‘Tis the season for a big gift we don’t want from education insiders

It's that special time of year again. While some of us are sound asleep, things are being packaged and wrapped up neatly with a bow for us. But during this season of giving, what if the surprise package that awaits is unwanted or is not beneficial for us? As someone who works to empower everyday … Continue reading ‘Tis the season for a big gift we don’t want from education insiders

The Segregated, Stealthy Spaces of Education Policy

As sure as the campaign signs and billboards will soon be removed across our state, the image of diverse, broad-based support and engagement presented by vote-seeking politicians will be replaced with an all-too-familiar reality: folks are most comfortable doing the business of public policy in segregated, stealthy spaces hand-in-hand with special interest groups. In the … Continue reading The Segregated, Stealthy Spaces of Education Policy

An Open Letter to Senator Bryan Townsend (and his colleagues) about HB399

Update (7/1/16): House Bill 399 passed in the legislature early this morning with a few major amendments (and compromises) from Senators Sokola and Townsend that address some of the concerns expressed by stakeholders (see the Parent Advocacy Council for Education's letter, for example) and here on this blog. For example, parent and student surveys will … Continue reading An Open Letter to Senator Bryan Townsend (and his colleagues) about HB399

How the teacher’s union’s new teacher evaluation bill is unfair to students, teachers, and taxpayers

School is out and summer is upon us. But if anyone is paying attention, this is the week when powerful interest groups take the unsuspecting masses to school. It is the last week of Delaware’s legislative session and while most are ruminating on 4th of July plans, pressure groups are seeing their bills breeze by … Continue reading How the teacher’s union’s new teacher evaluation bill is unfair to students, teachers, and taxpayers

The Pervasive Myths about Teacher Evaluation in Delaware

Last year, Colonial School District and 13 other Delaware charter schools used the little-known flexibility in Delaware law (see 1270f) to ditch the state’s teacher evaluation system (DPAS-II) and create their own system. Early reports on these systems suggest that educators are happier with a system they worked with their district and schools to create. … Continue reading The Pervasive Myths about Teacher Evaluation in Delaware

Why Fight for Educational Equity with Blindfolds On

  Fighting for equity, access, and excellence in our education system is hard enough; why would we ever want to do it with blindfolds on? Today during a state committee meeting to discuss teacher evaluation policy, Representative Jacques shared draft legislation (See here/ Update 6/14 - HB 339 can be found here) that eliminates the … Continue reading Why Fight for Educational Equity with Blindfolds On

Do education leaders really want parent involvement?

After four relatively flawless, under-the-radar years at the Delaware Department of Education, I made a "mistake": I invited parents to a public meeting. Education leaders were scheduled to hold a committee meeting to discuss the future of the state’s teacher evaluation system and I sent an email invitation to dozens of parents. These were a … Continue reading Do education leaders really want parent involvement?

Reflections after last night’s educator evaluation committee meeting

Imagine an evaluation system for teachers where a teacher is considered “Effective” after earning “Needs Improvement” ratings on both of their measures of student learning AND on each of the following criteria: managing student behavior, creating an environment to support learning, engaging students in learning, demonstrating flexibility and responsiveness, and using questioning techniques. Most casual … Continue reading Reflections after last night’s educator evaluation committee meeting