Success in DE

There are a few doozies in here. Many just spitting out drone like responses cooked up by the reformers: Achievement Gap, growth, zip code, compete (which ensures winners and losers) etc etc
Best two answers are from Principal El of Thomas Edison Charter!
Jack’s answer good too.

Leading Delaware Banker and Education “philathropist” apparently still has unrepaid troubled assets (TARP) issues…. #WSFS

 Treasury Department Announces Intent to Sell Preferred Positions in Public Dutch Auctions

3/14/2012

 
WASHINGTON – As part of its ongoing efforts to explore options for the management and ultimate recovery of its remaining Capital Purchase Program (CPP) investments under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced its intention to sell several preferred stock CPP investments.  Treasury intends to conduct public auctions to sell its preferred stock positions in the following six banks:
 
  • Banner Corporation, Walla Walla, WA (“Banner”)
  • First Financial Holdings Inc., Charleston, SC (“First Financial”)
  • MainSource Financial Group, Inc., Greensburg, IN (“MainSource”)
  • Seacoast Banking Corporation of Florida, Stuart, FL (“Seacoast”)
  • Wilshire Bancorp, Inc., Los Angeles, CA (“Wilshire”)
  • WSFS Financial Corporation, Wilmington, DE (“WSFS”)
 
TARP’s bank programs have already earned a significant profit for taxpayers. To date, Treasury has recovered $259 billion from TARP’s bank programs through repayments, dividends, interest, and other income – compared to the $245 billion initially invested.  Treasury has remaining outstanding CPP investments in 361 banks.

Treasury expects to conduct the auctions, which will be registered public offerings, on or about March 26, 2012.  These offerings will be executed using a modified Dutch auction methodology that establishes a market price by allowing investors to submit bids at specified increments similar to the process Treasury has used to auction warrants. More detailed guidance for the auctions will be available in prospectuses that will be filed by the issuers of the preferred stock prior to the opening of each auction. 

 
Houlihan Lokey Capital, Inc. is serving as financial advisor to Treasury with respect to the management and disposition of its CPP investments.  Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (“Merrill Lynch”) and Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P. (“Sandler O’Neill”) have been retained as the auction agents and joint bookrunning managers for the offering of the preferred stock of Banner, MainSource, Seacoast, Wilshire and WSFS.  Merrill Lynch has been retained as the auction agent and sole bookrunning manager for the offering of the preferred stock of First Financial. 
 
If investors do not have an account with Merrill Lynch and/or Sandler O’Neill, as applicable, they may be able to participate in the auction through their own brokers, as a network of several dozen brokerage firms will be invited to aggregate suitable client orders and submit them to the applicable auction agent(s) and bookrunner(s).  
 
Prospective investors will be able to obtain copies of the prospectuses relating to these securities, when available, from Merrill Lynch via email at dg.prospectus_requests@baml.com or (800) 294-1322 or from Sandler O’Neill via email at syndicate@sandleroneill.com or (866) 805-4128.

Dr. Lowery revises history regarding Glasgow High School teacher controversy. #netDE

conveniently ignoring the internal pressure to remove school leadership and directly claiming that DOE WORKED with teachers to create process that they then objected to……not how it went down.

This is commonly referred to as lying.

at 25:48

In case you missed it: DE Sec. Ed. in Wash. DC at panel discussion today. #CFAP #PLCsAREgreat

“One of the things that we did, that really fostered collaboration in a most POSITIVE way …and we’re getting ENORMOUSLY positive feedback about…. is to put in data coaches and development coaches……”- Dr. Lillian Lowery at 21:48 of this video…..

PLCs are A-OK…….LOL! Now that’s a good one…..

Sunshine and Rainbows….. a lesson in ignoring what’s right in your face and under your nose….if you’d bother to look.

From the inbox…..

From: <Secretary.Lowery@doe.k12.de.us<mailto:Secretary.Lowery@doe.k12.de.us>>

Date: March 26, 2012 2:11:34 PM EDT

Subject: Message from Secretary Lowery

 

This is an exciting time in Delaware. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined Governor Markell and me Friday in Wilmington to meet with educators (how many active classroom teachers were there?) and partners (WSFS, Rodel and Innovative schools?) to discuss our efforts to improve education across the state.

 

March marks the two-year anniversary of when Delaware ranked first in the federal grant competition, winning $119 million over four years to implement aggressive reforms to raise student achievement. Like bullying local administrators? or deploying Data Coaches to be ignored and ridiculed by teachers across the state?  The Secretary came to have open and candid conversations in a roundtable setting. Open? Why wait invite only? Come on, this is the least genuine statement in this missive. He wanted to hear about our progress from those leading the work on the ground. He also wanted to hear about the challenges we foresee ahead. Really? His sound bites were platitude ridden afterwards…. In addition to state leadership and key private sector partners, he met with superintendents, school board presidents and local union presidents representing districts throughout the state as well as representatives from the Delaware Charter School Network. How’d that go? Crickets or gut wrenching truth?

 

Let me share with you some of what the Secretary said to state and local leaders.

 

Duncan praised Delaware’s education reform movement as one of the most ambitious, coherent and durable in the country and credited the state for building its reform on a platform of broad support. Keep beating that drum, keep ignoring the honest dissent.

 

But the Secretary also was clear he knows this work has not and will not be easy, noting challenges we have faced as we have worked to implement reforms and acknowledging that more challenges likely are ahead for us – especially as we implement student growth data into our evaluation system.

 

But through it all, he emphasized that we must not let challenges throw us off course.

 

He reinforced what we have heard before but must keep reminding ourselves: The nation is watching. Not really, but if it makes you feel better keep saying it because if you say it over and over then it must be true! What we learn here will teach much about what can be done across the nation.  Secretary Duncan thanked those in attendance, and I promised him I would pass on his message to every teacher in every classroom for leading the way. We’ll let him know you got his job done!


 

So on his behalf and on my own, thank you. Thank you for not just standing by us but for often charging forward ahead of us as we implement what can be difficult and unnerving reforms. Code for teacher evaluation? or PZ? or Data Coaches? or no extra teachers in classrooms? Change isn’t easy. We know we won’t always get everything right the first time. Or at this rate seemingly just won’t get it right at all. But we will learn from our mistakes, this I will pay extra to see! and we won’t let them dead-end us. We will work through our challenges the way we do it in Delaware, together. Together, now there’s a word Governor Markell and the DOE definitely need help with…….

 

In gratitude,

 

Lillian M. Lowery

Secretary of Education

DE exposed in Blockbuster Atlanta cheating scandal followup report?! #netDE

UPDATE (h/t Greg Mazzotta on Kilroy’s Delaware) from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution 3/26/12:

“The indications of the report are troubling, to the point where these systems must follow up and see whether there is in fact impropriety,” said U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

If these districts fail to do so, Isakson said the governors of the states should intervene. And should they drop the ball, “there may be a federal interest … I don’t think Congress could look the other way.”

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the two major teachers’ unions, told the AJC that the findings suggest the need for more investigation in many school districts across the country.

“It should go to another level,” she said, such as systematic analysis of erasures on test papers and, if necessary, investigations by law enforcement officers — both of which helped prove widespread cheating in the Atlanta Public Schools.

Here’s the Headline:

Special Report: Cheating our Children

Here’s the sub-headline:

School districts nationwide appear to have similar test-score shifts that signaled cheating in Atlanta.

Uh, oh…..other Transparent Christina posts on this threat

http://transparentchristina.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/garbage-in-garbage-out-governormarkell-rttt-datadriven/

http://transparentchristina.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/cheating-in-de-read-on/

A searchable database showing most of the country’s school systems

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution examined test results for 69,000 schools in 49 states and found high concentrations of suspect scores in about 200 schools. The findings represent an unprecedented look at the integrity of school testing, which has seized center stage in national education policy.

While the analysis doesn’t prove cheating, it found troubling patterns in hundreds of cities. Those patterns resemble early indicators in Atlanta that ultimately led to the biggest cheating scandal in American history.

To search this database, first select a state before selecting a city. You may also see all the included districts in a state.

State District NameDescending City % flagged 2008
% flagged 2009 % flagged 2010 % flagged 2011  
DE Seaford School District SEAFORD 0 0 0 0 Details   
DE Red Clay Consolidated School District WILMINGTON 4.88 5.95 4.35 4.26 Details   
DE Indian River School District SELBYVILLE 4.35 0 2 2 Details   
DE Colonial School District NEW CASTLE 5.88 7.89 2.27 22.73 Details   
DE Christina School District WILMINGTON 9.52 14 8.11 7.78 Details   
DE Cape Henlopen School District LEWES 4.17 0 4.17 8.33 Details   
DE Caesar Rodney School District WYOMING 0 0 8.33 13.89 Details   
DE Brandywine School District \N 14.29 0 0 0 Details   
DE Appoquinimink School District ODESSA 8.33 9.09 3.33 0 Details   
Records 1-9 of 9

Or search for a school system by its name. (Tip: If the full name doesn’t work, try just using a piece of the name.)

HOW TO INTERPRET:

A class is a group of students in the same school from one year to the next. For example, fourth grade students in 2009 and fifth grade students in 2010. A “flag” only indicates a test-score shift outside the norm. Please refer to the article on our methodology to see how a class was flagged. For each year, 2008 to 2011, we show the percentage of classes that were flagged in each district.

After The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s analysis of test scores led to the state investigation and 2011 findings of widespread cheating in Atlanta schools, a national testing expert suggested we could do the same thing on a nationwide scale. We were intrigued.

The federal No Child Left Behind act requires each state to give a statewide standardized test to all students in grades 3 through 8 to measure performance in reading and math. In Georgia, that is the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.

A team of three reporters and two database specialists spent five months collecting databases of standardized test scores in those grades for 69,000 schools, in 14,743 districts in 49 states. (Nebraska didn’t have usable data because it didn’t give a statewide standardized test until last year.)

The law requires school districts to give parents an annual “report card” on school performance, and all states have laws requiring disclosure of public information. We thought that would expedite data collection.

Some states, including Texas and California, post online the data we needed. Most states sent data within days or even hours. A few were more challenging. We called state education departments and made formal open records requests. Some states demanded months of negotiating and multiple requests before they sent data.

New Mexico said the request was “burdensome” and took two months to send data.

Nevada called it an “annoyance” and took almost three months. When a reporter told an assistant attorney general that Nevada was the only state that hadn’t provided data, the attorney quoted TV’s “Seinfeld”: “Yada yada yada.”

Alabama education officials insisted they had posted the scores online. When they realized that was untrue, they offered to provide the data for $3,200, but finally sent it without charge two months after the original request. In the end, no state charged for the data.

District of Columbia education officials didn’t answer many of our weeks of daily phone calls; emails describing the data requested were repeatedly shuffled to other employees. After three months, officials sent incomplete data. The district is not in our analysis because of methodology issues.

With the data in hand, we used a method similar to the analysis used to find suspicious test scores in Atlanta. It compares test scores achieved by a “cohort” of students: That is, when a third-grade class in a school moves on to fourth grade, the group is likely to remain similar and so test scores won’t vary a lot.

By plotting large changes in scores for a cohort, for better or worse, an analyst can identify test results that are highly unlikely to happen by chance. When scores go up that much, it suggests some intervention, such as cheating, to change the expected results.

Scores that drop are meaningful, too. Test scores can rise or fall dramatically because one teacher cheats and the next one does not, or vice versa.

In addition, patterns in test scores may show dramatic declines, as they did in Atlanta, after cheating is exposed or investigated. In both cases, scores can drop because cheating stops.

Then, we did another level of analysis, gauging the likelihood that abnormal score changes would occur in “clusters” of grades in one district. We calculated the probability of districts achieving huge changes in test scores in a lot of classes, compared to the probability statewide. In some cases, the probability was less than one in 1 trillion.

We showed our methodology and results to independent experts on testing and data analysis to confirm our findings.

Our analysis identified districts nationwide with clusters of suspicious score changes. So our team visited schools and parents in a half-dozen urban districts on that list, while we presented our findings by phone and email to officials in problematic districts for response.

We talked to executives and testing specialists in those districts and states. When district officials raised concerns we couldn’t immediately answer, we went back to our data to check our results. In the meantime, we talked to national experts and decision makers on testing and education policy.

We requested average reading and math test results and the count of students tested for each school, grade and test subject from 50 states and the District of Columbia for all years in which grades 3 through 8 were tested.

Because many states suppressed data for groups of fewer than 10 students, we excluded these groups in all states.

We requested the results as scaled scores. States convert raw test scores into scaled scores so results can be compared over years.

We created approximate cohorts by matching results for each school, grade and subject with test results from the previous grade in the previous year. We refer to this grouping of students at a specific school in a single grade and taking a specific test — either reading or math — as a “class.”

For each state, grade, cohort and year, we created a linear regression model, weighted by the number of students in a class, and compared the average score for a class with the score predicted by the model based on the previous year’s average score. We then calculated a p-value — an estimated probability that such a difference would occur by chance — using standardized residuals and the “T” probability distribution, which adjusts the probability upward for classes with fewer students.

Classes with scores rising or dropping with a probability of less than 0.05 were flagged as unusual.

Finally, we looked for improbable clusters of unusual score changes within districts by calculating the probability that a district would, by random chance, have a number of flagged classes in a year, given the district’s total number of classes and the percentage of classes flagged statewide.

The district calculations excluded schools identified as charter schools.

Analysis Limitations

A statistical analysis cannot prove cheating. It can only identify improbable events that can be caused by cheating and should be investigated.

● Ideally we would look at how individual student test scores change from year to year, but federal privacy regulations precluded access to that data. The approximate cohorts we used are an imperfect substitute. It is unlikely that two groups of students in a cohort are perfectly identical. Urban districts in particular have high student mobility.

But we found that large demographic changes at a school — large increases or decreases in poverty levels, for example — are rare. Approximate cohorts mostly compare similar students.

Because of this, large jumps or dives in test scores should be rare, experts told us.

Research notes

50: States provided us with standardized testing data.

14,743: Districts from across the country 
we examined.

69,000: Schools administered the tests.

13 million: Students took these exams in 2010.

1.6 million: Records we analyzed.

2,400: Statistical models we used 
to identify unusual scores.

Despite all the assurances that cheating is not a threat, we know somewhat firmly that behavioral incentives and policies that create perverse behavioral/performance incentives often drive behavior in unexpected (should be expected) and unintended ways…..rarely for the better…I again ask the question, could this be happening in Delaware? The policies of our state’s Governor clearly place us at risk.

Originally posted on Kilroy's delaware:

( This post is by Steve Newton (Kilroy not responsible for contents or any piss poor grammar :) )

“You can’t take poverty out of the equation in comparing school district performance: the example of Christina School District”

A guest post dedicated in part to John Young.

The most unfortunate aspect of the current NCS expansion debate, from the infamous “bucket of crabs” to the squabbling over what the honor student’s pink hair means, is that the Christina School District has literally been trashed up one side and down the other.

What could I possibly find positive to say about Christina, which ranks pretty much last in most statistics put out by DOE, and has been a political football for reformers, who pretty much enjoy kicking that football directly into the faces of board members and teachers?

How about this? Nobody else in the State is trying to do what…

View original 906 more words

Unsung Civil Rights hero story. #netDE

My undergraduate senior thesis at South Carolina was on the U.S. Civil Rights Movement so I have always had a keen interest. This is a great story told in a very captivating way as TED talks tend to do……

“Don’t let perfect get in the way of good”- Arne Duncan 3.23.12

FROM DFM: http://www.delawarefirst.org/24404-education-secretary-delaware-race-to-the-top

“Don’t let perfect get in the way of good,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan reiterated that mantra more than once during a roundtable discussion on Delaware education reform with about 40 stakeholders from across the state Friday.

Now halfway through the current school year, Delaware is examining its progress with Race to the Top initiatives put into practice this year and Duncan was in Wilmington to hear feedback, take questions and give encouragement to educators and private partners. (Read previous coverage on evaluating Delaware’s RTTT efforts here)

“Delaware has been very aggressive,” said Duncan.  “The eyes of the nation are on Delaware. There is a lot of hard work ahead of the state between now and the fall, but I’m confident the state will get there.”

Two years ago, Delaware and Tennessee were the first two states to receive federal Race to the Top funds.  Delaware officials are now in the process of using the $119 million the state received over four years to address low-performing schools, student achievement gaps and supporting teachers and staff to make students career and college ready.

Really, that’s the wisdom? After watching your remarks, it is clear that Governor Markell’s confirmation bias has caused him to tell you his version of the truth….we’re still working on him with this Mr. Secretary…not that you’d want to hear it if he told it to you…but we’ll keep trying….

 

Note to teachers, remember this line, you will hear it again, and again. “This is the Teachers plan” – Arne Duncan

Governor Markell gets his groupthink on: Private, exclusive meeting today with Arne Duncan #netDE

Today, in a boardroom in Wilmington, DE., Jack Markell has invited and exclusive group of people for a one hour sit down with “key” stakeholders in Delaware education. The ability to RSVP for media was placed into a very narrow window:

From: Kepner Alison [mailto:akepner@DOE.K12.DE.US]

Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 1:43 PM
To: Kepner Alison
Subject: Education Secretary Duncan to visit Delaware to discuss Race to the Top Progress

Media Advisory

Contact: Alison Kepner (302) 735-4000

EDUCATION SECRETARY DUNCAN TO VISIT DELAWARE TO DISCUSS RACE TO THE TOP PROGRESS

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will travel to Delaware on Friday, March 23, to hold a roundtable conversation with state leaders and others involved with the state’s Race to the Top plan. They will have an open and candid discussion about progress in achieving the goals of the grant and anticipated challenges. This month marks the two-year anniversary since Delaware along with Tennessee were selected as the first two states to win grants in the first round of the Race to the Top competition in March2010.  Delaware received $119 million for a four-year grant to implement comprehensive school reforms to improve student outcomes.

In addition to state leaders, the roundtable will include superintendents, school board presidents, teacher union leadership, community and business leaders, and other key partners involved in carrying out the goals of the state’s Race to the Top reforms. Duncan will hold a media availability following the discussion.

Media interested in participating should RSVP by 9 a.m. Thursday, March 22 to Alison Kepner at akepner@doe.k12.de.us to request credentials.

WHO:

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Governor Jack Markell

Delaware Secretary of Education Lillian M. Lowery

Key stakeholders

WHAT:

Roundtable to discuss Delaware’s Race to the Top progress

 

WHERE:

Carvel Building

3rd Floor Conference Room

820 N. French St.

Wilmington, Del.

WHEN:

Friday, March 23, 2012

12:15 p.m. – Roundtable discussion

1:15 p.m. –   Media Availability

So,who is a “key” stakeholder? Parents? Apparently not? Classroom Teachers? Well, it is being held at 12:15P on a school day so draw our own conclusions. But mostly who are “other key partners”? Vendors? Consultants?  I guess us in steerage will have to wait for the media to do its job. I hope there is a critical eye  who is there and who ISN’T. Also, I am curious about questions asked v. topics just discussed for the sake of discussion.

Also, our Governor has reduced himself to pandering to the Sec. Ed of the U.S.: from WDEL…..

Governor Markell signs two education bills into law that will help bring better teaches into the state’s classrooms.

Senate Bill 164, sponsored by Sen. Dave Sokola (D-Newark) and Rep. Terry Schooley (D-Newark), allows Delaware school districts to guarantee jobs earlier in the year to attract more quality teachers.

The second measure, House Bill 239 has the same co-sponsors, and extends the state’s authorization in the Teach for America program, that offers incentives to place some of the country’s smartest teachers in the toughest schools.

Friday U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is in town for a roundtable with the Governor and state Education Secretary Lillian Lowery to examine progress in Race to the Top. WDEL will be there.

HB 239 tried to extend the bill for TFA to permanent status with no review…..check the engrossed version and see the strikethrough.…thank goodness Rep. Kowalko fought to get it RE sun-setted……

So the news story says that the meeting today is to “examine progress in Race to the Top”, lets hope WDEL uses that lens when recapping their coverage and is willing to say (if it is) just a casual conversation where a bunch of people in support of the program kiss each other’s asses. I hope it’s not.

At the end of the day, I most want to know why our Governor respects Arne Duncan: he did not fix Chicago’s schools, has no pedagogical pedigree, and allowed himself to be caught behind closed doors in another private meeting with Chicago politicians (see below)…even if he did nothing wrong, you can see and feel the tension and discomfort here all the way up to him being filmed driving away……

Delaware has misstepped on RTTT at many different junctures. It is simply a boondoggle that is saddling DE with unrealistic expectations and then places us on a path to achieve  them that will have in many cases I believe an opposite effect, particularly on placing the best teachers with the highest need students, a truly laudable goal. It’s not so much evil, as just politicians tinkering with schools with no real understanding of how to genuinely support the mission of the teachers; resources and intellectual freedom combined with dynamic building leadership. Professionals, like teachers, with soar to new heights with these in place. With what Duncan’s plan brings, we will just get skepticsm, fear, and ultimately loathing….

Mr. Matthews has some really good questions that I would love to see answered. Governor Markell needs to extricate himself from the bubble of the advisors that keep telling him his policies are great, and needs to reach out to a MUCH broader group.

RTTT has not been sunshine and rainbows in Delaware, today’s discussion should not be either.

For those in the room today, good luck, and enjoy the show.

Update: pic from meeting All the regulars (Rep. Schooley in front row and Mr. Herdman drinking it all in….) I do see a teacher though.

@GovernorMarkell and @arneduncan speaking to a group of Delaware educators on Race To The Top #netde

UPDATE#2 Governor Markell speaking about Arne Duncan visit in PAST tense BEFORE it happened…Houdini style.

Opt Out Chronicles: School Boards Opting Out? #HUFFPO

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/timothy-d-slekar/opt-out-chronicles-school_b_1355281.html

 

What does it mean to opt out? The simple answer, in the context of the public school reform movement, is when a parent pulls their child from state mandated high-stakes testing. However, opting out is not limited to this action only. At United Opt Out we talk about opting out in even broader contexts. Writing a letter to the editor of your local paper expressing frustration with school reform is a way to join the opt-out movement. Attending rallies that support your community public school is a form of opting out. Offering words of support to parents that are “opting out” is another way to opt out. You see “opt out” is really just a way of resisting the corporate reform agenda being thrust upon our community public schools.

It’s kind of interesting if you think about it, but opting out is simply supporting public schools. So while actually refusing to participate in high stakes testing is one form of opting out, there are many ways to opt out. You opt out whenever you simply question the direction of corporate education reform. By simply asking this question you are stating that you do not approve of the direction the corporate reformers are taking our public schools — that is opting out.

But what about school boards? Can these elected representatives stand up and resist the corporate reform agenda? Should we expect the people we elected to make the best decisions for our kids, teachers, and schools to take an activist position? Do school boards have an obligation to resist policy mandates that are blatantly devoid of supportive research and will potentially harm our children, teachers and schools?

For example, in my home state of Pennsylvania, teachers and principals will have 50 percent of their future evaluations come from Value Added Measurements. Remember these are the measures that supposedly show how much a teacher actually “added” to a student’s learning. As I pointed out in my last blog and as countless others have stated, VAMs have error rates that exceed 50 percent and should never be used as a measure of teaching effectiveness.

Therefore I decided to go to my local board and use my official three minutes (from the board handbook) and try to impress upon this elected body that they should “opt out.” A week before, I sent the board some literature clearly stating that evaluating teachers using students’ high stakes test scores was a seriously flawed idea. I drafted a speech and practiced its delivery to make sure I was under the three-minute mark (The handbook was very clear that at the three minute mark I would be asked to stop talking).

On the night of the board meeting I showed up early, took a seat. Some teachers showed up and sat behind me. And then the board members filed in and took their seats behind their engraved nametags. The meeting was called to order. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited. A moment of silence was observed and the minutes from the previous meeting were officially accepted. After finishing the meeting opening the board president announced that the board would begin by moving on to agenda item #1. I forgot to pick up an agenda so I didn’t know that I was item #1.

The board president announced that, “We will now hear from Dr. Slekar.” I stood up, pointed to the back of my shirt (I was wearing a Rise Against decal on the back of my shirt) and delivered the following speech…

I am concerned about the future of education in our schools.
Pennsylvania schools are about to adopt a teacher and principal evaluation system that will use the high stakes test scores of children in determining the so called “effectiveness” of our teachers and principals. As you can read in the hand-outs that I have provided this will do nothing positive for our children, teachers and principals. There is not a shred of research that supports such a drastic policy decision.

This board needs to understand that teaching to pass ANY high-stakes tests does not provide children with a quality teaching and learning experience.

I am speaking to the board tonight because I fear for the amazing teachers my children have had over the years. For example, last year and this year my daughter has had truly gifted teachers. She comes home and talks about what they did in school without any prompting. She eagerly shares papers and projects completed during the day. She asks questions about the things she learned during the day. She is using technology (on her own) to investigate other questions. She writes her own books. In other words, she is fully engaged.

Here is my question for the board: What has happened over the last two years that has produced a hunger for learning in my child?

The simple answer is that her teachers care deeply about learning and have helped her develop a love for learning.

This is the heart of quality teaching and it will never be measured on a test. There is no statistical operation capable of measuring a teacher’s ability to instill a love for learning.

If our school and other Pennsylvania schools adopt this evaluation system, my daughters’ teachers (IN FACT ALL THE GOOD TEACHERS) will have to change their approach to teaching and learning.

If the pressure for high test scores and the insane notion that “we” should hold teachers accountable for test scores continue to drive policy discussions concerning teacher effectiveness, the most valuable experiences associated with learning will be dismissed. The drive for test scores will suck the life out of teaching and learning.

The politicians and others that are pushing this new evaluation system have decided that they know what’s best for our children. This top-down, condescending view of teachers, parents and local schools is disheartening.

If we (citizens, parents, business owners, community members and you the members of this board) care about the quality of our schools, then we need to be talking about the love for learning — not test scores.

I am asking that this School Board to (and this is directly from the Board’s webpage), “Provide for the education of all children and Set district policies and regulations” that oppose the use of test scores as an evaluation tool for our teachers and principals. Doing anything else would be disregarding all the evidence and research on teaching and learning and the valid use of test scores.

Footnote.

This past October, on Long Island New York. 1330 principals (over 73%) signed a position paper in which they protested evaluation by high stakes test scores and put millions of dollars in Race to the Top funds in jeopardy. WHY? Because this is what leaders do! What will all of you do?

Thank you for your time.

I sat down.

Crickets!

However, I did find out that the superintendent released a memo to the school community later that week (I guess I am not a member of this community since I did not get one). In the memo the superintendent stated that I was right but…?

We’ve gone from a “banning” to a “fuss” #truecolors

 

unreal. Thanks so much for this “coverage”

The effect of a vote. CSD Board meeting 3/13/12.

At the 3.13.12 school board meeting we were presented with an action item to allocate 40K to fund a position at Glasgow High School that functions to assist the school with its discipline efforts. The 40K was a reassignment of RTTT funds allocated to the school based on a reduction in the anticipated spending pace of other RTTT initiatives. Earlier in the meeting we were treated to a presentation about the mid year status of GHS and were given information about work being done with a consultant to assist the development of the academies in place. This is work delineated on pages 13-23 of our state approved PZ plan and we already have a vendor, Edison Learning, contracted for this purpose.

The board was not apprised of this additional vendor and the dollar amount (15K) was reallocated from another part of the PZ plan dedicated to student achievement more directly: dual enrollment at Wilmington U. So, when confronted with a request to modify our plan and reallocate these dollars, board members, including myself asked questions. Why? How many people do we have already in this role? How many Dean do we have? How many climate advisers do we have?

Questions I asked myself were: since we have already allocated for these needs in the plan, why are we moving around monies now, and doing so with alternating secrecy and transparency? Why is the DOE not more involved in this? Why would the DOE support formal modifications for some items but not others? Is this work that is core to a school’s leadership team and should not be given over to consultants in the first place?

The 15K no-bid consultant was not brought to the board in a timely or transparent way and was done so in what I consider to be a disrespectful process.

I voted against the 40K reallocation as a result of all of this stuff. I did not vote against the person in the role. It was a protest vote  about the benefits of mutual respect and working together not any other way. It was a vote to protect the constituents who elected me from spending their tax dollars without their elected representative being exposed to rationale and a fair and honest Q&A session. It was rushed and cloaked from where I sat, so I could not support it.

I still don’t have good answers to almost all of these questions. I do know that there was a semi-secret, non public meeting on January 4th, 2012 which was run by the State Dept of Education that effectively has moved a district administrator out of the building and significant curtailed the flow of information while injecting distrust into the equation of governance. Why? How? I am left to come to my own conclusions. So I have.

I have been left to come to too many of my own conclusions at Glasgow High School and as a board member it has forced me to be vigilant, perhaps hyper-vigilant about our efforts there. Information coming to me as a board member since 1/4/12 has been slowed precipitously. I think that is wrong. How can I make good decisions about GHS without data? I probably can’t.

My role as a public official demands that I steward their money wisely, safely, and efficaciously. Absent needed information I am compelled to vote against proposals that do not allow for ample analysis. I have heard from some that this is causing angst. To those I say, pick up the phone, call me: 219.308.5338. I would love to discuss your concerns and help learn more about how I can help all of our schools. Until then, I guess I will have to live with words of disparagement spoken behind my back to other designed to create further fracture, not solutions. I will do so without regret.

Glasgow High School and its success is very important to me. So is every school in the Christina School District. I would love to hear from as many GHS parents, students, teachers and staff about how I can help our fledgling PZ plan with all its twists and turns succeed. To all those concerned within and without the school, I promise to remain vigilant on your behalf since that is what you have elected me to do.

To our dedicated teachers: thank you for all the work you do every day, you are the most important employees in the building, helping our students in the most transactional way. It is appreciated!

So this is what it’s come to…..News Journal sensationalism

Mr. Chalmers is 2 for 2 with me.

From this:

Honors student banned from school for pink hair

Sixth-grader earns dye job by raising grades but Shue-Medill officials say it’s disruptive

to this in less than 12 hours

Pink-haired 6th-grader allowed back in class

Christina honors student had been disciplined for hair color

It is clear we were trying to ban her from the start, we hated her pink hair and banned her…..come on NJ, how about showing some responsibility in your headline writing. Your headline just brought unnecessary bad will into the discussion. Our team at Shue-Medill is working hard to make it a great school. They worked with parents to create this policy. I am 100% fine with the parents objecting to this rule. They did, so we reacted, they reacted, and then we worked it out with them. Now my school leadership will try to control its school knowing that the local paper is ready to pounce on them at a moments notice. I wonder if that will be helpful? Actually I don’t wonder.

It is clear now that we worked with the family and the student. Yet we will not escape your damaging headlines and the legacy of distrust they help to foment and breed. We make mistakes sometimes because we are people too, thanks for yanking out your magnifying glass and making it harder with your tabloid headline strategy. I am so glad I canceled your paper and freep your website.

Disgusting.

Delaware Charter Schools Network President offers thoughts, comments starting to come in…..


Stand on My Shoulders | Town Square Delaware

As a state, as a community, and as Delawareans, we need to work together to find ways to provide an excellent education for all of our children. With just five weeks under my belt as the new Executive Director for Delaware Charter Schools Network, I am a new voice in Delaware education and I am eager to join the conversation. There are great things going on in our charter schools. First and foremost, they are providing high-quality education:  charters represented the three highest performing public schools statewide in reading proficiency in 2011 and three out of the top four in math. 67.8 percent of charter students are proficient in reading and 69.1 percent are proficient in math, compared with 61.5 and 62.2 percent respectively for all public schools statewide. And this is happening in schools across a diverse population of students.

Read on: HERE.

Glasgow High School Visit Post number 2. #netDe

Yesterday, I attended a school visit by our Governor. At the beginning of the visit, Governor Markell spent quality time with a group of students. They were VERY impressive: engaged, intense, and comfortable. He sat around a table and really engaged them on their level physically which I think helped open them up. I already commented about his observations regarding PLCs in a previous post, so I will cover another question in this one.

A student asked Governor Markell for any ideas he may have on how she can convince her peers to do their best on the DCAS test so that Glasgow can “make AYP”. I was instantly frozen by her question, I wanted so desperately to tell her what I thought, but I wasn’t in this discussion, just a passive observer. Governor Markell did not hesitate, he told her that she should not be worrying about AYP at all, that’s for the adults to deal with  she should just enjoy learning.  Whew! GREAT answer, I was happy.

As a day has passed and I wonder: Does the Governor think about how national and state policy has gotten to the point that she even felt compelled to ask that question in that way? I hope so, because  her question makes me sad.

Governor Markell’s answer gives me a sliver of hope even if he says the tests are here to stay, he is starting to hear the message from people far more important than a blow hard school board member like me: a Delaware PUBLIC school student!

Great job GHS students!