible only to charters which has been distributed to some well off charters. $3 million last budget and $imillion this budget while Christina is forced to layoff 100 teachers. There are other little pots of gold that charters access although they receive an equal amount by unit count formula. So if you wish to debate fairness, equability and honest proportionate distribution of money for public get down off your high-horse/jackass of ignorance and educate yourself with the facts. That’s as polite as I will ever be with anyone whose intemperate comments with no basis in facts and truth are tossed at the blog wall to see what sticks.

    Representative John Kowalko


    • lastDEconservative

      ” … while charter schools have had the law contravened by a little trick called “epilogue language” in every budget since 2009 which upon budget passage permits the charters to keep an unaccounted windfall sum of the taxpayers’ dedicated money which has averaged out to in excess of one and a quarter million each year since.”

      Once again, JoKo Ono reminds us how little the elected have to do with what goes on in their own shop. And many buy it. Sigh.


  12. ” However, the main reason Christina is suffering is because of their tremendous loss of enrollment due to charters opening up like condom shops on prom night all over Wilmington”.
    – Love it Kevin. Thank you for that sentence!!
    So, in your opinion, what should be done with schools with tremendous loss of enrollment? So curious to hear your answer.


    • Publius e decere

      I thought his “whoop” comment ran a close second.

      CSD is incurring a loss of students over time due to families who choice out of district, familes who choose public charters, and families who choosed non-public schools. The data on these three are clear. Each family has its own reason for choosing and fully participating in the choices they make, even those who choose to stay in the CSD district.

      An additional possibility for CSD’s persistent decline in enrolments over time is that when a family moves here from out of state they look comparatively at school taxes and quality and then DQ CSD in favor of Red Clay if their emphasis favors quality) or Appoquinimink (if their emphasis favors lower taxes). And for the few who look even further into things they will find the negative and resentful tone being set by a few outsized voices in the district. All resulting in “thanks but no thanks”.