We All Have Special Needs

Special Needs Parents

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, special needs children say it from the heart.

Dreaming With Your Feet

I am at a convention called BlogHer. There are 4,000 bloggers here with me. I feel very small and I have so much to learn.

One of this morning’s keynote speakers, Shannon Des Roches Rosa of the blog Squidalicious, spoke about how connecting with a community of bloggers and with her own readers helped her come to terms with her son’s autism diagnosis. Another keynote speaker, Jenny Lawson – The Bloggess and author of the book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, spoke about the response she received when she shared with them that she has a mental health diagnosis. Her readers responded with thousands of comments that shared the refrain, “I thought I was alone.” She has emails from people who told her they were on the verge of suicide and read her blog post, and the comments left by the community of people who also have a mental…

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David Sirota, you and me…


What in God’s name is happening to education in our country? The only people not getting screwed over are the one’s lining their pockets. Everyone: teachers, students, parents…we are the ones that should count the most.

Reclaim Reform

David Sirota exposes yet another major rip-off of teachers – active and retired. The political leadership of both major political parties, the elected officials, and the corporate thieves who control major media outlets lie and propagandize about these rip-offs.

“As states and cities grapple with budget shortfalls, many are betting big on an unproven formula: Slash public employee pension benefits and public services while diverting the savings into lucrative subsidies for professional sports teams.”
So begins Sirota’s latest investigative article.

Illinois, Michigan, Florida, New Jersey, Arizona, and Maryland are all used as examples in Sirota’s article, yet many other state legislatures are following this same pattern of theft.

Active teachers pay a percentage of their salaries into pensions systems that are predicted to fail – predicted by the same legislators who both mandate teacher pension payments by teachers and their local school districts in addition to 401k “savings” and…

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Badass Teachers to March in Washington D.C. July 28th-31st, Any Delaware teachers going? #netde #eduDE @delaware_gov

Badass Teachers

I’ve been hearing about this all month, and I can’t wait to see what comes of it. Starting on Monday, July 28th, for four days, many teachers who are against current educational policy and reform in America will take it to the Capitol! This will be big news next week, and the sheer number of teachers attending will hopefully make a difference. More and more parents are starting to open their eyes to the USA and Delaware education policies, and how they really are not good for our children.

The BATS Association wants the removal of Arne Duncan. They want a real educator to be the Secretary of Education, not someone with corporate interests as more of a priority. They want an end to high-stakes testing and common core. They want the privatization of public schools to stop as well as the massive expansion of corporate charter schools to halt.

I know there is a Delaware BATS group, but it isn’t very big in relation to other states. The way our current state administration and DOE is set up, I think it would be very dangerous for teachers to speak up against Common Core and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. I haven’t heard any Delaware charter school teachers speak out publicly about Common Core, although I have had many private conversations where they are dead set against it but can’t say anything for fear of losing their jobs.

I’m starting to hear citizens who don’t have children in school speak out against it, which is a very good thing. This shows it is not just a parent-teacher thing, but a national movement against Common Core.

The below picture was taken from the Badass Teachers Association blog:


Breaking News: Office of Civil Rights wants ALL Delaware Charter School Applications for last 2 school years

Delaware Charter Schools

Kilroy got to this first (he always does), but apparently, the Office of Civil Rights wants to look at all Delaware charter school applications for school years 2012-13 and 2013-14. For all the naysayers out there, many Delaware charters cherry-pick applicants so they look better with state test scores, less low income, less minority, and less special ed kids. I heard a while ago the OCR was going to be taking a hard look at the Delaware charters, and this confirms it.

What shocks me though is this news actually came from a charter school’s Board meeting minutes. I’m going to have to look at all minutes for the charters going forward before Kilroy beats me to the punch!

Here is what was in the Newark Charter School’s Board minutes:

The Delaware Dept. of Education received a request from the Office of Civil Rights requesting demographic data from both choice and charter schools. All Delaware charter schools have been asked to provide data on lottery applicants from 2012-2013 and 2013-2014. The Delaware Charter Schools Network is drafting a collective response from the charter schools as this data was not requested on the application in those years.

I will certainly be watching this story with bated breath!

UPDATED: July 25th, 1:42 PM

I just received an email from Alison May with the Delaware DOE, and apparently this is stemming from an individual complaint from someone regarding the Colonial School District.   The issue with Colonial was resolved, but another complaint was issued about charter school enrollment preference.  The letter was dated in May 2013, and stamped by the Delaware DOE in May 2014.  Not sure why it took over a year for them to address this matter, but here it is:

3068.OCR 030804026

Pages 4 & 5 tell the story about Complaint #2.  I can only imagine what a school like Charter School of Wilmington would look like to the OCR with their very low African-American enrollment.

UPDATED: July 25th, 5:55pm

I contacted the Delaware Charter Schools Network for comment at 12 noon today.  I haven’t heard back from them at all today.  I also sent a tweet to their publicist, Catherine Nessa, and haven’t heard from her either.   More news to come on this I’m sure.