Voluntary. #DOE #DETalentCooperative #MerriamWebster #eduDE #netDE @DEDeptofED


adjective \ˈvä-lən-ˌter-ē\


Definition of VOLUNTARY

1: proceeding from the will or from one’s own choice or consent
2: unconstrained by interference : self-determining
3: done by design or intention : intentional <voluntary manslaughter>
4: of, relating to, subject to, or regulated by the will <voluntary behavior>
5: having power of free choice
6: provided or supported by voluntary action <a voluntary organization>
7: acting or done of one’s own free will without valuable consideration or legal obligation
— vol·un·tar·i·ly adverb
— vol·un·tar·i·ness noun

Examples of VOLUNTARY

  1. Participation in the program is completely voluntary.
  2. He was charged with voluntary manslaughter.
  3. the voluntary muscles that control urination


Middle English, from Anglo-French voluntarie, from Latin voluntarius, from voluntas will, from velle to will, wish — more at will

First Known Use: 14th century

Now read this:


@DEStateBoardED told me to shove it on my comment regarding Pencader Charter and their special extended process. #eduDE #netDE

To wit:

On Feb 13, 2013 9:20 PM, “Johnson Donna R” <drjohnson@doe.k12.de.us> wrote:
Mr. Young,
Regulation 275 3.9 requires that written and electronic comments must be received no later than beginning of the public hearing to be included in record.

Donna Johnson
(sent from my iPhone)

Executive Director
State Board of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite 2
Dover, DE 19901-3639

On Feb 13, 2013, at 8:26 PM, “YOUNG JOHN” <YOUNGJ1@christina.k12.de.us<

mailto:YOUNGJ1@christina.k12.de.us>> wrote:

Mr. Carwell,

For the Formal record, submitted on 2/13/13, PRIOR to end of public hearing at DelTech:

PCHS has endured 4 Formal reviews for a variety of DOE cited concerns and malfeasance at the expense of Delaware taxpayers. For all of the reasons that have been identified by the DOE over multiple years of oversight and the schools persistent inability  to comply with basic FOIA rules and supply its own students with FAPE as evidenced by due process and OCR judgments, I must conclude that keeping Pencader open is not in the best interests of DE taxpayers or the students it purports to serve.

If in the event, the above is not compelling, then the 80% requirement for minimal enrollment based on a charter of 625 compels 500 students. Currently PCHS hovers at the 410 mark, a number that suggests impending insolvency. Throwing money into that rabbit hole would be a dereliction of duty of significant magnitude regardless of new board leadership or the commitments of counsel which have already been challenged with a fresh FOIA complaint in immediate advance of the meeting and special meeting granted to give them a final voice in the process.

It’s not an easy decision to close a school, but at least it is crystal clear in this case.


John Young
Newark, DE

Just more proof that the DOE and SBE are uncaring appointed agencies. My comment was late according to code, so no complaint, but the spirit was not violated and the school received extra time, why not a taxpayer? by less than 2 hours, the DOE and SBE essentially told me to go to hell, and they wonder why we in the field, closest to the students don’t think of them as a service organization. Maybe it’s because they pick the most selective times to exercise oversight of regulations. What a sad statement of alleged professionals.

Pencader has lost control of its own website? #netDE #eduDE

Check out the latest Pencader document: http://blogs.delawareonline.com/delawareed/2013/02/12/update-pencader-charter-hearing-about-possible-school-closure/

Copyable document here: http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/603090/doc-response-to-charter-school-accountability.pdf

Here’s a quote from page 8:

5. Website issues
Pencader is experiencing significant problems with its website. We believe the
school is the victim of individuals who have improperly gained access or who have otherwise
changed information without authorization after we have posted new information. The changed
information is wrong, old or misleading. Two specific instances that we can state are when Mr.
Willoughby changed the registered agent from former Head of School to his firm’s corporate
registry organization, the new document was processed and then posted on the site. Yet the
document was later found to have the former school leader as its registered agent.
Similarly, President Frank McIntosh dictated a series of changes to our web person
internally which included updates to all of the current board members. After the changes were
made and then reviewed by Mr. McIntosh, he went on the site again to be sure all was well and it
was. Two days later, the changes disappeared and replaced by distorted information.
A call to “Go Daddy”, informed us that the owner of domain name is Adam Lewis,
son of the former Head of School, who is the only person who can allow us to have full access to
our site. Mr. Lewis has thus far been unresponsive to efforts to reach him. Addressing this issue
is legally difficult. If the domain is not voluntarily turned over to the school, it will budget for and
create a new web page

The DOE is pushing HARD. It’s got to give you pause. #TELLDE #SLOP #netDE #eduDE



Response rate to state teacher survey coming up short

By James Dawson
February 13, 2013

Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy is pushing teachers to do their homework.

Murphy and Governor Jack Markell launched the anonymous TELL Survey last month to get an idea of Delaware educators’ work environments.

More than half of First State school districts haven’t reached the 50 percent participation mark needed to release the data.

Murphy says he’s sent emails to every teacher, urging them to finish the survey before Friday’s deadline.

“I’m concerned about any teacher who’s not filling out the survey, absolutely. So we fully intend to push right until that deadline to make sure [we hear from] as many educators as possible,” said Murphy. “The bottom line is that we need to hear from our educators and understand what their needs are and this is an amazing opportunity for them to do that.”

The TELL Survey is partly funded through the state’s federal Race to the Top grant.

It asks 29 questions, which take between 20 and 30 minutes to complete.

The survey was developed with the support of the Delaware State Education Association (DESA). At the survey launch, DSEA president Fredericka Jenner said it is one of the initiatives the teachers’ union requested Race to the Top money be spent on. Gov. Markell added he hoped to see over 80 percent participation.

80%, patently laughable. This is a stunning referendum on trust levels between educators and the “off the rails” DOE of Governor Markell.

RFP for TELL Delaware Survey: You Decide who’s in control/Who ordered the Code Red.! #eduDE #netDE #SLOP

Key quotes (yes, much of this is boilerplate, but it’s there in black and white above read it for yourself. Be informed:

The contract shall be awarded to the vendor whose proposal is most advantageous, taking into consideration the evaluation factors set forth in the RFP.
It should be explicitly noted that DDOE is not obligated to award the contract to the vendor who submits the lowest bid or the vendor who receives the highest total point score, rather the contract will be awarded to the vendor whose proposal is the most advantageous to DDOE. The award is subject to the appropriate State of Delaware approvals.

1. Qualifications: any applicant responding to this solicitation must demonstrate experience working on teaching conditions at the state and local levels. Applicants must also have experience analyzing similar survey data on teaching conditions across states.
2. Experience and Reputation: experience designing, administering and analyzing statewide web-based surveys of educators.
3. Cost: a cost proposal should include the cost to the State of Delaware for all activities outlined in the proposal.
4. Availability: Applicants must be available to conduct the survey in Spring 2012 or Fall 2012 (SEEMS THEY ARE RUNNING BEHIND/DIDN’T CARE ENOUGH TO DO LAST YEAR?).
5. Familiarity with public work and its requirements.

1. Methodology-approach to conducting the survey and all related activities. The survey must include web-based delivery with secure log in identification for participants.
2. Survey Design-survey should cross reference student achievement with learning environments (no ed reform bullshit there, ha!), teacher retention, teacher years of experience and parental/community engagement.
3. Data-in addition to statewide reports, survey results should be disaggregated by local education agency and school.

The DDOE is now issuing this Request for Proposal for a vendor to create, administer, analyze and report data on teaching conditions in Delaware public schools (Address concerns?). Core elements of the survey process should include the following:
 Creation of a guiding coalition of key stakeholders to finalize survey instrument and assist with communications related to the survey (I call major BULLSHIT HERE, show me the meetings, minutes, notes, dates, etc)
 Design of survey instrument grounded in research
 Build robust data platform for schools to access results, view detailed and summary data and download summary results
 Technical assistance and tools to facilitate appropriate use of survey results
 Development of tools for use by trainers to broadly share the results of the survey in an effort to improve working conditions
 Cross state comparisons of working conditions results on similar surveys (What? If California or Texas are happy then STFU?))

Delaware’s Race to Top application includes multiple strategies to recruit, retain and reward teachers and leaders. The DDOE plans to conduct a comprehensive analysis of teaching conditions to determine the impact of recent and long-standing activities to improve teacher and principal practice. The survey will provide current school staff with an opportunity to share their ideas, concerns and experiences to improve student learning and teacher and leader effectiveness. The results of the survey will not be used in performance evaluations, rather to inform future recruitment and retention initiatives. (not conditions?)

Delaware is now implementing its four year plan to become the best performing school system in the country. The State will achieve rapid, significant gains in student achievement through the following strategy:
 Set high standards for college- and career- readiness, and measure progress with high quality assessments and excellent data systems
 Recruit, retain, develop, and support great teachers and leaders who can help all students meet high standards
 Build core capabilities to promote great teaching and leadership
 Accelerate improvements in the State’s high-need schools
 Build capacity to deliver against goals (I can’t even start to respond. Wow, just plain Wow)

1. Proposal Evaluation Team
The Proposal Evaluation Team shall be comprised of representatives of DDOE. (What about the above referenced “Key Stakeholders”?, just another DE mile wide, inch deep exercise in head banging) The Team shall determine which vendors meet the minimum requirements pursuant to selection criteria of the RFP and procedures established in 29 Del. C. §§ 6981 and 6982. The Team may negotiate with one or more vendors during the same period and may, at its discretion, terminate negotiations with any or all vendors. The Team shall make a recommendation regarding the award to Delaware Secretary of Education, who shall have final authority, subject to the provisions of this RFP and 29 Del. C. § 6982, to award a contract to the successful vendor in the best interests of the State of Delaware.

Caveat Emptor.


another view


As the survey comes to a close, I was thinking of some of John’s comments and suddenly another idea hit.

That idea was borrowed from last night’s state of the union speech.   In it our Commander in Chief argued that victims of guns need a vote.   It could go plus or minus he said, but at least we had accountability.  Those voting for guns over children, could then be campaigned against for making that choice.  If their districts agreed with their vote, well then their districts agreed with their vote….

But the point is that a vote must be taken.

The alternative to that is what we have now.  Speeches,  speeches, speeches, blog posts, blog posts, blog posts.

Thousands of individuals with ideas about guns, …. but no record.  Nothing is getting done because no one knows where everyone stands.   Are we on the edge of victory?…

View original post 595 more words

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood #TELLDE #netDE #eduDE #SLOP

This will probably ramble a bit.  As most who visit and read here know, I have grave concerns about the survey being executed by the DOE and a group of partners  I have staked out a position of urging extreme caution and have used the low hanging fruit of corporate conspiracy and false promises of anonymity to bolster my position. To be fair, this is a hallmark art of blogging, inject strong opinion, sensationalize and promote a view, repeatedly, until both sides of the issue are standing in complete relief.

Now I wish to add a different take, a more analytical one, one based on a series of sincere questions. (Spoiler alert, my skepticism on the survey is genuine)

  • Did the DSEA have input on the formation of this instrument? If no, why?
  • Why is there no free form section asking for teacher narrative?
  • Will the TELL consortium release work product from the psychometricians that developed this instrument, including why specific wording is being used and are there any “interpretation guides” available for public consumption rather than just one side (who gets to analyze what it means: how and why?)?
  • Are the questions asked in a particular order for any specific reason?
  • Are there statistical/actuarial models that buttress the 50% response rate requirement? If so, what are they and how do they specifically impact interpretation? This is CRITICAL to the integrity of the instrument!
  • If, as is the case in many surveys, self selection bias is in play, does it help/hurt the interpretation? You decide:

In statistics, self-selection bias arises in any situation in which individuals select themselves into a group, causing a biased sample with nonprobability sampling. It is commonly used to describe situations where the characteristics of the people which cause them to select themselves in the group create abnormal or undesirable conditions in the group.

Self-selection bias is a major problem in research in sociology, psychology, economics and many other social sciences.[1] In such fields, a poll suffering from such bias is termed a self-selecting opinion poll or “SLOP”.[2] The term is also used in criminology to describe the process by which specific predispositions may lead an offender to choose a criminal career and lifestyle.

While the effects of self-selection bias are closely related to those of selection bias, the problem arises for rather different reasons; thus there may be a purposeful intent on the part of respondents leading to self-selection bias whereas other types of selection bias may arise more inadvertently, possibly as the result of mistakes by those designing any given study.


Self-selection makes it difficult to determine causation. For example, one might note significantly higher test scores among those who participate in a test preparation course, and credit the course for the difference. However, due to self-selection, there are a number of differences between the people who chose to take the course and those who chose not to. Those who chose to take the course might have been more hard-working, studious, and dedicated than those who did not, and that difference in dedication may have affected the test scores between the two groups. If that was the case, then it is not meaningful to simply compare the two sets of scores. Due to self-selection, there were other factors affecting the scores than merely the course itself.

Self-selection bias causes problems for research about programs or products. In particular, self-selection makes it difficult to evaluate programs, to determine whether the program has some effect, and makes it difficult to do market research.

In summation, I have deep concerns based on a multitude of factors. Everyone knows I cannot trust a DOE that repeated spits on local control and habitually lies to districts while betraying its own commitments (read RTTT turnaround unit, focus school funding, etc) AND I have concerns based on not having answers to the questions above and more. I am not just firebombing the survey instrument for my own personal entertainment, I believe it is an attempt to assuage teachers that based on all available information in the marketplace, has very little chance of succeeding.

And if I’m wrong, teachers win. Sure hope I’m wrong, I just don’t think I am.