Category Archives: common core

Making room for both the forgotten man and the rugged invidvidual

The last 90 years of American politics and economic philosophy has been a conflict between two philosophies. The philosophy that made America, that of rugged individualism, equality of opportunity and free markets. The other is the philosophy of Franklin Roosevelt, that policy needs to focus first on the forgotten man. An interesting question is there room for both at the policy table? The left would tell us that income inequality is the issue of our time. Income inequality is a not a problem, any more than inequality of talents, ambition, goals, or activities is a problem. Not everyone should earn the same because not everyone wants to earn the same, not everyone does the same thing, not everyone wants to live in the same type house or drive the same car. If we do different things, want different things, and contribute different things then why would we want to earn the same thing? America Read more

Smarter Balanced is a Useless Test

Smarter is dumber, but it is sold as better, smarter and a balanced approach to learning. We are supposed to be panicked that half of our students are not proficient to the new standard. Do a bunch of new things and make changes. I think that they are disappointed that more students did not fail. The problem is that the test does not allow changes in real time. If we take the test in March and don't get the results until the new school year has started, it is useless. That means two school years before you can adjust. DCAST at least let you adjust in real time. The results also show us that DCAST could have been tweaked to the new standards. We have a useless test that enriches some corporation but impoverishes our ability to improve education. Why? Read more

Controversial Education Secretary Mark Murphy Resigns

Many legislators, the teachers, administrators, and parents had lost confidence in Secretary Murphy, but he had the confidence of the man who mattered, Jack Markell. The DSEA voted no confidence in his leadership. Legislators complained about the strong arm tactics to force through Common Core. Parents rallied and protested the Smarter Balanced Assessment. He had been called out of touch, but he claimed his efforts led to significant achievements. Some of those achievements like halving the dropout rate seem to be an achievement of better accounting (nothing to dismiss but not an educational miracle). When the new method is applied to old numbers, there is at best no change and some contend a small increase in drop outs. He did encourage college ready students to apply to college. Despite criticism, the administration sings his praises to the end. The release is printed unedited Read more

Markell Issues Tone Deaf Veto of Parental Opt Out Bill

Governor Markell issued a veto message with his veto of HB 50 in spite of the fact it passed with veto proof majorities. Part of which is below. “HB 50 would undermine the only objective tool we have to understand whether our children are learning and our schools are improving. It has the potential to marginalize our highest need students, threaten tens of millions of dollars of federal funding, and undermine our state’s economic competitiveness – all without adequately addressing the issues that motivated many to support the legislation. That is why educators and school leaders have joined the civil rights community and business leaders in opposing the legislation, and why I am returning the bill unsigned,” wrote the Governor in a statement delivered to the House of Representatives. “I have heard the concerns of some parents and teachers that our students are experiencing Read more

Delaware PTA Disheartened by Smarter Balanced Assessment Announcement by 4 Colleges and Markell Administration

In a statement made today by Governor Markell, Delaware PTA learned that the four colleges; Wilmington University, University of Delaware, Delaware Technical and Community College and Delaware State University have all agreed that the outcomes of the 11th grade Smarter Balanced Assessments is a good indicator of college readiness. In addition, these institutions have all agreed to accept the assessment in lieu of other placement exams. At a time when there is so much turbulence in our public education system, we are disheartened to learn that the conversations that proceeded this major conclusion did not include input from any of our major stakeholders. The Delaware Department of Education and the Governor's office have publicly committed to greater transparency and collaboration with the broader community, yet Delaware PTA, the Delaware State Education Association, state legislators Read more

Citizens Rally At Leg Hall In Support Of HB 50

HB50, It's All About The Right To Choose To Opt Out Of Testing Co-written By Don Ayotte and Wolf von Baumgart An Education Rally at Delaware’s Legislation Hall, drew an eager crowd of parents and children, wanting their voices heard in support of HB50. The short version of HB 50 states in the synopsis, “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.” This is a requirement of the new Common Core education system being implemented in Delaware Schools. The primary sponsor of the bill, Rep. John Kowalko (D-25) and Senate sponsor, Sen. David Lawson (R-15), along with House co-Sponsors, Reps. Baumbach (D-23), Keely (D-3),Matthews (D-10), Spiegelman,(R-11), K. Williams (D-19), Yearick (R-34) and Sen. Henry (D-2). Kowalko stated to the crowd outside of Legislative Hall Read more

News Release About Education Rally on April 1

Media Release PARENTS EXPRESS CONCERNS WITH DELAWARE EDUCATION INITIATIVES AND LEADERSHIP Delaware parents call for representation and transparency regarding educational changes impacting their children – Press conference scheduled for April 1 at 5:00pm, outside Legislative Hall in Dover, DE Dover, DE, March 25, 2015 – Delaware parents are increasingly frustrated with the management of the educational system in the state, especially given the conflicting messages being issued by legislators and education officials. There is an apparent disconnect between what parents want and what those making decisions are offering, and the children are caught in the crosshairs. Most parents are not interested in having their children used as guinea pigs, political pawns, or leverage in the fight over accountability. “Our children are more than test scores. I got involved because of the Read more

Delaware PTA Endorse Parental Opt Out of Smarter Balanced

Updated to include official statement State PTA Board of Managers 26 to 1 Vote in favor of Opt Out and Support House Bill 50. On March 24th the Delaware Parent Teacher Association voted to support parental rights to opt out of Smarter Balanced Assessment amid criticism of the Smarter Balanced Assessment for the fact that it punishes right answers not arrived the preferred method with no credit but gives credit for wrong answers with the work shown, is not statistically valid, has no growth model, is not designed with appropriate accommodations for handicapped or special needs students and is not timely in producing results. The DE PTA did not recommend which choice a parent took, but strongly backed the right to choose. Many members plan to support the rally for HB 50 on April 1 around 5:00 pm at Legislative Hall. Note the author is a regional VP for the Delaware PTA. update--official Read more

Delaware Republicans Go On Record Calling for the Repeal of Common Core

The following Resolution passed overwhelmingly at the 2014 state GOP Convention. WHEREAS...America is a society which values rugged individualism, family, excellence, and diversity; WHEREAS...The Common Core Approach to education is a one-size-fits-all standard, regardless of personal and professional goals or individual talents, thereby conflicting with the aforementioned American values; WHEREAS...Common Core is based upon a high stakes test which is contrary to the best research which supports local regular quizzing and classroom testing; WHEREAS...America has long valued local control, and the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution leaves Education in the hands of the States and the People; WHEREAS...Common Core is a national standard masquerading as local standards and has bypassed the process of legislative approval, public development, and has had limited local control; WHEREAS...Common Read more

The Loyal Opposition says stop HB 334–The Heart of Common Core

We finally took a sensible approach to testing. Test at the beginning of the year, middle of the year, and end of the year. Delaware's HB 334 eliminates that and makes your entire "matriculation and academic promotion requirements imposed by § 153 of this title shall be based upon the student's assessment results received on 1 assessment". No true assessment can take place without at least two tests. One gives a benchmark and the other shows the progress. I have seen where a student actually loses ground. If a student could make the grade before the school year starts, why should he or she be penalized for not being able to connect with the teacher or being sick or stressed by some outside event on test day. If the student can have the best test, you have a truer read on the student. Everyone has an off day. You just hope it is not during a high stakes test. I took a test once not long Read more