So, I went to a State Board of Education meeting.

Wow, was I surprised! The BOE members were asking and not asking questions of DOE staffers based on presentations that they had to repeatedly criticize as not meeting their expectations. It was AMAZING theater. I watched the turnaround chief tell more than one untruth right to the BOE members’ faces, especially around partnership, leadership oversight and frequency of visitation to districts. He claimed supports NEVER offered. The SBE needs to ask districts to come and testify, not the DOE.

I watched the BOE lap up a stunningly obtuse and emotional pitch for TFAs superiority in secondary mathematics based on one study, watched a Board member CORRECTLY ask when then are most TFA members in elementary schools. Then I got to listen to TFA pitch how they use a proprietary evaluation for their corps members and all but said it was a better tool that DPAS II (not hard by the way). Lastly, they honestly told the state BOE that “grit” and “perseverance” were the most significant differentiators of their corps in a stunning rebuke of career educators and one BOE member, Whittaker, confirmed his agreement by saying there was research while offering none. It was shocking: they actually cop to measuring “working relentlessly”, Heffernan jokes that will be “Component 6”

Unsurprisingly, TFA Delaware is being led by ex-Rodel employee. Here’s the presentation they offered:

The AYP discussion was a train wreck,  with the DOE staffer getting pummeled by the BOE repeatedly. Most concerning though, was the COMPLETE and UTTER lack of understanding about how cell size change from n=40 to n=30 was in play for the Spring 2013 results but that the actual REAL difference what that Spring 2012 data were compiled against a proficiency model PRE-ESEA Flexibility waiver and the 2013 Spring data were compiled against an achievement gap closure model that was enacted when we got our Flexibility waiver “approved” (as if was ever not going to be approved). Mr. Murphy actually sensed the discordant conversation’s essence but was stunningly ineffective at correcting the misunderstanding to any reasonable person’s sense of comfort level that the appointed officials of our Governor have a clue how to analyze the policies they have placed all of us poor school boards under. You may think me prone to hyperbole, but trust me, LISTEN TO THE RECORDING.

Here’s that presentation:


5 thoughts on “So, I went to a State Board of Education meeting.

  1. MHS

    So did you speak at the meeting during public comment? Was the meeting well attended?
    I will have to listen to the recording, which kudos is up the day after the meeting! I enjoy analyzing data so it will be interesting to hear the AYP discussion.

  2. Steven Fackenthall

    I love slides 10-13 of the TFA presentation. There are no details other than were the TFA members were. Those percentages are just too close to accept as “TRUTH”. How did the scheduling work in those schools? Did classes stay with the one HR teacher or did they switch for subjects? Those details are important as veteran teachers could be teaching those subjects that TFA just overlooks.

    1. MHS

      Regarding the AYP presentation – did I miss it or was there actually no data presented that showed how the state actually performed against the target AMO’s?
      The Board seemed confused by this as well from some of the questions. I know that the cell size changed from 40 to 30 but the targets to cut the achievement gap in half were based on 2011 data which had a cell size of 40. If the targets had been based on data that was a cell size of 30, how would they have been different? It seemed like Mr. Heffernan was asking if they had run the data that way to at least analyze whether or not they were actually on track to cut the achievement gap in half. Of course I think the fact that slides didn’t actually have any state performance data probably further complicated the confusion- but since you were there you may have better insight than what we heard in the recording.

      1. John Young

        They did a horrible job of comparing actual to AMOs. Confusion carried the room. Murphy seemed to get it but could not get it articulated back to BOE members well.

        As for the difference of the baseline being N=40 v. N=30 the main difference is that some schools would not have had some of the cells they would have had if the number in 2011 was N=30. Example: a middle school with 31 African American kids had no cell for that in 2011, but would have a cell for the same kids in 2013. No baseline, now no comparison.

        It was a classic exercise in how not to communicate the delicate subject of moving the goalposts.

  3. MHS

    Where are the actual data values? All I saw was charts of AMO’s. Did they provide the actual state % at the meeting and not have it in a slide???
    I think we are both saying the same thing about the cell size changing and it sounded like Heffernan was too, have they gone back and re-run the 2011 baseline values against cell size of 30?
    Ok serious question for anyone that can answer it – when the baseline was set was it set against the total state wide percentage proficient in each subgroup or did they only use data from cells that counted for AYP? It seems that it would make most sense if they used complete state-wide proficiency rates per subgroup. If that’s the case the only place the cell size comes into play is in how many cells a schools has to count for AYP, it wouldn’t impact the statewide data of how we did as a state against the AMO’s. Am I thinking about this right??

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