The Jack Markell Email That Has Delaware Teachers Seething

Exceptional Delaware 2017

JackMeme

Governor Markell sent an email to teachers and administrators thanking them for the latest Smarter Balanced Assessment results.  Meanwhile, people don’t care.  In the grand tradition of the former and very much lamented Transparent Christina, I hereby present the red-line edition of Jack’s chest-thumping email!

From: Markell, Governor (Governor)

Gee really, you need to write it down twice?

Sent: Thursday, July 21, 2016 2:01:51 PM (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
To:
K12 Employees
Subject:
Thank you to educators and school administrators

Thank you Governor Markell for forcing students to take this test and for teachers to administer them.  God bless the opt out parents!

Dear Educators and School Administrators,

What, no love for the parents? 

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer.

You too Jack.  Speaking on behalf of teachers, thank you for interrupting our bliss and harmony with this email.

As many of you may have seen…

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20 responses to “The Jack Markell Email That Has Delaware Teachers Seething

  1. lastDEconservative

    Only in the People’s Republic of Delaware could so much fuss be made over so little, probably none, well, perhaps negative improvement year over year.

    As Mr. Rogers would ask, “can you say ‘within the margin of error, boys and girls?'”

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  2. 51% of my students were proficient this past year. Only 28% of the very same same students were proficient in the year prior. I think that’s within the margin of error.

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    • lastDEconservative

      If it were my decision last year, you probably wouldn’t be here this year. 51% is dismal, let alone 28%. Few people, or classes of workers, stay on with that kind of results.

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    • Using the same test? A 23 percentage point improvement. If using the same test then that is an improvement. If using a different test from last year, I’d say it was a function of different tests-different results.

      Will the other 49% of the class be repeating the grade or will they be passed on to the next teacher who will then have to contend with nearly 50% of the class not at proficient “grade level” readiness?

      Brass tacks: Passing students incapable of grade level work will only result in a deeper and deeper deficit which the next teacher will be assailed for not getting them to grade level. Support the teachers- No student should enter their classroom unless they are AT GRADE LEVEL competency. Perfect justification for a teachers union. Oh wait, the union doesn’t protect or support their teachers that way. They just prevent teacher removals and funnel money into the Democrat party.

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  3. Of course it’s not the same test. The 2nd test was on material (primarily) from a grade level above the 1st test. So that 23% went from not being proficient at a lower grade level to becoming proficient at the grade level above (which implies that they are now proficient at the previous year’s work too since you need to understand 4th grade math to understand 5th grade math).

    Your second question, about passing on students who are not proficient on this particular test (SBAC) raises a good point. At what point are students held responsible for their own learning? I contend that if they were, we’d see an even greater improvement in these scores. You are arguing up the wrong tree there. But it’s a fantasy to think that the SBAC will become an end of year promotion test – it wasn’t even designed for that purpose. If you did some research, you’d see that the purpose of this test is not actually to measure individual students, but rather to measure teachers, administrators, and ultimately schools. A “promotion test” would like very different than this test. You should do some research on test design. Or maybe get a(n)(advanced) degree in education.

    But to your brass tacks implication that students “incapable of grade level work will only result in deeper and deeper deficits” is not entirely true. Clearly, some of those students (quite a few!) who WERE below grade level in the previous year are now AT or ABOVE (yes, some of my students went from a level 2 to a level 4 in one year) in the following year. Under your assumption, someone who did poorly in math in 3rd grade is destined to fail Algebra I. That’s just not true.

    You live in a fantasy world, by the way. But I think you know that.

    Bottom line: Markel’s email was rather vile. But most of us don’t care. We just go to work and do our jobs (some of us really well), and keep on earning that free dental for life, as you call it. Me? I make a difference. And I have the data to prove it.

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    • John, first and foremost, I believe most teachers are doing the best job they can given their circumstances (i.e.: lack of administrative support, lack of parental responsibility, lack of funding that isn’t redirected 10 ways til Tuesday). Second, the “growth” model test is a politician and teacher union concoction (to your point in its efforts to evaluate staff/ schools) which we all know is riddled with holes because it neither holds teachers / schools accountable nor helps verify students are ready for next year’s material. I am not an educator however, logic dictates a test is an effort to establish proficiency or competency. (Teachers take Praxis tests, Lawyers take the Barr exam, etc.) If teachers/ schools fail to have passing students, then what’s going on in the school needs to be questioned. It could just be that students aren’t putting forth sufficient effort to pass or it could be the school isn’t presenting appropriate material. In either case students shouldn’t move on to the next grade unless they demonstrate competency.

      Students should be required to pass statewide standardized minimum competency end of year tests. Schools are supposed to be teaching students the knowledge to progress into society and adulthood. Failure of these tests would indicate the student is not adequately prepared to move on. Very simple. Not simple for those who are far more liberal in what they think students should or shouldn’t know. Not simple for those who don’t want their little Johnny to repeat a grade. Not simple for those who want students with learning and behavioral disabilities to pass through school without being held accountable (that’s a whole other hornet’s nest). This is a viewpoint in support of teachers. This puts a population in a teacher’s classroom that is ready and capable to progress through that class.

      Markell IS VILE but he’s a politician and they’re whole existence is based on perception and their ability to cloud perception from the facts. He’s going to spin it. They all do. The voters’ responsibility is to see the facts from the perception (i.e.: dare I say voter competency) We keep passing students without competency and we end up with voters, voting for our recent crop of incompetents: Markell, Clinton, Oblamo, and a plethora of others. It correlates nicely. Next effort: voter competency tests!!! Do you think a growth model test will work for whether a voter gets more competent over time? What would happen if only those who know who is 3rd in line for the presidency could vote? What would happen if only those who know that the president is supposed to enforce immigration laws and the constitution, not circumvent them or decree his/ her own laws, could vote? Hmmmm. Outcome would be a little different don’t you think? The fantasy is that logic be applied instead of letting chaos and irrationality rule the day. Your right, I am in fantasy land.

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  4. To John who asked “when are students responsible for their own learning”. I don’t believe that was the question. The question was about passing them. Does it really matter whose fault it is? If a student isn’t proficient in the grade level classes that they are currently in, why in the fuck are they getting passed to the next grade? It might not be their fault but they are the one who will be paying the price. Stop social passing, it’s disgusting and morally criminal and I put most of the blame for it on teachers.

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    • lastDEconservative

      Of course it matters whose fault it is, mom. The entire victimology structure is based on blame, and specific allocation thereof. M can repeat it better than I can, but it starts with being stupid, racist (i.e., white), elitist, selfish, makers, determined to keep the takers down. Help me out here, Ryder, what have I missed?

      And to John, I’d be laughing if your eduspeak explanation of how the incredible gains (right) worked out wasn’t so sad and pathetic. Good grief, man, do you really believe what you said makes sense — wait, of course you do, that’s what eduspeak is all about — so, do you really believe we think it makes sense — wait, of course you do, that’s what eduspeak is all about.

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    • LDC, I’ve lost track of how many derogatory “jello” shots have been thrown at the wall to diminish facts.

      P-Mom, the obviousness of thinking students should be able to pass the grade they’re in is just that; too obvious. Asking teachers to not pass students who aren’t ready for the next grade would also seem to be obvious. Teachers however exist under administrators who don’t want parents berating them (or Jea Street suing them) for enforcing decorum, behavior or academic standards. Maybe if we tie the same teacher legal requirements of notifying the authorities of possible child abuse to a teacher’s passing or not passing students, it would give the teachers the leverage to tell weak kneed administrators, “My teaching license depends on me only passing competent students, Mr./ Mrs administrator-go pound sand.”

      What do you say John? If your teaching license depends on only passing students who pass the grade, would that be the leverage you and other teachers need to stiff arm the casual interference of administrators to socially promote? I’d vote for that law. Like an engineer’s PE license being revoked when they design a bridge that falls down.

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  5. What are the consequences on teachers if they do not pass their students?

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    • lastDEconservative

      I’m guessing it must be the loss of free dental for life, Jack, as it seems they fear the consequences mightily.

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  6. The sooner he is out of office, the better!!!!

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  7. I am somewhat awestruck at how little the denizens know about how the public education system runs. 1) Teachers do not create policy. You’re barking up the wrong tree, again. Ask an administrator, or a board member for promotion policies. Ya see, we teach. We do not write policy. Shaking my head at the ignorance here. The public wanders around griping about teachers who run school districts. Are you kidding me? Clueless. 2) I have neither fear of, nor pressure from, the administrators for whom I work regarding any grade I place on a report card. Thankfully. An A is an A. An F is an F. What the administration does after that with a student is based on policy (again, one that teachers haven’t written). 3) Good luck coming up with a (final) test, for every grade level, in every subject, that is acceptable to 300,000,000 people in fifty different states. It would have to be based on a common set of standards….hmmm…common standards….hmmmm…I wonder if we could agree on a common set of standards? Good luck with that. But I think what you’ve bought into is this whole “3rd grade college and career ready” nonsense. No 3rd grader is college or career ready. Again, a 3rd grader can fail math miserably, and master Algebra I in the 8th grade. Master. I’ve seen it. Time and time again. The argument that math is a series of rungs on a step-ladder that must be mastered, in order, in exactly the same period of time (one year for each rung) flies in the face of how math is actually learned – on a curve, at different rates. I’ve seen parents worry about their kids moving into an honors section, only to find that that student is the brightest in the entire honors section (but she once got a D in math, and a 2 on the DCAS – not deemed college/career ready). But educrats have sold upon you the belief that if Tommy isn’t college and career ready in the 5th grade, he, maybe, should be held back and repeat the 5th grade. I have a clue for you, what he needs to understand in a repeated year in 5th grade is also reviewed, and retaught in 6th grade. This is why a student can go from a level 2 performance in one year, to a level 4 performance in the next year, on the SBAC (or DCAS). Quit relying on what Bill Gates has told you (have you dealt with a Windows update??), and rely on your own personal experiences – or on those who actually experience the process of a child learning.

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  8. I call bullshit. Teacher’s are the front line. Forget the testing thing for a moment. Tell me that you can’t pinpoint which kids are years behind academically, will never go to college, will probably end up behind bars. Just let us know if you think teachers can or can’t tell which kids are at risk. Are all of our hands really this tied? Neighbors, relatives, and especially teachers all know which kids are at risk and which ones are being neglected in school. Why do we do nothing about it?
    If your A is an A and F is an F, then kudos to you, I don’t know if all teacher’s do that, my son was almost 2 years behind in reading but getting B’s on his report card.. his teacher said that was because he was showing improvement. I told her I thought B work meant above average and although I was happy he was showing improvement, it has nothing to do with grades.. I no longer trusted grades at that point. I guess I realized how subjective it is. Just lost my train of thought, exhausting day, goodnight.
    LDC sorry for throwing the F bomb in my previous comment, that was my wine talking

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    • lastDEconservative

      No need to apologize. I love it when you talk dirty. 😉

      That’s a great story, your son’s B report cards while 2 years behind in real life. Well, great in the sense of supporting your “call.” We keep wondering where the bottom is, don’t we? Just when I think we’ve hit it, and maybe a bounce back will come, along comes a John to remind us of the population on the front lines, directly and indirectly (you do loyally pay your dues to the Fred & Co., don’t you, John?) enabling the culprits they decry as the cause of the mayhem. I’m reminded of the adage of all the moms out there, “point one finger and there are three pointing back at you.” I’ll grant the whole system is the epitome of corruption top to bottom, but I will call out anyone who claims a personal exemption from contributing.

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  9. LDC, per your first post on this line. I don’t like to make this comparison but it does get the point across. You claim the teacher would not still have the job with 51% passing if it were your decision. Should a welder or machinist on an assembly line be fired for the product they are a part of building (let’s say a car. specifically a car suspension) repeatedly failing, even though it was due to substandard materials? The point being, to expect a teacher to get all students up to grade level on one questionable test when the majority are well below grade level as they enter the classroom seems to be a flawed strategy if your goal is improving the system.
    The difference between the two situations is that the welder or some other employee may identify the substandard materials and send them back to the supplier. The teacher has no ability to return the student to the previous grade.

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    • lastDEconservative

      Yours is a substandard dodge, not well thought out as most of the hand wringers’ excuses are (for which I give them destroyer points).

      What part of what assembly is a child not able to speak the King’s English at a level society demands, or expects? Granted, society at large by some measure, but the suspension that is society at large doesn’t collapse; the child fails at the hands of adults who turn their heads, cover their eyes, point blame elsewhere …

      And if not the teacher, who, sir/ma’am, does escort the child “back” to the office for reassignment? Who?

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    • “The point being, to expect a teacher to get all students up to grade level on one questionable test when the majority are well below grade level as they enter the classroom seems to be a flawed strategy if your goal is improving the system.”
      Hello Guest: THE WHOLE POINT is that all parents, all teachers, and all schools should be promoting the idea that students/ children are capable of age and grade appropriate work. The expectation is NOT that teachers should be able to bring students up 2 years when the student is either incapable or inappropriately socially promoted. “Growth” and efforts to assign accountability to teachers based on student growth was a deflection by the teachers union to combat the effort to assign any accountability on teachers. No doubt, they were combating the politicians and social justice crowd who have been thwarting teachers common sense practices but the “growth” model was and is not a functional criteria for whether a child should be identified as grade ready. “Growth” is like participation trophies. Of course a child will grow (intellectually and physically) over the course of the year. If they don’t ‘grow’ at all, then they’re just not conscious, at which point the state (taxpayers) are not at fault.

      “The teacher has no ability to return the student to the previous grade.”
      Most parents would be on board with teachers having this ability. Most residents/ parents think this is one of teachers’ primary roles: ascertain students capability. Teachers should be able to very quickly identify if the incoming student is capable or not and should have the jurisdiction/ authority to refer the student for remediation. Teachers promoting students, when that student is not capable, is like the Quality control agent giving approval for using deficient materials. The quality control agent would be literally ignoring their whole purpose for being. To pass the materials or child on, KNOWING they are not capable is a dereliction of duty. It is the politicians, social justice crowd, Jea Streets and participation trophy crowd who have neutered teachers abilities to do their job.

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  10. Why does the teacher have no ability? They have no authority or ability to say “wait, hold on, Johnny isn’t ready to move on, we need to hold him back”? Can they not do that or just that they don’t do that? Seriously, it looks good on a teacher to have their students do well, right??

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  11. “The teacher has no ability to return the student to the previous grade.”- no but they can at least keep them in the current one. Come on, we are not talking about sheet metal. These are our children. Stop looking the other way. Hold them back and teach them at grade level and don’t pass them until they are ready for the next grade level. Or prepare their cell.

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