Campaign finance filing. CSD School Board Election: 5/8/2012

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Candidate:   Harris, Valene     for School Board Member
Candidate Party:   Non-Partisan
Candidate Committee Name:   Val Harris for Christina School Board
Report Year:   2012
Election Type:   Others
Report Type:   8 Day
Amendment:   No
Date Received Contributor Name Contributor
Contributor Address Aggregate
2012-04-11 Eugene Julian Individual 104 Windward Road Wilmington, DE 19807 $200.00       $200.00        
2012-04-15 Joseph Schell Individual 1604 Bay Avenue Lewes, DE 19968 $600.00       $600.00        
2012-04-07 Marvin Schoenhals Individual 500 Delaware Ave Wilmington, DE 19801 $300.00       $300.00        
2012-04-07 R. Ted Weschler Individual 1341 Chesnut Ridge Farm Rd Charlottesville, VA 22901 $600.00       $600.00        
2012-04-05 Rodman Ward Individual 4001 Valley Green Road Wilmington, DE 19807 $500.00       $500.00        
2012-04-24 The PAC PAC 1201 N. Orange St, Ste 200 Wilmington, DE 19801 $600.00       $600.00        
2012-04-20 Voices 4 Delaware Education PAC 100 W. 10th St. Ste 106 Wilmington, DE 19801 $600.00       $600.00        
Total Receipts In Excess of $100   $3,400.00        
Total Receipts Not In Excess of $100   $300.00        
Grand Total Receipts   $3,700.00        
Date Expended Payee Name Payee Mailing Address Reason Aggregate
2012-04-18 Alpaca Signs & Designs P.O. Box 1186, Middletown, DE 19709 Advertising and Publicity $535.00         $535.00        
Total Expenditures In Excess of $100   $535.00        
Total Expenditures Not In Excess of $100   $146.93        
Grand Total Expenditures   $681.93   

@GovernorMarkell delivers on his promise to tie student test scores to teacher consequences despite dearth of evidence connecting it to student outcomes.

Here are the two documents issued to our teachers today by our departing Secretary of Education.

1st the email:

From: <<>>

Date: May 30, 2012 4:22:32 PM EDT

Subject: An important message from the Secretary

As the school year nears its end, let us first thank you for the incredible work you’ve done in the past year.  We are in a time of exciting change for the benefit of our students –that change does not happen without some nervousness and some challenges, and we are incredibly grateful for your continuing commitment.

We write now to provide you with information regarding how Component V (Student Growth) will be measured during this current development year.  We want to provide two reminders in this regard:

    Component V is being measured during this development year using only DCAS results, and only for teachers in DCAS grades and subjects.  No other teachers will receive a Component V calculation this year.

    Even for teachers in DCAS grades and subjects, the Component V measure will not impact the summative rating, unless it is used to qualify him/her for a “Highly Effective” rating.

This document ( provides more details regarding this year’s DCAS Component V calculations.  We thank you for your patience as we have been putting the details behind this policy.  Our work has been guided by four principles.  The method we developed had to be:

•    Fair

•    Transparent

•    Easy to understand

•    Respectful of the profession, providing a foundation for our teachers and administrators to work together around a central focus of student academic growth.

Our work also was guided by critical feedback from all of you.  We heard your concerns, and together with the principles above, designed the current system.  We would like to briefly share with you a few of the concerns we heard from you and that we worked hard to address in our Component V DCAS calculation:

    Teachers should be evaluated based on the performance of the students they teach in the subject they teach.  Therefore, as was announced in January, Component V will not include a school-wide measure of student achievement, nor will it assign DCAS performance to non-DCAS teachers.  This Component V policy holds true this year and going forward.

    Teachers should be evaluated based on the work that they do to advance student academic growth – not based on proficiency levels that do not fully take into account academic growth.  Every child should enter school with the expectation of learning and growing academically.  Our teachers work toward this goal.  Therefore, Component V ratings will be based on the academic growth our students achieve.  Using a proficiency-based approach to evaluate teachers rather than a growth-based approach does not value the work teachers do every day to meet the needs of all of their students, whether the students are currently performing at high levels or low levels.  It creates an unfair rating system because of the variations of performance levels in our classrooms, and it creates a disincentive for teachers to teach our students who struggle the most.

    Our Component V measure should not create disincentives for teachers to teach students will additional challenges.  We know that students show different levels of growth on the DCAS depending on the level of proficiency at which they start the school year, and we also know that students with disabilities and students who are English language learners often grow at different rates than non-SWD/ELL students.  Given that, we refined our method to set differentiated growth targets for students, depending on their fall DCAS scores and their SWD/ELL status.

Validating and honoring the work our teachers do every day to advance student achievement matters, and we believe it is our collective role to advance this work through an evaluation system.  Thank you again for your patience and assistance in this work. We know we share the same goal: providing a strong education to all of our students and ensuring each child graduates our system college and career ready. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact public information officer Alison Kepner at<>.



Lillian M. Lowery

Secretary of Education


Mark Murphy

Incoming Secretary of Education

Here are the corresponding DOCS, they are a bit dense, but what strikes me most is the utter lack of certainty for a process that has been worked on some accounts 400, now we are hearing 600 educators. I think this is code for it’s your eval, not ours, so deal with it.  That said, principal’s can change rating in the 35-50 % of targets hit range using guidelines, drum roll please, NOT YET AVAILABLE. Also, unsurprisingly, but also absolutely insanely you can get favorable ratings on  all of the first 4 components, but the test score growth metric will sink your entire evaluation. Conversely, you can fail all 4 components I-IV, pass 5 and CAN NOT be rated INEFFECTIVE. I’ll go ahead and say what no one else will: this begs bad teachers to cheat. They are already bad, but can escape consequence by student TEST growth.

Holes abound, evidence and logic are in short supply. Read for yourself:

Link to all DE Flexibility documents!

Kilroy's Slower Delaware

Tune into the Rick Jensen Show on WDEL @ 3 p.m.. Kilroy’s Delaware and Transparent Christina will be on-air guests. I have a hunch afterwards the WDEL  program manager will have Rick Jensen rush to the state hospital. A 10 second delay will be put in place in case Kilroy says the F-word.

The topic will be NCLB and the NCLB waivers.

You may consider going to to listen in via the internet. Otherwise you might need to have you kid climb on the house with coat-hanger wired to the family radio. That 5 watt radio transmitter on Shipley Road can barely get a signal out to Route 202.

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High-stakes testing protests spreading by Valerie Strauss #WAPO

From Washington Post, here:

High-stakes testing protests spreading


Opposition to high-stakes standardized testing is growing around the country, with more parents choosing to opt their children out of taking exams, more school boards expressing disapproval of testing accountability systems and even a group of superintendents joining the fight.

Just last month I wrote about the growing resistance, noting that it wasn’t yet full-fledged but that it seemed to be picking up steam. It has and still is.

A national resolution protesting high-stakes test that was released in April already has support from more than 300 organizations and more than 8,000 individuals.


That petition is based on a resolution that has been passed now by about 520 local school boards in Texas — including Houston, the home of the so-called “Texas miracle” that launched the high-stakes testing era. Those school boards represent more than 40 percent of the state’s students. It was the Texas education commission, Robert Scott, who earlier this year made news by saying publicly that the mentality that standardized testing is the “end-all, be-all” is a “perversion” of what a quality education should be. He recently announced that he was resigning.


Here’s more of what’s going on, from Monty Neill, executive director of the non-profit National Center for Fair & Open Testing, known ass FairTest:

*Testing errors, such as the notorious “Pineapple story” in New York and the “I have a secret” writing prompt in New Jersey have further roiled the waters. “Pineapple” was just one of more than 20 mistakes on the New York exams. The impact was intensified because New York’s tests are now kept secret. Until recently the state made its questions and answers public after administering them. Under its new contact with test-maker Pearson, however, they are secret, as they are in most states. Teachers face severe sanctions for revealing scores, but students and their parents have been revealing the flaws.

*In New York, parents are organizing to boycott the June administration of a “try out” test. Students will answer experimental questions so Pearson can select items for future tests, perhaps to be used in multiple states for more profits, as was “Pineapple.” The company already had included experimental questions on the May state tests.


Opting out is not new. Boycotts grew in states such as Massachusetts when increased testing began under No Child Left Behind. Attaching high stakes to them, such as graduation and school sanctions, quieted the revolt. Students needed to pass to graduate and schools that did not test enough students would automatically fail. Still, in states such as Colorado, steady work by groups such as the Coalition for Better Schools has produced growing numbers of opting out parents. And in Snohomish, Washington, 550 parents held their children out, and they are working to spread the refusal to other communities.

and finally

You can see the list of signers – and add your endorsement – at the resolution home page

* In Florida, two county school boards voted to support the national resolution: Palm Beach (the nation’s 11th largest) and Saint Lucie.

* More media attention is being paid to the emerging testing revolt. In Florida, for example, stories have proliferated in newspapers and on television. Editorials and columnists have denounced the state’s testing policy. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal, CNN and MSNBC  are among the major outlets providing coverage (as well, of course, as this blog). Nat Hentoff headlined his column for Southern Standard, “Parents rebel against standardized tests.”

If this keeps up, even President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are going to have to notice.

ESEA NCLB Flexibility waiver madness!!!!

h/t: Children and Educators First.


Breaking News! Feds grant ESEA Flexibility waiver, DE to reduce CELL size FROM n=40 TO n=30

Impact on subgroups is 11.62 additional subgroups in reading, 12.51% in math, and a 39.39% – 53.23% increase in Special Education subgroups. This is going to literally create more cells in more schools for more “accurate” tracking!


Once again, DDOE moves the goal posts so that no two years data can be compared, thus creating a “new frontier”of data analysis each year that is disclaimed almost in its entirety as invalid due to its incomparable nature. A status  which the agency assigned to compare the data creates itself! GENIUS!