WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Governor Jack Markell: Touting high tech curriculum in Politico column; Del. Today looks at his future

Governor Jack Markell has a column in POLITICO: "Winning the Jobs War", again touting a science & technology curriculum in our schools. Again, I ask, how does this square with the "perfect storm" confronting our schools?


Meanwhile, in DELAWARE TODAY, Bob Yearick writes about Governor Markell's accomplishments, recent setbacks, and political future...


Posted at 8:02am on May 28, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Tue, May 28, 2013 12:43pm
With education one has to sort the marketing away from the reality. Marketing can make anything look good. Just look at how many millions were fooled by Romney!

Point is, when one's speech is general, one can make wide promises. I was impressed and I know this is true, that we have open positions requiring math skills and have over-employment in fields that do not. I had not seen the 2-to-one ratio.

So we hear promises. But the reality is that money designated for classrooms, including manpower and supplies, has decreased significantly over the Markell administration, while the increases in budgets all go to things like consultants, corporate testing programs, corporate data readers, which create a lot of bureaucracy, make a lot of stockholders wealthy at government expense, mind you, but don't teach one thing.

STEM and Common Core sound good in principle, I have read the standards btw, but what actually hits the classroom is very poor...

The reason is that a corporation gets a contract, then scrambles to hire people to fill it, and those people are not the ones who should be involved in education. We think wise people must be grading our tests, but in reality it is drunk, hung-over college kids scoring these tests for their $11 an hour...

The tests are also created not by educational specialists. but again, by whomever they could coax off the street to work for cheap. They are sometimes rather arbitrary and ridiculous, and the low scores upon investigation are not the fault of the student, but that the questions asked were so vague and open-ended that they confuse the heck out of adults? Which is why there is a movement to make legislators take the tests before springing them upon the children, and then publishing the results. Most legislators have no idea what is on the tests and would be horrified if and when they knew.

We want to teach more science, but the budgets for tools that science teachers can use are dropped each year. Instead, we have evolved to testing as a cure.. Standardized tests don't teach... I like to make it sound like a joke to get the point across, but I'm really serious, if you want to get kids interested in science... you got to blow stuff up... You have to ignite hydrogen. You have to drop sodium in water. You have to ignite magnesium. You have to go outside and make a big hole in a field... Then show them how the formula predicts exactly what they just saw.

Reality is how you teach science, and subquently math. Not marketed programs which are untested...

Tue, May 28, 2013 1:04pm

Interesting to consider Markell's political path when his term expires in 2017. There would still be two more years left on Carper's term but Coons would be up for re-election. Dare we think that Markell would primary a Democratic incumbent for Senate? Perish the thought!

Tue, May 28, 2013 7:43pm
It's too early to count Markell's chickens. We have to see how the educational issue will play out. If like Indiana, where a well healed person of the state's predominant party found himself, as is Jack Markell, on the wrong side supporting Common Core, Markell could be a pariah similar to that of Minner and Baker by this time next year...

You can't be on the opposite side of education finding yourself opposed to school aged children's parents and still win. It is impossible.

Tue, May 28, 2013 7:45pm
Kavips: If Romney "fooled" so many millions, then why didn't he get elected? It's Obama who fooled America twice. However, he didn't fool ME!

Tue, May 28, 2013 7:52pm
The problems with education began 50 years ago with Murray vs. Curlett, which effectively kicked Jesus out of school. Why, even her own son ended up getting born again and becoming a racist-bigot-homophobe like me.

Tue, May 28, 2013 10:20pm
kavips: You seem to be involved with issues concerning Common Core...have any states decided against instituting CC in their schools?

Tue, May 28, 2013 10:38pm
Earl... sort of.. Although it is not an outright mutiny, so pundits are calling it both ways...

Texas, Virginia, Alaska, and Nebraska have all held back, and Minnesota only accepted the math portion, refusing the reading part.

Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence suspended his state’s adoption of the Common Core. In Louisiana last week, the state Senate voted against a bill to block implementation of the standards, but only after a roaring debate about the standards,, They are still going forward.

Similar bills to stop the standards failed earlier this year in Kansas, Missouri, Alabama, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

Delaware is asleep on this issue. What is interesting is the movement is like immigration, like guns, like homosexual marriage, and cannot be really pointed as a party issue. Both supporters and detractors are all over the place. The supporters are more organized, primarily top down, and the detractors are organizing from the grass roots up...

That is a quick view of where it stands... In politics it can be described thusly:

“Because Common Core Standards are being imposed without trial implementation to test their effectiveness, or even see what they mean ‘on they ground’ in actual schools and school districts, they are looking more and more like a full-court press from the government and large corporations overriding the long-standing tradition of local control over public schools,”


Wed, May 29, 2013 8:22am
Thanks for the info kavips...other than contacting representatives what can be done to stop this? I know that FreedomWorks (from the right) has a grassroots campaign against CC...who is organizing on the left to defeat this hostile takeover of our local schools?

Wed, May 29, 2013 10:25am
The answer,Earl. Discussion. The Common Core has proceeded forward almost in a vacuum.. It has not been vetted within public opinion, except perhaps in a few isolated cases. Reason is, it is so new. This year is the first it hit public schools. This past September there was grumbling from teachers who'd been trained on it over the summer, but who is going to pay that any mind?... As the year progressed, it was concerned parents who one by one as they saw the homework, become horrified over the whole policy.

The bad product or Common Core in action, is fueling the opposition. Which is why so many varied groups are all driving forward to contain the damage, each using their own political viewpoints to drive it home.

Next year the state laws will begin facing stronger challenges. The damage can be easily undone by just changing a couple of lines of legal code, so I'm sure those bills will be out in force next session, spurred on by both progressives and Tea Partiers, each who are sensitive against the over-intrusiveness of Big Corporations or Big Government in matters of local concern.

Expressing your feelings with your local state reps over the garbage being passed off as common core would be the first step. The overwhelming vote of Delaware's legislators for what essentially amounts to a one-sided snow job by the Markell administration, could only happen because they too were completely ignorant of what is inside those packets being given to today's school children. No more are the classics which helped mold us, and the "Greatest Generation" which came before us, being made part of a school's curriculum.

As soon as local legislators get the feeling of, "oh wow, I really goofed on that one," then things will settle down and the damage can begin to be undone... as it is in other states.

Still, Common Core has some good points. It should not be thrown out completely. I do like the assessments being done on a regular basis. That makes too much sense. I mean who would run a business with no accountability or balance statements until the end of the year tax time? It's original purpose is that it should be used as a tool for student development, but unfortunately that information is being distorted because we are firing everyone who does poorly on what we are discovering is a very random arbitrary test.

If we could just teach our children from a curriculum and determine though feedback what they absorbed and didn't, we can make corrections in a timely fashion. But because one will lose their job if they have failures on the test, they are obligated to teach to the test, over and over and over to get the results we require. Problem is, when our students graduate, all they know is the questions on the test. Everything else slipped by the wayside. Our fear is, and is being proven by raw test data, is we are slipping backwards from the educational gains so far achieved...

Wed, May 29, 2013 10:32am
I just read the end of your question.. Who on the left was taking on Common Core?

Right now, no one.. I would characterize that as a loose collection of voices at this stage. But since it is the heart of both Obama's and Markell's administrations, it would have to come from the progressives to mount a campaign against this bad policy. Many are timid to do so for "damaging the brand". But from there, as would the Tea parties campaign, it would need to spread towards the center....

The Conservatives have a problem that their big money donors are all in favor of it. The Chamber of Commerce types have all jumped in and signed on... So they will need to run at the center as well.

Wed, May 29, 2013 10:47pm

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