Delaware Teacher of the Year named!

and predictably she is all in on Markell’s reforms, most notably the NGSS, science standards approved with no voter input or action by the General Assembly. I am certain Megan is an outstanding teacher, but does anyone really think our Governor would select any teacher that may not be in “alignment” with the corporate ed reform movement?(see underlines below)

In fact I called it:



–Megan Szabo becomes Delaware’s nominee in national competition—

Megan Szabo, a science teacher at Postlethwait Middle School in the Caesar Rodney School District, is Delaware’s 2015 State Teacher of the Year.

Governor Jack Markell made the announcement tonight in front of about 475 invited guests at the Dover Downs Hotel and Conference Center in Dover.

Szabo, who began her teaching career in 2003, teaches a seventh and eighth grade loop at Postlethwait, where she also is team leader, head coach of the school’s Science Olympiad and advisor to the National Junior Honor Society. She is a Next Generation Science Standards lead teacher and Delaware Science Coalition instructor. Prior to coming to Postlethwait in 2005, she taught for a year at Christina School District’s Shue-Medill Middle School and a year at Avon Grove Charter School in Pennsylvania.

She considers among her greatest accomplishments in education the traits she instills in her students.

“My students may not remember every itty bitty detail about what they learned in 7th and 8th grade science, but they leave my class as confident learners who are able to make observations, see connections, solve problems and think scientifically,” she wrote in her application portfolio, later adding, “For me, teaching them how to be a scientist is just as important as teaching them science.”

Her philosophy of teaching is based on recognizing “kids will not learn from teachers they do not like in classrooms they do not want to go to.” She reminds herself of this as she designs lessons. The result is a lot of hands-on activities such as creating models and carrying out investigations. Often she encourages groups to design their own lab investigation rather than just following along a predetermined procedure.

“The best way for my students to really learn science is to experience it themselves,” Szabo said.

This longtime personal teaching philosophy aligns well to the state’s new science standards and is why she is so excited to be a Next Generation Science Standards lead teacher, she said.

“These new standards do not just change what is taught in science classes. More importantly they are changing how science is taught,” she said. “I have been amazed on a daily basis by what my students are doing in my classroom since my lessons have become more NGSS-aligned.

“They are having scientific conversations with each other and asking each other analytical questions, but most importantly I have witnessed them using the science ideas they learn in class to think critically and solve real world problems,” Szabo wrote.

Former student Emily Booth said Szabo’s techniques helped her, citing Szabo’s interactive lessons for helping biology and earth science “come alive.” Favorite lessons included a game imitating shark and minnow natural selection and a 3-D cell with all the organelles.

“Even as a junior when I was taking my advanced anatomy and physiology class I was able to remember what each of the organelles and their functions were,” Booth wrote in a letter recommending Szabo for the state honor. “Most importantly it made us excited about learning. I couldn’t wait to get to science class to see what we would be learning next.”

Szabo, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Biology Education from the University of Delaware, earned her Master of Education in secondary school counseling from Wilmington University.

The process of selecting Delaware’s Teacher of the Year is designed to find that teacher who is most representative of the entire profession through in-class observations, portfolio reviews and consideration of finalists by a representative panel.

Szabo inherits from outgoing Teacher of the Year Lea Wainwright the responsibility of representing all teachers in Delaware. She will address community groups, business leaders, legislators, and educational organizations to inform the public about the status of Delaware schools. She also will become Delaware’s candidate in the National Teacher of the Year Program, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers in partnership with Voya Financial and People to People Ambassador Programs.

By action of the General Assembly, she will receive a $5,000 grant to use for the educational benefit of her students, as well two personal grants totaling an additional $5,000. The remaining 19 school district/charter candidates each will receive a personal grant of $2,000.
She also will receive an educational technology package valued at approximately $18,000 from the SMART Technologies, ULC. Additionally, she will receive: a $1,000 grant for educational/classroom use from American Institutes for Research(DCAS and SBAC testing); grants from the Delaware State Education Association, the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and the Delaware Professional Standards Board; a State of Delaware Teacher of the Year commemorative plate from the Division of Motor Vehicles; free graduate-level courses from Delaware’s higher education institutions, including a full doctorate program from Wilmington University and University of Delaware; a gold watch from the Delaware State Teachers of the Year Association; a 10-karat gold ring from Jostens; and lunch in Washington D.C. with U.S. Sen. Tom Carper.

Other organizations that honored the newly-selected Teacher of the Year include: the Delaware Chief School Officers Association, Delaware Association of School Administrators, Delaware School Boards Association, Delaware State University, Wesley College, Delaware Technical and Community College Owens Campus and the Future Educators of America.

Szabo’s selection as Delaware’s top educator makes her the 51st Teacher of the Year since Delaware’s recognition program began in 1965. This year’s celebration was sponsored in part by Voya Financial and Hope Street Group.



Your Data Will Lie To You If You Let It

Originally posted on @ THE CHALK FACE:

Here is a guest post from Western New York Parent Advocate Eric Mihelbergel:

One of the great flaws of human nature is that our ego makes us suddenly believe that things magically become more important if we measure them.  Data does not exist naturally in the universe.  It is a human invention, and thus it is based on human assumptions.  Data itself has no power.  But all too often humans allow data to tell lies.

Consider the case in the Ken-Ton School District where my two daughters attend school.  The school district recently mandated that teachers use NYS Common Core modules in grades 6-8 ELA and Math because there was a decline in NYS test scores.  Although they are compassionate people, they poorly assumed that test scores are down because the wrong teaching methods are being used.  But the data does not say…

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Peter Greene: Don’t Be Fooled by the “Cut Back on Testing” Hoax

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Peter Greene warns you not to be fooled when the biggest advocates of high-stakes testing say they want fewer and better tests. Consider the source.

Greene writes:

“The big news on the street is that the CCSSO and CGCS (state ed leaders and big city school folks respectively) have announced an intention to rein in the testing juggernaut.

“I’m not impressed. To begin with, they put front and center NY State’s John King, Louisiana’s John White, and DC Public’s Kaya Henderson– three big fresh faces of the anti-public school reformster movement (two TFA temps and a charter profiteer). That’s a big fat signal that this not about changing course, but about protecting the current high-stakes test-driven status quo.

“And in fact these folks were not there to say, “We realize something is wrong and we’re committed to fixing it.” They were there to say, “We recognize that we’re taking some…

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Lily on Testing

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Lily Eskelsen Garcia speaks out. Time to stop toxic testing!


October 16, 2014

CONTACT: Staci Maiers, NEA Communications
202-270-5333 cell,

*** ‘Brave solution from federal government’ still needed to diminish volume, misuse of toxic tests ***

WASHINGTON—The National Education Association, the nation’s largest union with 3 million educators, has been sounding the alarm on the toxicity of the standardized testing mania that has been hijacking America’s schools. Recent statements by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Council of the Great City Schools and today’s report from Center for American Progress have confirmed that too often and in too many places, the education system has turned into a system of teach, learn and test with a focus on punishments and prizes.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President…

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Ripley’s Botched Attack on Ravitch: A Euro Is Not a Dollar

Originally posted on deutsch29:

In December 2011, writer Amanda Ripley published a post in which she tried hard to discredit education historian Diane Ravitch’s claim that the US poverty level is a factor in the 2009 PISA rankings.

Even though Ripley’s piece is over two years old, I only read it yesterday. In her smug attempt to discredit Ravitch’s interpretation of the role of US poverty upon US PISA scores, Ripley makes a gross blunder in her supposed comparison of poverty between American and Finland (when poverty is defined as “below median income”).

Ripley advances the premise, “great schools are among the most effective anti-poverty measures known to humanity.”

Ripley does not bother to define what makes a “great school.” From the focus of her post, apparently a “great school” is one that delivers high standardized test scores.

I believe that “great schools” are well-funded; that the focus of “great schools” is not on…

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While Red Clay and Christina are pushing back on DOE intrusion from the south, Capital is fending them off right in their own backyard!

Momentous decision. DOE will be knocking on your door soon. Keep them occupied.