What would you ask

If you had the chance to sit down with Delaware’s Governor to discuss education issues what would you ask first. I may get the chance so I’m asking for some honest help. I already plan along with our CFO to ask about Equalization and a better idea of where we are going with RTTT.


About Gary M Wolfe

The Author spent 10 years as a member of the Milford Delaware Board Of Education, and is currently seeking the 18th Senatorial seat in the Delaware Legislature.
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4 Responses to What would you ask

  1. John Young says:

    I would ask about “public/private” partnerships in turning around our schools and whether or not he has considered, for even a moment the complete dearth of academic and research based support for the strategies espoused in RTTT.

  2. kilroysdelaware says:

    I would ask him why he didn’t follow through with his campagin promise during the DSEA debates that he would address re-segergation via charter school and the creaming of the crop and skimming of students vua charter schools.

    Also, I would ask him, who will advocate for students who’s own parents won’t? Who will sign these kids up for charter schools?

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I’d like to know how he plans to fund the curriculum, technology, and pd that will go along with National Standards?

    And how he intends to involve local school boards in the decision making process now that Dr. Lowery has the ability to dissolve them.

  4. AncoraImparo says:

    remember… YOU ASKED! Would you rather I send you this in a word document? 🙂

    Education Vision
    • Since the restructuring of DOE, what steps has DOE taken to identify an outreach (not a top down model) to districts to identify WHAT is working within the district? Identify DOE outreach based on unique needs of county, district needs? (In the classroom, we call this “differentiation.”)
    o Has Governor Markell conducted an outside review of the numerous educational programs by value of investment/ impact of results/ quality? Leaning Focused Schools, Teacher Leader Network, Delaware Academy of School Leadership, Distributive Leadership, Understanding by Design, Survey of Enacted Curriculum…Perhaps with review, cuts in ineffective programs could boost other programs, small changes could be made to empower valuable programs and add further credence and/or choices could be made.
    o Has there been consideration of the cost per district for a district to participate in ALL of these programs – perhaps too much cross overlap, costs where stagnating 6 problems could be substituted by a district choosing to gain progress by empowering a few instead of covering all bases.
    • How can the state help districts OUTREACH to parents/community in support of empowering students? How could we have a “point” person pulling all resources and community leaders, programs together – and use data coaches to raise level of whole community to embrace school?
    • Will there be a “watch” on increased charter applications/ funding so that all resources do not go upstate further stretching downstate resources and funding? Will the answer be that downstate will have to apply for a charter in order to compete in funding resource? Do we really want people to spend time on competing for funding? Is there a concern that districts have to focus more on lobbying and competing for state funds than on effective achievement of students?

    Teacher Quality
    • Markell campaigned heavily on understanding the teacher in the trenches. Sincere promises were made to improve the quality of central and building administrators and allow teachers in the trenches to push up as innovative, instructional leaders, make their voices part of the collaborative discussion, and have good teachers lead the changes in education. Since his office, he has championed TFA, loaded his work groups/action teams with political, business stake holders and administrators and buried teachers weighted in irrelevant LFS (Learning Focused Schools) paperwork that has the instructional quality of 2nd year education class. Governor Markell speaks about rewarding “good teachers” and “reducing cumbersome regulations,” what can he identify has been done in the first year to support this vision?
    o When/how will Governor Markell increase the number of teachers from the trenches to his work groups/action teams? What other groups besides DSEA represent teachers?
    • RTT grant focuses on teacher quality/professional development. Why has Delaware allowed its commitment to the National Board Certification to lapse? DOE points at General Assembly; however, under Governor Markell, this program has fallen completely. If this program is the elite of all teacher professional development, is it not worth a minimal investment? Other states are using RTT funds for “Take 1” portions of the certification process. Will National Board for Professional Teaching Standards continue to be left out of Delaware’s vision of advancing education?

    State Testing/State Standards
    • How is DOE preparing for the philosophical change between DSTP (emphasis in writing) and DCAS (emphasis in multiple choice)? Are districts, teachers being prepared that students will be assessed in a much different mode? Are schools currently preparing students for new style of testing? Will DOE, districts, schools, teachers be aware that by testing in a different mode (even same information), it is likely to produce different results? Will DOE help facilitate/communicate with students/parents that testing and results will change in results? Will DOE address the psychological affects of testing results of students who have been trained to WRITE and suddenly may have better or worse state test results?
    • Has the state identified lessons learned from implementation of the DSTP in order to avoid those implementation problems with DCAS? (For example, Chiefs wanted DSTP to be completed all within 6 days to facilitate security, school schedule, etc – maybe some of their same concerns will come up in DCAS – especially security and scheduling – hope we have learned from past.)
    • Is DCAS meant to be formative or summative? Is the test meant to be a “report card” or a diagnosis report? Will there be a teacher/parent work group (at present, most groups are central/building admin – lack of $ for substitutes) to ask/recommend the diagnostic feedback DCAS will report.
    o What does research say about bias of online testing? Will a written test be allowed?
    • How will DOE address the narrowing of curriculum? Student are currently empowered in ELA and Math, minimized in Science (which has 4 DOE specialists) and Social Studies and deleted from Foreign Language and/or Arts/Music. Are we losing a broader curriculum? Is it ethical for buildings/classrooms to expense these areas for the necessity to skill/drill a small population – just to make a state rating.
    o Does DOE have a plan to address the lost needs of students who did master state standards and are losing enrichment beyond scope of testing goals?
    • Do state standards (at secondary level) facilitate the climb/ enrichment of college bound students and Advanced Placement courses in high school? If the standards are not aligned in discipline/skill, which should supersede: state standards or Advanced Placement courses? If the school’s resources are focused on entirety meeting standards, how can we address needs of enrichment? (Please substitute RTI – Response to Intervention – in this question as well.)

    Please tell Mr. Cruce I said Hello. 🙂

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