Embattled Markell Administration raises the white flag on charter schools!

Markell: No more charters until strategic plan exists Matthew Albright, The News Journal

Delaware needs to come up with a plan to make sure its schools, especially any new charter schools, are meeting existing needs, and no new charters should be approved until such a plan is in place, Gov. Jack Markell said Thursday.

I am going to throw Publius a bone! There was no need for Governor Markell to make such a¬†declaration and I question his¬†executive¬†powers to do so. As I said many time before, I don’t oppose charter schools as they are part of the school choice process. My concern is certain aspects of the enrollment preferences and this is where the focus on a ¬†review plan needs to be. Governor Markell’s surrender¬†degrades the charter school framework¬†which has been more ridge re: new charter school approvals.

Markell said the state will take a statewide look at what services its students need and what services they might not currently be getting. It would then create a strategic plan to meet those needs  

The question isn’t what services but rather they inequities in the delivery of services via charter schools tied to¬†discriminatory admission preference.¬†¬†¬†

“As the interest in charters continue to grow, we’ve got to make sure the schools that are opening are the right ones for our families,” Markell said.

Now we need to make all schools; charters,¬†traditional, votech and magnet schools not have admission standards that promote de facto segregation, limit their¬†services that exclude or intentionally limit at-risk and¬†special¬†needs students. As for those magnets schools, so what a student don’t come out the other end a world class¬†musician or dancers! The arts funded via K-12 dollars shouldn’t be reserved for a select few. All public and charter schools should have “enriched” arts for all to¬†participate.¬†¬†

The move is a direct result of interim recommendations from the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee, which Markell created to find solutions for city schools.

So the¬†recommendation¬†of a city of¬†Wilmington¬†plan should be¬†extended¬†beyond city¬†boundaries? Makes no sense! However, the rapid concentration of charters within the city compounded by four¬†traditional school district within and a votech is a concern as it adds to the fragmentation of community voice. Markell could have made his¬†executive¬†order¬†limited to the city of Wilmington as “that” community had spoken!¬†

For more on the plan and reaction from charter leaders and others, keep reading DelawareOnline.com and read tomorrow’s edition of the News Journal.

For more of an¬†uninhibited conversation keep reading Kilroy’s Delaware, Transparent Christina, Exceptional Delaware and Delaware Way. Blogs that drive the conversation and effectively impact change for the sake of all children.¬†

Kicking the can of accountability down the road once again! But the accountability tools are flawed!

A longer reprieve on teacher evaluations? Matthew Albright, The News Journal

Teachers could get a second year without scores on the big state standardized test factoring in their evaluations, as the Delaware Department of Education announced Wednesday it wants to ask the federal government for a longer reprieve.

I had to give this one a bit thought! One one hand, here we go again, kicking the can down the road. We did it with DSTP, DCAS and now The Smarter Balanced Assessment. So it will be 8 years of Governor Jack Markell at the helm and he couldn’t devise a fair plan to hold teachers¬†accountable. On the other hand, I feel we need to hold teachers accountable at the local district and charter school level. The can be a due process and¬†standardized fair teacher¬†assessment¬†at the district level and the best thing we can do is¬†eliminate¬†the VT process or better rate¬†restrict! If a teacher’s¬†performances is questionable at one school why allow them to VT? Also, I do believe we are getting better at teacher preparation and we need to reach out and help¬†struggling¬†teacher but set a timetable.¬†

Delaware already has federal approval to forgo using this year’s results from the Smarter Balanced Assessment, the tough new test kids are taking for the first time, in teachers’ evaluations. If the State Board of Education signs off, Delaware would ask the feds to allow them to remove next year’s results from the evaluations as well.

Same thing happen with DSTP and DCAS!

“We have been listening to feedback from many of our stakeholders, including our teachers and state representatives, on this important issue, and we will make this request on their behalf,” Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said in a news release.

OMG coach! The only thing you been listening to is fart-bubbles running down you pant leg! Face it, it’s all about protecting¬†Governor Markell’s¬†fantasy of being a change agent when it comes to public school reform! All filled with falsehoods!

Designed to measure whether students are meeting the Common Core State Standards, which are supposed to set a higher academic bar, Smarter Balanced is designed to ask more of students than previous tests, often requiring more than multiple-choice answers.

So let me get this right! Students particularly at-risk student have trouble as it is reaching the bar many claimed to be too low will now be ask to reach for a higher bar? So ask more questions with less choices?

¬†As a result, scores are expected to plunge. That fact, along with the text’s complexity, has made many educators nervous about using the test to judge their performance.

I give! What is text’s complexity?¬†

Since Smarter Balanced only measures performance in reading and math, only educators that teach those subjects are affected.

We’ll that’s screwy? Why wouldn’t we want to hold history teachers,¬†science teachers and all other teachers¬†accountable to the same standards as reading and math teachers?

Baumbach goes it alone on H.R.#6 re: Social Promotion! Yep the time has come to stop handing out hollow diplomas

148th General Assembly
House Resolution # 6

Primary Sponsor:



{ NONE…}

Introduced on :


Long Title:


Synopsis of Orginal Bill:

(without Amendments)

This Resolution extends the deadline for the task force’s findings and recommendations from March 1, 2015, to April 21, 2015.

Current Status:

House Passed   On   03/17/2015

Full text of Legislation:

(in HTML format)


Email this Bill to a friend

Full text of Legislation:

(in MS Word format)

Legis.Docx   (Microsoft Word is required to view this document.)

Voting Reports:

House Voice vote: Passed 3/17/2015 2:15:13 PM——->Voting Record

Actions History:

Mar 17, 2015 – Passed in House by Voice Vote
Mar 17, 2015 – Introduced in House

My response to Rep. Jaques apology.

Originally posted on Transparent Christina:


View original

Delaware has no specific laws prohibiting parents from opting-out re: state standardized test @destateboarded @dedeptofed @foxnews @huffingtonpost @washingtonpost @arneduncan @DoverPost

I challenge anyone to provide a link to a Delaware or Federal Laws specifically prohibiting parents from opting their children out of state standardized test!

Though the federal law requires the states to test there is nothing in the way of prohibiting parents from opting out! Don’t get confused with what the feds say the states must do in regards to testing with law prohibiting parents from opting-out! There are none!


H.B.#50 “This bill creates the right for the parent or guardian of a child to opt out of the annual assessment”. If there were a law prohibiting opting H.B.#50 would be¬†amending¬†it.¬†

Rep Jaques speaks out and is heading for the wrong side of history re: Parent opting-out of testing

Opting Out Is Not A Viable Option Earl Jaques 4:57 p.m. EDT March 15, 2015

I will come right out and say it: I do not agree with the movement for parents to opt their children out from standardized testing. I have several reasons for that, but I want to acknowledge that while I don’t agree, I understand why some parents, teachers and advocates are pushing for this. They are frustrated by a system that does not function as well as it should, with different versions of tests seemingly being rolled out every couple years and students and schools being labeled as failing when that might not reflect the entire picture.

Pal you just poured gasoline on the fire! You see the concerns that are valid but yet stay on your knees for Markell! 

These are all valid concerns, and whether you believe that opt-out is viable or not, we all share the same common goals: We want our children to be successful, and for that to happen, we need to ensure that our schools are functioning well and our teachers have the resources they need to educate their students. I believe that standardized testing plays an important role in this.

You missed the point! Even the President of Delaware PTA is saying she will opt-out! We don’t share you goals of federal intervention in local issue!¬†

Is there too much testing? Absolutely. But while much of the focus on standardized testing is on the federally required tests, a sizable amount is state- or district-administered. That is why I joined with Governor Markell Thursday calling for a comprehensive review of all state/district testing and assessment.

You better pack your back because you’ll be leaving office just like Markell. And the state has no business in local district testing and WHY NOW? It all about smoke and mirrors trying to¬†manipulate¬†parents reducing district level test to protect The Smarter Balanced¬†Assessment! You’re play parents for¬†idiots and it will backfire!¬†

We must remember that the Smarter Balanced assessment is supposed to be a measuring stick ‚Äď not a whip to induce pain on our children and teachers. When I graduated from high school I had to compete with children from within our state. But today, our children compete against children across our nation ‚Äď and even globally ‚Äď for jobs and schooling opportunities.

Are you on CRACK?? Do you have any idea what stress this test will have on special needs student? Go get em John Young! Global bullshit Rep. Jaques! 

The idea of “opting out” sounds appealing to some parents. Removing their child from testing is a form of protest and a way for them to take ownership of the situation. But consider the side effects. Imagine a class of 25 students where five opt out of the tests. What message does that send to the other 20 children who have to take the test? ¬†

What message are you sending staying on your Markell knee pads to push the Wall Street agenda that feeds off of testing and the “required” learning materials needed!¬†Again, you just¬†poured gasoline on the fire and PTA better lead the charge or we’ll call for opting out of PTA !

To be clear, I do not support test scores being part of the teacher evaluation system. I have joined my colleagues in requesting an additional year be added before we allow test scores to be part of the teacher evaluation system as part of our state’s ESEA waiver process.

If you don’t support it end it! You don’t make sense! You say you don’t support it but are joining your colleagues to delay it one year and then apply it to¬†evaluations!¬†

Lastly, the consequences of opt-out policies remain largely unknown. In other states where opt-out policies are in place, opt-out rates are far from uniform across demographic groups, which could compromise the data we receive from the tests and jeopardize our federal Title I funding.

There are no specific laws federal or state prohibiting parents from opting-out their children from the Smarter Balanced Assessment and since you mentioned Title 1 you better read up on Title 1 Section 1118 that was ignored when designing Race to The Top, Common Core Standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Title 1 parents are to be included in such decision!

 I sympathize with those parents, teachers and advocates who have grievances with our current standardized testing system, and I am committed to working with all stakeholders to tackle this problem to benefit our children and grandchildren. We disagree on the opt-out method, but we are heading toward the same goal. 

You’re full of shit! And you are¬†victimizing children for the sake of Governor Markell’s egotistic honor! And what about the¬†Special¬†Needs children ??? They should not be tied to your¬†social¬†whipping post!¬†¬†

Legislative showtime approaches for H.B #50 re: opting out of state testing

148th General Assembly
House Bill # 50

Primary Sponsor:


Additional Sponsor(s):    Sen. Lawson


Reps. Baumbach, Keeley, Matthews, Spiegelman, K. Williams, Yearick; Sen. Henry

Introduced on :


Long Title:


Synopsis of Orginal Bill:(without Amendments) This bill creates the right for the parent or guardian of a child to opt out of the annual assessment, 

Current Status:

House Education Committee   On   03/12/2015

Full text of Legislation:

(in HTML format)


Email this Bill to a friend

Full text of Legislation:(in MS Word format) Legis.Docx   (Microsoft Word is required to view this document.)

Fiscal Notes/Fee Impact:

Not Required

Actions History:

Mar 12, 2015 – Introduced and Assigned to Education Committee in House

Delaware rookie Rep Sean Matthews digs in and engages the education issues of Delaware

Standardized Testing Divides Us, Let’s Unite by¬†Sean Matthews is a teacher and represents the 10th District in the Delaware House of Representatives, which includes the communities of Claymont and Talleyville.

Read entire post here ………………………

How did we get here? In the aftermath of the economic collapse of 2008, the federal Department of Education approached cash-strapped states with a proposition: We’ll offer you federal money to keep your education budgets solvent, but only if you agree to the conditions set forth in our newest federal program, Race to the Top (RTTT).

After Delaware “won” a substantial RTTT grant, local districts immediately raised concerns about the strings attached to the money when it came to achievement standards, evaluation of teachers, and local control over schools. In the years since Delaware implemented its RTTT policies statewide, we have seen these concerns deepen and multiply, with standardized testing at the heart of them all.

Rep Matthews, DSEA, all the local unions and all the school boards (not all¬†individual¬†board¬†members) voted yes for Race to The Top. The language was in the RTTT MOU and the deal was cut with Markell. As for Red Clay, Merv was part of Markell’s Race to The Top dream team that went to Washington. However, I was there when DOE Dan told Red Clay’s school board, either you vote for the RTTT MOU and get the money or else don’t and you’ll still be held to the new state education regulations that are¬†aligned¬†with RTTT goals with no¬†additional. Former board president Becnel came a¬†bit¬†unglued¬†and pretty much¬†told DOE Dan to kiss his ass and voted no! The only board member to do so! But yes, Markell boxed the district in the corner and pretty much said if he didn’t get the support for RTTT MOU he’ll cut local state¬†discretionary¬†education funding to the district. Then there was the limo deal and the Judas deal!¬†

Unless we choose to believe that the hundreds of teachers who work in city schools care less about their students than their colleagues in the suburbs, we must acknowledge that poverty, not personnel, is creating the divide in these school systems.

Standardized tests widen this divide, labeling poor students and their schools as “failing” without offering a real solution to the underlying problem that causes the division.

Well here is where you are on to something! Though poverty is no excuse for not learning or not teaching it does impede one’s ability to learn and teach. It is my belief and based on public record the intent of ESEA aka NCLB was meant to address the¬†achievement¬†gap between white¬†and black students. This goes back to 1965 long before surge in illegal¬†immigrants who are not to be denied K-12 education in Delaware. ELL needs have added to the funding drain re: underfunded federal mandate. Now we move into college / career¬†readiness¬†for all students¬†which further strains funding meant to close the achievement gap. Title 1 funding has be used to pay SAT testing fees for all students whereas Title 1 funding was meant to serve the children of poverty. The¬†targeted¬†assistant¬†methodology¬†was push¬†aside for¬†school-wide Title 1 serving schools via school-wide with the high percentage of poverty. Targeted assistant was viewed as a racially identifiable program. However, with the Neighborhood¬†Schools Act many mostly city schools have become racially identifiable and with a minority rate high than prior to the¬†desegregation¬†order. Now it’s referred to as de facto segregation.¬†¬†

It’s easy to label a school “failing” based solely on test scores. It’s easy to create new schools that use enrollment preferences and “counseling out” techniques to weed out at-risk students. But it’s difficult to fix endemic poverty and lagging parental involvement. We need to do the hard work.

You’re on to something rookie! The data that fueled ESEA aka NCLB was clear, minority African-American students¬†particularly¬†African-American male¬†performed¬†well below that of their¬†white peers. Prior to the lifting of court order busing and the passage of the¬†Neighborhood¬†Schools Act the minority¬†population was not as¬†concentrated in any given school whereas now it is and these schools are the lowest performing. It was all predictable! There has been gains in closing the¬†achievement¬†gap and graduation rate for minorities. Something was working and funding to add¬†additional¬†teachers to¬†effectively¬†lower class sizes¬†never¬†materialized. Even with passage of Delaware Class Size law funding wasn’t¬†sufficient. The Class Size¬†Waivers¬†were place by default because the state¬†legislators knew they didn’t legislate funding and created another¬†unfunded¬†mandate.

As far as testing to collect data to better meet objective, how long is long¬†enough? We know the needs and the¬†characteristic of student entering public education at the¬†kindergartner¬†years. Poverty is an indicator. We know what services are need to meet these needs and we know smaller class sizes is “effective”. If we were to take all the funding used for test, the¬†development¬†of testing¬†and the technical hardware and software¬†specifically¬†need for testing and take it and apply it to boots on the ground aka more teachers and¬†paraprofessional we would have better outcomes for high-risk students. Also, all the money being used for¬†consultant could add to serving those needs. The fact is, we know what works and what doesn’t and we know the children likely and via first round of “local” ¬†assessments that will most¬†likely¬†track towards high-risk. So test scores are meaningless if we don’t inject intervention with added teachers / paraprofessionals on the front end!

Many of these teachers will tell you that the path we are on is wrong for kids. We want our teachers to teach and our students to learn, free from the threat of being branded as failures, losing their jobs or losing their schools.    

And yet Markell and the Rodels of the world feel teacher observations don’t merit real value. Yet, they are in the battle field calling for medics (more teachers and paraprofessionals) and the generals like Markell say hold on we’re working on a new battle plan! The time for planning is long over and the time for action in the trenches (classrooms) is now.

Rep Matthews, you and other newbies represent tomorrow and will be stuck with the fallout of yet another save all education agenda! The house of cards (Markell’s) is shaking and are about to fall and Markell is running around sell telling lies so that the cards won’t fall while he is in office.¬†

Will AG Denn charge those voting twice in Red Clay’s referendum and what about illegal electioneering in the Red Clay District ?

Attorney General probe requested

The recent article about duplicate voting in the Red Clay School District referendum neglected to mention that in addition to the duplicate votes cast, 32 ineligible voters actually cast votes in the election and an additional 97 ineligible voters attempted to vote but were turned away at the polls. There was also a ten-vote discrepancy between votes cast and affidavits filed. The article also neglected to mention that the Department of Elections has asked the Attorney General’s Office to investigate the numerous complaints it received about possible illegal electioneering in the Red Clay District.

Sen. Karen Peterson


Is Rep Earl Jacques becoming the patsy and fall for Governor Markell re: Markell’s wrongheaded education agenda

Kevin Ohlandt, on March 14, 2015 at 8:18 pm said: Edit Comment

Kilroy, I don’t think there is any secret agenda to the opt out movement. Of course DSEA and local member organizations will want it. Their jobs will depend on it (unless the insanity ends). I don’t think this is for their own purposes. I have talked to several teachers in the past year, and the vast majority (over 99%) do not want it, not only for their own rating, but also what it does to children. With that being said though, I do think it is unwise for teachers to be SO vocal about it. Not because it’s wrong, but because I’m pretty sure they are being watched.

My reasons for opt out are deeply personal, and they just happen to coincide with the many hundreds of parents currently doing the same. As anyone knows who is a regular reader of this blog, I have a special needs child, and he has had a difficult time as it is. I won’t have him taking this test, period. I’ve seen him struggle with the Common Core homework and curriculum, and it doesn’t make sense for him to spend an easy 12-15 hours (during multiple school weeks and with accommodations) and know that he will be very frustrated. People forget, teachers are prepping students for this test and schools are talking about it from the first day of the year. Everything rests on this one test. And it is projected, by the almighty Mark Murphy himself, 70% of kids won’t make proficiency in the first year. So what happens then? This test kids have been studying for ALL year, and close to 3/4 of the school won’t meet the standard. And as per DOE Director of Assessment, Brian Touchette, this will go on for a few years. I know, people will say, yeah, we went through this with DSTP and DCAS. It’s just a phase. Well, it’s time for the phase to stop. I firmly believe teachers are so busy following the curriculum (which they have to adhere to certain lesson plans pretty much every day), they are missing out on things. Like bullying, taunting, hitting, teasing, and so forth. The result is many kids (not just special needs) come home feeling like they went through hell. It’s not like it was even a couple years ago. I think with the full implementation of Common Core last year and this year, special education has become an unmitigated disaster, but we won’t see hard data on that for another two years because of the audit schedule with the feds.

To say the whole opt out movement is a union seed may have some merit, but it is PARENTS who are making that seed bloom. I haven‚Äôt received the well over 500 hundred combined emails, facebook messages and phone calls from teachers. They are regular parents, just like you and I. Most want to know how to do it. They have already made up their own minds, and just need the method. Have I publicized the hell out of it? Definitely. I think all parents should know it is out there. This is from the top of the state, all the way to the bottom, public, vocational and charter. Even some of the ‚Äútop‚ÄĚ schools. I have called out superintendents publicly with some of their shameful methods of trying to convince parents to opt out. I have emailed some privately, and even talked to a few. One thing I will not abide by is parents being abused by school superiors because they are doing what they feel is right for their child.

I‚Äôve been vocal about this for almost a year now, and I‚Äôm glad others have jumped on. At the end of the day, opt out is not an attack on the DOE, protest, or someone just plain saying ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt feel like having my kid take a test‚ÄĚ. These are intelligent, taxpaying citizens who have had enough of the test and drill going on in our schools and do not like the impact it is having on our children. And many of these parents have stated their child is very intelligent, but this test won‚Äôt measure that.

Where I take extreme offense is the utilization of standardized test scores by the DOE and certain schools. When you do a ‚Äúdata dive‚ÄĚ as the DOE love to say, there are usually certain factors that contribute to these praised schools, such as a high attrition rate between the cited years, or adding a talented and gifted program at that particular school in a district, or changing the zoning in a district so by osmosis scores will naturally rise. And with certain charters, boasting that you always have high scores when everyone in the state knows you have enrollment preferences that make that happen. When the National Association of Charter School Authorizers has to tell charters at an enrollment preference task force that they have it backwards: that specific interest should only be used to benefit students who need it the most, than you know there is some work to be done. The schools that are making the most noise about this are ones that have some mitigating factors going on that I won‚Äôt get into here, but let‚Äôs just say there are those who reside in the district and leave it at that. :)

As for Earl Jaques‚Ķ I understand your sidebars, cause you and I have had many. While we may not always agree, you have a demeanor about you that makes folks feel like they can come to you. But I would not mistake Jaques impression he left with you as he ‚Äúmeans well‚ÄĚ. His words about opting out have caused many parents to take this at a personal level. He is also the head of the education committee in the House, and he should try to be more objective before a bill on the whole matter is addressed during session. It has become painfully obvious during his press junkets with Markell on education that he is only interested in serving Markell and not the people of the state. I think it‚Äôs great he can have a sidebar conversation with you, but why isn‚Äôt he talking to the citizens of the state to actually get a good barometer on this. Isn‚Äôt that his job as a State Representative, to represent the people? Jaques does not get a pass from me, and I will continue the petition to have him removed from the House Education Committee. His loyalties are clear, and unless he does a complete 180 degree turn and apologizes to the parents and students of the state who have done what is best for their child and agrees to actually look into why parents are doing this, my obligations are clear.

Sorry for the long post, but¬†isn’t¬†that how I started on all this blog craziness? Maybe for¬†the anniversary I can write another 14 part series to drive Publius crazy again!

Kevin your comments are too amazing to be buried in blog comments! You are no doubt becoming a voice for parents of¬†special¬†needs children and our state legislators better taken notice.¬†¬†Rep Jaques needs to expand on¬†‚ÄúTo me, opt out is admitting failure.‚ÄĚ as I agree 100% his comments is an attack on parents and children because if it’s only parents who can opt-out of testing not teachers. His comment does reveal¬†ignorance and his recent engagement seems to be all about saving Governor Markell’s ass.

Rep Jaques and other legislators¬†shielding¬†Governor¬†Markell from his failures whereas Markell’s education agenda is¬†self-serving¬†to advance himself politically and financially than it is about the most neediest students. Rep Jaques is nothing more than a patsy Markell / Rodel¬†messenger.¬†

Kevin, your comments about the Common Core in relationship to the test reinforces the opt out movement does relate to the wrongheaded education agenda going all the way back to the fed. Markell fears if enough parents opt-out the house of cards will fall while he is still in office. We all know the cards will fall and the next president and governor will hatch a new save all education agenda. Markell is all about his image!

As for my sidebar conversation with Rep. Jaques, I didn’t¬†approach¬†him, he¬†approached me and I wish I had more time to engage him.¬†¬†I did express myself at the¬†combined¬†board meeting and Rep. Jaques thank me for pointing out the opt-out goes far beyond just the test and deep into the wrongheaded federal and state intrusive agenda that does impact teachers,¬†labor¬†and most importantly children! I can only “hope” Rep. Jaques will come out and¬†apologize¬†or at least clarify his statement which is in deed offensive to parts and children.

As far as parents opting-out of the state test there is no law federally or state that¬†specifically prohibits it and I do¬†believe there is no district or charter school that specifically prohibits it. The states must test students as per federal law associated with “federal funding”. As far as teachers on the opt-out bandwagon supporting parents and children, the supported Race to The Top knowing Common Core Standards and The Smarter Balanced¬†Assessment¬†was embedded within. When will they apologize?

The recent Markell willingness to eliminate some test at the school and district level whereas The Smarter Balanced Assessment is off limits is nothing more than¬†playing¬†up to labor¬†who isn’t that dumb and creating an illusion to parents we’re going to reduce testing. However, in this Markell lead objective it¬†demonstrates once again government is overreaching into local control as local district and school test are just that, local. With ¬†The Smarter¬†Balanced¬†Assessment being once a year and at the end of the year instead of DCAS three times a year, the testing won’t be as in tense. However, there will always be benchmark test to see how students are tracking towards The Smarter¬†Balanced Assessment. So either way it goes, opt-out of The Smarter Balanced Assessment still leaves the student preparation during the school year to take the test. The opt-out only will apply to taking the test that has no impact on student grades, grade retention or¬†promotion that are¬†measured classroom grades in¬†conjunction¬†with test relevant to the given¬†curriculum aka Common Core. However, at the end of the day if the opt-out¬†produces¬†enough parents opting-out the test results will be skewed and cannot be used to hold teachers and school¬†accountable. Perhaps it would be a win for the kids because all the fuss and¬†energy¬†wasted on fending off the overreaching hands of the state and feds will allow for more focused teachers and¬†administrators. Sometimes preparing for war is a war within itself. Therefore, we need stronger local control where parents and the community have greater say. We’ve seen the parent / community push back on Red Clay’s¬†inclusion¬†plan and a¬†cookie¬†here for Publius, it was parent¬†mostly¬†affluent who demanded¬†charter schools which was seeded in Red Clay. Like it or not, it was parents taken control of what they saw was a failing Red Clay. But¬†flip-side,¬†that charter movement caused damage to Dickinson and Mckean as all the energy of the Red Clay school board at the time was focused on building a charter school system within with no concern to the impact on Dickinson and McKean. ¬†

Rep Jaques needs to embrace all sides and weigh the issues himself and throw away the Markell / Rodel education script! Leaders lead and followers follow! So which is Rep Jacques? If he can lead as chairperson of the House¬†Education¬†Committee¬†with an independent mind rather than being handed a note by Markell or the Speaker of The House, “this is want we want” then he is not a leader.¬†¬†The Markell house of cards will fall and many state¬†legislators¬†better get out of the way.

Thank you Kevin for all you do for the community and being a strong voice for our special needs children. 

Delaware testing opt-out; the lies and hidden agenda

Delaware may eliminate some school testing Matthew Albright, The News Journal11:50 p.m. EDT March 12, 2015

Citing the stress that Smarter Balanced will put on their kids and schools, a small but vocal group of parents ‚ÄĒ some of them teachers ‚ÄĒ have chosen to “opt their students out” of the new exam.

Rep. Earl Jaques, who chairs the House Education Committee, said the state’s effort to eliminate tests should hopefully ease parents’ and teachers’ concerns. But he joined Markell in saying opting out isn’t the answer for students.

“Is there too much testing? Absolutely,” Jaques said. “And this shows we’re trying to do something about that. But to me, opt-out is admitting failure, and that’s not the American way.”

Many teachers have also expressed concerns about how the new test will be used in their personnel evaluations. This year’s scores on Smarter Balanced will not factor into those evaluations, but many educators have called for an extra year on top of that to transition to a regime for students.

Both Markell and Murphy both said they were “having positive conversations” with federal officials about that possibility.

Read between the lines! It it the Smarter¬†Balanced¬†Assessment¬†causing all the stress on parent and students? Why would this test cause stress? It’s not used for student grading¬†purposes, promotion or retention! The opt-out movement is seeded with educators and unions. But fair enough because the Smarter Balanced shouldn’t be used as a means to label school or teachers! Why isn’t the bench mark of holding high schools accountable based on the dropout rate, graduation rate, SAT scores , AP scores and college acceptance rates? As for middle schools, the 9th grade high school dropout rate could be used rating the middle schools where student¬†previously¬†attended. The there is¬†elementary¬†schools! He is where standardized testing can come into play and I am talking state / local test not tied to the feds testing mandate. Yes exit like testing for each grade level where parents must sign off if they want their child to advance to the next grade is results are borderline. The time to stop the “system” from pushing students through the the next grade needs to be now! Without addressing¬†social¬†promotion¬†no test local, state or federal has any real¬†relevancy. Pushing student through to the next grade is lying to parents and cheating children.

I am very proud of the recent events re: teachers calling out the system re: no confidence letter. However, look at the¬†gloating going on and the pat on the back from DSEA for those teachers charging up the hill! Did PTA issue a president¬†citation?¬†¬†Yes we should be proud but a celebration of unions for just showing some balls long overdue is¬†pathetic. It was DSEA and the local unions running to the corner like scared mice re: Race to The Top that set the stage for Common Core Standards and the Smarter¬†Balanced¬†Assessment. Judas sells-out ¬†her peers but yet all cheers when she retired. And then there is Governor Markell the state ringleader in creating the mess! How does labor find a way to meet the objective of not being held¬†accountable¬†based on the Smarter Balanced¬†Assessment with out kicking “Markell” in the balls or given him a¬†black-eye¬†(politically speaking)? They join together to agree to¬†eliminated district level testing while keeping the Smarter¬†Balanced¬†Assessment¬†intact or that’s what Markell thinks! The¬†alignment¬†of educators and¬†parents¬†in the push for testing opt-out is a bigger win for labor if¬†successful. If enough parents opt-out their children the validity of the test results will be skewed and could be used in teacher¬†evaluations. What do parents and students get out of the opt-out? Nothing¬†tangible because testing¬†anxiety¬†will remain¬†re: the¬†school¬†level test and¬†assignments¬†that count. But there is the big prize that is not getting attention.

At the heart of the opt-out momentum is; parents, educators and some¬†legislators who are¬†fed-up¬†with federal¬†intrusion in local school control. The opt-out¬†movement is the banner for the call for the feds to end the intrusion on local control via¬†manipulation¬†of federal grants with¬†accountability¬†stipulation requested as part of the grant but decided at the state level. ¬†It’s like the feds saying, here is the money but tell how you are going to hold your self¬†accountable! As for Delaware, Governor Markell is an agent for federal intervention and he has sucker many Delaware¬†legislators¬†into his agenda. Markell is pushes reducing the number of “district” level test to create a smoke screen whereas to protect The Smarter¬†Balanced¬†Assessment. If parents and education were to push back the Smarter Balanced the federal intervention agenda would come¬†unraveled. Markell is doing all he can to buy time for this¬†unraveling¬†not to happen on his shift. But it “will” happen after Markell leaves office! And guess what! Those legislator that supporting Markells agenda like Rep Hudson will have some explaining to do when the house of cards fall and all is¬†revealed! In comes a new president and governor with yet a new education agenda and the people are going to go WTF not again!

I urge state¬†legislators to support the op-out but pull their horn is on playing a part in reducing testing on the local level. At be encourage school districts and charter to¬†streamline¬†their¬†testing in the best way as not to¬†jeopardize student¬†achievement but in a way to help increase¬†instructional¬†time. In other words, stay out of local control and be supported to the point your hands don’t get dirty!¬†

Rep Jaques, I enjoyed our sidebar chat after the¬†combined¬†board meeting. I know you mean well but now it the time to be a leader not a follower. Markell is playing¬†legislators to save his own¬†political¬†ass. Work with the parents, teachers, schools and other legislators to plan for a future that will seen an¬†implosion of the current wrongheaded Washington / Markell agenda. You represent the people not the governor ! Help¬†delivery real transparency that includes record of board meetings of all¬†traditional¬†public schools, votech schools and charter school boards! Give parents and the local school communities the tools to be better watchdogs! H.B.#23 passed the house education committee and the House¬†Appropriation¬†Committee¬†and¬†was killed by it’s¬†sponsor¬†Rep¬†Hudson¬†who¬†encouraged¬†the Speaker of The House to not put it on the House Agenda for a full vote. ¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†


Delaware Secretary of Education Murphy caught on video confronted about his failures

Delaware Governor Markell caught on video saying civil rights calls for standardize test

Here is why Delaware Governor Markell is backpedaling and wants to reduce student testing; all but the Smarter Balanced Assessment

148th General Assembly
House Bill # 50

Primary Sponsor:


Additional Sponsor(s):    Sen. Lawson


Reps. Baumbach, Keeley, Matthews, Spiegelman, K. Williams, Yearick; Sen. Henry

Introduced on :


Long Title:


Synopsis of Orginal Bill:

(without Amendments)

This bill creates the right for the parent or guardian of a child to opt out of the annual assessment, currently the Smarter Balanced Assessment System.

Current Status:

House Education Committee   On   03/12/2015

Governor Markell is starting to fear his own party and know his Rodel education agenda is coming unraveled!


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