***UPDATE*** Did @DEStateBoardEd have a quorum at this meeting? It was not posted if so. #netDE

1/30/13 UPDATE: @DEStateBoardEd responded via PM on twitter defending this meeting as private and not required posting. To be clear, the board member below called it a meeting, but the SBE respondent on twitter called it a “social lunch”. Methinks they are blurring the lines and just trying to defend a private meeting of public officials. Ultimately,the defense of not posting (public or executive) a meeting in which a quorum of SBE members attended was simply the SBE’s way of telling me, and all of us, that the Title 29, Section 100 laws on open meetings are for us, but not them. In other words, nothing new.

No meeting of this sort is listed on the Delaware calendar this week:Skip to Page Content

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January 17, 2013

9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

January 08, 2013

12:00 PM to 4:00 PM

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Originally posted on Seattle Education:

Microsoft Word - PSU Protest ad.docx

“In just one week, the results of this year’s NECAP test will be released,” said Kelvis Hernandez. “It’s our hope that everyone in Rhode Island passes. But it’s more likely that thousands of students will not score high enough to pass this graduation requirement, particularly among the state’s most vulnerable populations—English Language Learners, students with disabilities, students of color, and low-income students. Will you support this policy that takes away so many of our futures? Or will you join us in calling on the Board of Education—whose members you nominate—to end this discriminatory and misguided graduation requirement? We hope you’ll make the right decision.”

Providence, Rhode Island – January 30, 2013 – Public high school students, teachers, and other community members staged a press conference today to protest Rhode Island’s new high-stakes testing graduation requirement, calling on Governor Chafee to end a policy they described as unjust and ineffective.


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Common Core myths and realities. #eduDE #netDE

Some may find this guide useful:

We are exactly 1/3rd of the way throught the TELL Delaware Survey period of 1/22/13 to 2/15/13. #netDE #eduDE

The Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Delaware survey is an anonymous statewide survey of licensed school-based educators to assess teaching conditions at the school, district and state level. 

The TELL Delaware survey will be administered January 22-February 15, 2013.  School-based licensed educators may complete the survey anytime during the four-week window, 24 hours a day, from any Internet location using the anonymous access code provided.

24 days of surveying, 8 are done. Here’s the response rate:

School     District Educators   # cmplt         % cmplt

DE            10277                                 1605                15.62

Looks like the response rate is a bit soft, not terrible, but a bit soft. I wonder if the DSEA and DOE and Governor will start a “BIG PUSH” to “drive” the numbers. If so, it’s another red flag. Trust me, if teachers trust the survey, then the above parties should not have to ask for you participation. We’ll soon see.

John Young:

Well thought out response. There are indeed multiple issues lying in wait for the EA’s around the state, and the DOE is indeed generally clueless on the issues that impact teachers and their classrooms and students.

Originally posted on Mind of Mr. Matthews:

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Easy pick now! Go 49ers! Delaware asshole Joe Flacco simplifies things a bit.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

The U.S. Department of Education is not supposed to control U.S. education.

It was created to serve schools, protect the rights of the neediest children, and coordinate funding programs, not to tell schools what to do.

One prong of the corporate reform movement seeks to strip local school boards of their responsibility, because they don’t like privatization.

The National School Boards Association listened to Secretary Duncan and a leading Republican member of Congress yesterday, then released this statement:

NSBA contact: Linda Embrey, Communications Office
703-838-6737; lembrey@nsba.org

School Board Leaders Advocate for Less Intrusive Role of the U.S. Department of Education

Alexandria, Va. (Jan. 29, 2013) – More than 700 school board members and state school boards association leaders will be meeting with their members of Congress and urging them to co-sponsor legislation, developed by the National School Boards Association (NSBA), to protect local school district governance from unnecessary and counter-productive…

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Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

There is growing evidence that the Common Core standards are absurd in the early grades. They require a level of academic learning that is developmentally inappropriate.

Little children need time to play. Play is their work. In play, they learn to share and to count, to communicate, to use language appropriately, and to figure things out.

A story in a NYC newspaper shows just how ridiculous the Common Core standards are when imposed on 5-year-olds: Here is a story, well worth reading, about how Common Core is being implemented in kindergartens across New York City. The headline is. “Playtime’s Over.”

Says the story:

“Way beyond the ABCs, crayons and building blocks, the city Department of Education now wants 4- and 5-year-olds to write “informative/explanatory reports” and demonstrate “algebraic thinking.”

“Children who barely know how to write the alphabet or add 2 and 2 are expected to write topic sentences…

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Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

You earlier read the press release from the National School Boards Association here, reasserting the importance of federalism, a concept unknown to the U.S. Department of Education these days.

Here is a great summary and a link to the NSBA’s proposed legislation, which tells the federal government to abide by its federal role–not as the boss of the nation’s schools, but as a support.

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Looks like @DEDeptofED, the @DEStateBoardED and @GovernorMarkell have backed the wrong horse, again. #SmarterBalanced is on the ropes #netDE

page 9/10 of this embedded report from January 2013

Why it needs to be baseball season! #netDE

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Jim Martinez decided to research the sources of the Common Core State Standards. Given their importance as a redesign of the nation’s highly decentralized education system, we can expect to see many more such efforts to understand the origins of this important document.

“Engaging the nonsense – a brief investigation of the Common Core”

A teacher asked me where the Common Core came from, another suggested that I “teach” the Common Core in my Master’s degree level courses.

So my curiosity got the best of me and I spent some time understanding something about Common Core from my perspective as a scholar and educator.

My first discovery is that the Common Core is a political document. That may seem fairly obvious, but what I mean is that there is an identifiable political ideology and history that has contributed greatly to the current document. I’ve attached a link to document that…

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Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

No excuses!

The Noble Network of charter schools in Chicago is proud of its high test scores. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Noble has some “secret sauce” that produces great success.

Could this be it?

A Noble charter has fined the mother of a student $3,000 for his rule-breaking.

The mother is unemployed. She can’t pay.

She says she thought that public education was free.

Noble has its high standards. It collected $190,000 in 2011.

Pay or get out.

Is that the secret sauce?

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Caesar Rodney Institute rails against Indian River referendum to further the charter movement. #netDE

Certainly their right, but this brutal lying is beyond the pale:

  •    Charters do not discriminate or select the highest performing pupils. Admission is determined by lottery if the school is oversubscribed. If not oversubscribed then selection is based on first-come-first-serve basis.
  •    Charters are a source of innovation that benefits all public schools. The autonomy and flexibility built-in the environment promotes excellence, experimentation and innovation.

@GovernorMarkell proposes $3.3MM to help kids in middle school, while sending over $5MM to tesing companies to “drill and kill” our kids. #netDE

Then read this sickening report:

I wonder how many more professional educators we could hire for that $5MM? Trust me, that’s an answer we’ll never get.

@GovernorMarkell ‘s flip-flopping commitments to DE schools. #netDE

Folks, he’s already hedging.

More RTTT competitive grant BS headed our way:

John Young:


In the right order of things, education—the early fashioning of character and the formation of conscience—comes before legislation. Nothing is more determinative of our future than how we teach our children. If we fail at this, we will sow growing social chaos and inequality that no law can rectify. 

In California’s public schools, there are six million students, 300,000 teachers—all subject to tens of thousands of laws and regulations. In addition to the teacher in the classroom, we have a principal in every school, a superintendent and governing board for each school district. Then we have the State Superintendent and the State Board of Education, which makes rules and approves endless waivers—often of laws which you just passed. Then there is the Congress which passes laws like “No Child Left Behind,” and finally the Federal Department of Education, whose rules, audits and fines reach into every classroom in America, where sixty million children study, not six million. 

Add to this the fact that three million California school age children speak a language at home other than English and more than two million children live in poverty. And we have a funding system that is overly complex, bureaucratically driven and deeply inequitable. That is the state of affairs today. 

The laws that are in fashion demand tightly constrained curricula and reams of accountability data. All the better if it requires quiz-bits of information, regurgitated at regular intervals and stored in vast computers. Performance metrics, of course, are invoked like talismans. Distant authorities crack the whip, demanding quantitative measures and a stark, single number to encapsulate the precise achievement level of every child. 

We seem to think that education is a thing—like a vaccine—that can be designed from afar and simply injected into our children. But as the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats said, “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” 

This year, as you consider new education laws, I ask you to consider the principle of Subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is the idea that a central authority should only perform those tasks which cannot be performed at a more immediate or local level. In other words, higher or more remote levels of government, like the state, should render assistance to local school districts, but always respect their primary jurisdiction and the dignity and freedom of teachers and students. 

Subsidiarity is offended when distant authorities prescribe in minute detail what is taught, how it is taught and how it is to be measured. I would prefer to trust our teachers who are in the classroom each day, doing the real work – lighting fires in young minds. 

My 2013 Budget Summary lays out the case for cutting categorical programs and putting maximum authority and discretion back at the local level—with school boards. I am asking you to approve a brand new Local Control Funding Formula which would distribute supplemental funds — over an extended period of time — to school districts based on the real world problems they face. This formula recognizes the fact that a child in a family making $20,000 a year or speaking a language different from English or living in a foster home requires more help. Equal treatment for children in unequal situations is not justice.

With respect to higher education, cost pressures are relentless and many students cannot get the classes they need. A half million fewer students this year enrolled in the community colleges than in 2008. Graduation in four years is the exception and transition from one segment to the other is difficult. The University of California, the Cal State system and the community colleges are all working on this. The key here is thoughtful change, working with the faculty and the college presidents. But tuition increases are not the answer. I will not let the students become the default financiers of our colleges and universities.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

California’s Governor Jerry Brown!

His State of the State speech, given today, is brilliant. It reflects his probing intellect, his philosophical bent, his deep understanding of the power of the creative mind, his abiding love of his state.

On the subject of education, he speaks words that will be music to the ears of every educator. He recognizes–as Washington, D.C. does not–that great education cannot be mandated or legislated. He knows–as most legislators do not–that great education cannot be imposed by law or regulation. He recognizes that equal treatment is not enough, or as he says, “Equal treatment for children in unequal situations is not justice.”

I have placed the education section in boldface type.

Here is his speech. Enjoy, and be envious that he is not your governor too (I am):


Governor Brown Delivers 2013 State of the State Address



Picture Picture Picture

SACRAMENTO – Governor…

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Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Parents Across America is hosting a Webinar on high stakes testing. Think about joining and meeting some of the leading figures in the opt-out movement.

Let’s Talk: A Webinar on High Stakes Testing and Opting Out

On January 27 at 1:00 PM PST, 3:00 PM Central and 4:00 PM EST, Parents Across America will be hosting an online seminar on high stakes testing and opting out of these tests.

Our guests will be:

Jesse Hagopian, teacher at Garfield High School and part of the MAP test boycott

Shaun Johnson, a former public school teacher, current teacher educator and online radio show co-host of At the Chalk Face who is a founder of United Opt Out National.

Monty Neill, Executive Director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest). Dr. Neill authored Implementing Performance Assessments: A Guide to Classroom School and System Reform, and Testing Our Children: A Report…

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Originally posted on Seattle Education:


Wednesday/January 23, 2012

This We Believe:

Teachers, parents, students, school board members and the administration of Seattle Public Schools owe Garfield High School teachers their gratitude and thanks for speaking the truth.

We believe that any reprimand or negative consequences imposed by Seattle Public Schools, the superintendent or administration on the truth-telling teachers of Garfield High School would be unjust. Garfield High School teachers should be given public commendations for rightly raising their professional concerns and specific critique of our district’s choice and misuse of the Measures of Academic Progress® [MAP] testing.

An unspoken truth is that most Seattle Public School stakeholders already knew that the MAP test was expensive and of little practical use in supporting our students’ learning, or in evaluating their classroom teachers before the Garfield High School teachers spoke up publicly.

We believe that effective teaching and learning must utilize meaningful tests, authentic assessments, and multiple-measures…

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