Beatrice Coker stood in front of some of Delaware’s most influential people and gave them the truth.
Delaware Online: “Let’s get real about this and stop playing games with cute little programs,” she told a roomful of top state leaders, superintendents and business leaders.
If Delaware’s education system has a conscience, it is this lovable fire hose of real-talk, who everybody just calls “Bebe.”
Coker’s big-hearted advocacy on behalf of Delaware kids, particularly low-income kids of color, has earned her widespread admiration and high honors. She gave that fiery speech while accepting the prestigious John H. Taylor Jr. Education Leadership Award from the State Chamber of Commerce’s education affiliate.
“Even when you’re governor, you’re not beyond the reach of Bebe Coker,” said Gov. John Carney. “She won’t hesitate to say to me ‘Oh c’mon. That’s a bunch of…’ fill in the blank.”
But for all the respect and accolades Delaware has bestowed on Coker, I sometimes wonder if anybody is really listening to what she’s saying.
Kilroy’s comment: It’s ironic that Bebe accepts an award named afterJohn Taylor Jr the main cheerleader for the Rodel Vision 2015 that was to bring world-class public schools to Delaware.
Much of the failures in public education goes back to my concern to the question of why is it a bunch of millionaire and billionaire white men control the reform of public education? The “cute little programs” is nothing more than a front to justify creation of more useless middle-management in public education and to funnel back monies to educational related industry. Political lobbyist associated with these companies are alive an well.
Delaware Online: But for all the respect and accolades Delaware has bestowed on Coker, I sometimes wonder if anybody is really listening to what she’s saying.
After all, Bebe’s truth is a hard truth to hear.
We — particularly we white people — like to think that, for all the problems our school system has, things are generally headed in the right direction. After all, we’ve desegregated schools; we’ve created Title I funding for low-income kids; we’ve had a Race to the Top and we’ve Left No Child Behind.
Kilroy’s Comment: OMG Bayou Whiskey Bay Albright lights a fuse with that analogy failing to point out Title 1 isn’t the same as originally authorized under ESSA aka NCLB aka ESEA. In fact, ESSA stripped Title 1 Section 1118 Part A under NCLB now gone under ESSA . Section 1118 is the cornerstone achievement of William “Hick” Anderson’s long battle with local and federal government that demanded seats at the decision table for parents of Title 1 students. The was a systematic assassination of this unique power of parents. Race to The Top didn’t no include Title 1 parents as prescribed by law that required their direct participation because it impacted Title 1. Once Race to The Top was in place it allowed broad NCLB waivers in which those wavier allowed the state and school districts to ignore Title 1 Section 1118 Part A which was federal law. Title 1 was the core component of ESEA and NCLB but under ESSA funds are somewhat flexible.
Delaware Online: “The idea that if you just have black kids and white kids sit together then they’re going to learn — it doesn’t make sense,” Coke said.
To Coker, busing illustrates a fundamental error: We think that a system that works for one kind of kid works for every kind of kid, and if we can just replicate the systems that work in all our schools, all our kids will perform.
“We give these standardized tests knowing darn well that there aren’t standardized kids,” she says.
Kilroy’s Comment: Coker and I know monies pissed away on broad standardized testing and the bullshit middle management overseeing is a cash cow program. At the end of the day, no matter how you cut it, the academic deficiencies of most poor children relates to “reading”. Former Delaware Governor Minner got it and provided extra state grant money for extra Reading Teacher followed by extra state grant money for extra Math Teachers. Both became know as Minner Reading and Math Teachers. Governor Minner also support the Delaware State Parent Advisory Council (DSPAC). In comes Governor Jack Markell who installed Rodel associates in the Delaware Department of Education. Under Markell , Minner’s Reading and Math teachers and the defunding of DSPAC. Nothing is being done to restoring and expanding those Read Teachers.
Standardized Testing has become another cash cow. Who remembers , DSTP (Delaware Student Testing Program). Standardize testing was imposed by the federal government as a condition to NCLB funds. It did not require teacher or student consequences Rodel and John Taylor supported, They in fact supported the 3- Tiered Diploma push, This system would have given high achieving students a Distinguished Diploma, students meeting standards a Standard Diploma and a Basic Diploma based on score on the DSTP nothing else. The DE DOE director of assessment at the time John Tanner support the 3-Tiered Diploma. Old Kilroy looked him right in the eye and said, you are victimizing the very students / Title 1 by giving them a Basic Diploma. His response was, “every war has it victims”. Tanner bailed on DSTP and went to work for Hartcourt Brace the testing company that he worked with to developed the DSTP and who had the state testing contract. DSTP was dumped for DCAS which was under piloting testing when Jack Markell was elected as governor. Markell move toward The Smarter Balanced Assessment and out went DCAS. We had a generation of students who were exposed to DSTP Piloting Test, DSTP, DCAS Piloting Test, Smarter Balanced Piloting Test and the Smarter Balanced Assessment, today’s Delaware’s standardized test. MILLION OF DOLLARS were pissed away whereas, that money could have been better served adding READING TEACHERS,
What good is it teaching children Social Studies, History, Science and any other subject that requires reading and reading comprehension at grade level? The “cute programs” are not working.
Delaware Online: Coker thinks this one-size-fits-all approach to education has undermined the profession of teaching, which she thinks ought to be the most noble in the world.
Teachers, she says, are being trained how to teach “average” children who don’t really exist — and, if they do exist, they are suburban white kids.
Kilroy’s Comment: In comes Common Core methodology that strip teachers of individuality and forces them to teach to the middle. Today’s teacher are forced to stop crying and stop sending disruptive kids to the office and just SUCK IT UP. School administrator refuse to provide supplies students are to bring to school such as paper, notebooks and pencils. Many teacher pay for these supplies out of their pockets.
Delaware Online: Teachers are not equipped to, for example, teach reading to kids whose parents couldn’t or didn’t read to them when they were little. They aren’t properly trained in how to reach kids who don’t get enough food at home, or who are grappling with the trauma of neighborhood violence or domestic abuse.
There is little training for teachers to understand different cultures, and how those cultures might affect a child’s learning.
Kilroy’s Comment: OMG ! King Cake for Matt Albright and throw in a bucket of Crawfish! I also think state certified , Highly Qualified Reading Teacher are qualified to teach many at-risk students. What I find interesting is many new greenhore teachers themselves were products of public K-12 schools and when entering the class for the first time , the culture shock hits. I think was Albright my being unknowing suggesting is, perhaps we need high qualified teacher diverse the culture of at-risk student and the impact of their environment. Albright also leaves out disengaged parents whereas poverty is not an excuse to be not engage.
Delaware Online: “We expect kids to conform to us, when it should be the other way around,” she said.
Kilroy’s Commnet: I have to add, we should expect all kids to conform to behavior standards and teach authority. School don’t operation under jailhouse rule where the weak need to lock strong. Flip-side, many schools that went to school uniforms under the pretense that more affluent student attire makes poor children feel inadequate is bullshit. It was a move to prevent intercity kids dressing reflective of their culture style.
Delaware Online: To be clear, Coker does not blame teachers themselves. She blames the systems we have built around them.
Kilroy’s Online: A system built on a white agenda to circumvent goals of desegregation. A system that allow charter schools to design programs that through admission preferences that exclude at risk students and student in the district they live in where the charter school is located. Same goes for magnet schools a bit less intrusive. And then their is Carper and Markell’s Choice school systems where Delaware pubic school school can pick their school! BULLSHIT ! What a WHITE LIE !
Delaware Online: Basically, Coker thinks we’ve reduced the job of teaching to paper-pushers who follow inflexible rules. Instead, they should be “educational engineers” who use creativity and inspiration to reach every child in the way that uniquely suits them.
Kilroy’s Comment: Don’t blame the teachers on this. This all goes back to Rodel where Coons. Carper and Markell played $$$$ ball. Them there is the idiot that went from making beds in Hotels to running the Charter School Network.
Delaware Online: Coker is currently trying to convince the colleges that train teachers to develop new coursework that better equips them for more diverse settings. She is not done speaking truth to anyone who will hear it.
Kilroy’s Comment: Maybe she needs to knock the Twins on the head and tell them stop eating out of the hands of the white status quo. She needs to light the fire under the asses of the NAACP. The current condition of Delaware’s public schools is a clear violation of civil right fixated in keep African-America’s down. And look very close! I didn’t say. African-American children. The White rule has the agenda down in that, to keep a race of people down they must do so by keeping children down particularly males.
Bebe you better take Sister Crosby with you. Because you’ll need heavy artillery.