Tag Archives: Proficiency

Every Student Succeeds Act is an Improvement

The House of Representatives passed a compromise bill – the Every Student Succeeds Act – by a bipartisan vote of 359-64. The Senate will vote on this next week and they will most likely pass this bill. This has been a long time coming. No Child Left Behind left us with labeling our schools, over testing our students, setting goals of obtaining 100% proficiency by certain dates and evaluating our teachers using test scores. No Child Left Behind did the opposite of what was the original intent of the bill; NCLB left many students behind. While teachers were teaching to an unrealistic test, teachers could not focus on the individual child, they lost control of their classrooms and the feds and the state dictated what teachers needed to do in order to be successful in their classrooms instead of letting teachers do what they already knew, how to teach our students!

I am happy that this bill has passed the House and we will have more local control, my question is how will our state use their new control? We already know what is needed here in Delaware and what is lacking in our classrooms; additional resources to address poverty, more resources in special education, especially kindergarten through 3rd grades, and funding for our ELL students. We know how important it is for our children to be able to read proficiency by third grade. We know how important it is for our children to have excellent early learning opportunities. I am hopeful our state will provide these things.

I read the Delaware Online article this morning about “Rare consensus in Delaware over federal education reform,” click here to read. In the article the Governor’s Office provided a statement. In the statement it states the following:

“The Every Student Succeeds Act preserves some of the most important elements of our existing system, including annual testing requirements in 3rd-8th grade and in high school, which ensure that every student counts,” the statement said. “We would have liked to see stronger requirements for timely intervention in schools where students are struggling, but overall, the Every Student Succeeds Act is an important step forward that will give states more flexibility to meet their students’ needs.”

The last sentence where the Governor’s Office noted they would have liked to have seen stronger requirements for timely intervention in schools where students are struggling. Honesty, we do not need the Feds placing requirements on us. We, as a state, can provide timely intervention by providing the necessary resources that we need -ELL funding, Basic Special Education funding for our students kindergarten through 3rd grades where the students need to be developing their reading skills to become proficient readers and finally addressing our students of poverty. This is what needs to be done. I will be listening closely to the Governor’s State of the State and I am hopeful these very important funding items will be mentioned and funded in the Governor’s proposed budget.

I am hopeful Delaware will take this opportunity to do what is needed and has been needed for many years provide the necessary resources needed to make sure all our students are successful.


Friday’s Education Corner – See What Lorrie from Dover has to say about education in Delaware

I was at the State DOE meeting yesterday and spoke about “proficiency”, which we are hearing a lot about lately (I think it has replaced the word “rigorous”, at least for the time being!).  When we were in school, we got “raw” scores–the actual number of correct answers.  Today’s high-stakes tests have a “cut score”, above which students, teachers, and schools are deemed “proficient” and below which they are not “proficient”.  This score changes depending on the goal.  Who sets this score–the state, the outside companies, the U.S. DOE, or the test makers?  For example, with No Child Left Behind which required 100% proficiency in reading and math by 2013-2014, the only way to achieve that was to lower the cut score.  With Common Core, the cut score was set high so that more children would fail, thereby “proving” for all us unbelievers that Common Core is rigorous.  The parents, I would guess, are unaware that “proficiency” changes, how the cut score is determined, and that their children are not getting raw scores or the equivalent.  Schools are closed because of test scores.
Another matter that bothers me is the numbers of outside companies being paid by us to help the DOE.  From what I have heard, one of them, Rodel, may have a political agenda.  Corporations should not be involved in education; it is expensive and removes local control of education with another layer of bureaucracy.  Besides, I believe that the people who know education best are the educators.  If our educational system is so complex that our DOE cannot handle it, we need to rethink it and the people involved.
The last major concern I have is the preoccupation with data collection, accountability, and assessments. You have probably heard a lot about the assessments, so I won’t go into that here.  From what I understand, this all started with No Child Left Behind and continued with Race to the Top and Common Core.  The common denominator here is federal money, because we then have to do what they want us to do…collect data, show accountability, and assess.  Look at all the time and money we are spending on this–time that could be better spent teaching.  Our Constitution never meant for the federal government to be involved in education.  I believe that if we stopped taking this money and paid it, instead, to the state, we taxpayers would actually save money because there would be no middle man taking a chunk out of it before returning some of it to us.
Again, thank you for being willing to hear our concerns.  Have a good weekend.