How Many Complex Special Needs Children Did Delaware Ship Out Of State In Fiscal Year 2014? #netde #eduDE @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de

Delaware Special Education

Last month, I did a long article on the Interagency Collaborative Team (ICT). This team decides where to place the most severely complex special needs children into a residential setting. More information from the original article can be read here:

At that time, I did not have the numbers of students placed in residential treatment centers for the 2013-2014 school year. However, Mary Ann Mieczkowski, the Director of the Exceptional Childrens Group at the Delaware Department of Education, provided this information to me.

In fiscal year 2014, 134 students came before the ICT. Out of those, 57 students were placed in residential treatment centers. Out of the 57, 39 students were placed out of state. This is an average of 62.7%. In fiscal year 2013, the average was 62.8%. If there are more students, and Delaware can only fit so many, why would the average be almost exactly the same? Advoserv had 17 Delaware student placements in 2013, and 19 in 2014. Did they add more room? As I indicated in my previous article, the ratios between those served in state and those served out of state has remained very close for the past 5-6 years.

Information I was not able to obtain was out of the 77 remaining students, how many were placed in day schools like High Roads.

In fiscal year 2013 as well, 32 students were placed in out of state treatment centers. With an increase of only 7 students in the next fiscal year, the costs for these out of state treatment centers skyrocketed this year. I went over the figures in the prior article mentioned above, but between fiscal years 2013 and 2014, the costs for these schools (both residential treatment centers and day schools) went up well over $4 million dollars.

I submitted an FOIA request to the Delaware DOE for the service contracts between the residential treatment centers and the state of Delaware, but the public information office for the DOE, Alison May, informed me the school districts have the contracts with these centers, not the state. Yet 70% of the funding for these centers are coming from the State run DOE, and 30% from the school districts. Why would they not have access to these contracts?

What is even more astonishing is the rise in funding received by the Devereux Foundation between fiscal years 2013 and 2014. Factoring in the 30% the local school districts kicked in for fiscal year 2013, the amount was roughly $920,910.00 but in fiscal year 2014 that amount was $2,473,163.00. An increase of over $1.5 million dollars. All of the other residential treatment centers increased as well, but Devereux’ increase is very dramatic. Is it a question of capacity for Advoserv in Delaware as well as the other out of state residential treatment centers? Or is there something more to it?

The Delaware Autism Program (DAP) is the only state-wide autism program of it’s sort in the country. The Statewide Director for DAP is Vincent Winterling. He accepted that position in 2009. As per the Devereux website, Winterling was “Former National Coordinator, Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Former Director, Devereux Institute of Clinical Training & Research (ICTR) Consultants. Is there a connection between the rise in Devereux Foundation placements coming from Delaware and the head of the autism program in Delaware having very close ties with the organization?

I would have to imagine going from such prestigious positions with Devereux to a state paid position would have to result in a very large pay cut. But LinkedIn shows he also holds positions at A-B-C Consultants as Associate Director and Director of Vincent Winterling, Ed.D., LLC. All three of his current positions have been held since 2009, the same year he left Devereux after 19 years of employment there. No information was found for why Winterling left Devereux. In the years since he left Devereux, many school boards across Pennsylvania and New Jersey have hired Winterling for consulting services for special needs children.

In the fall of 2010, there was statewide concern about shutting down some of the residential group homes servicing autistic children within Delaware. On October 1st of that year, the News Journal published an article about the situation, and the journalist covering the story wrote: “Winterling, who declined to be interviewed for this story, said in an August interview with The News Journal that the homes should be closed and children in need of these services should be sent elsewhere. This would mean these children would be sent to neighboring states, with Delaware absorbing costs of $150,000 to $200,000 per child a year.”

Meanwhile, questions have risen amongst many school districts about what they actually paying for. In an article written by Melissa Steele for the Cape Gazette on August 16, 2013, she wrote “While all children are entitled by law to a free and appropriate public education, the high cost of residential care raises questions. What services are special needs children receiving in return for tuition costs? Who evaluates the cost of services, and who determines whether the services are effective? Months of effort to uncover answers to these questions have failed to produce any understanding of these costs. Repeated efforts to access facilities that accept taxpayer money or obtain information about services students receive have been met with refusals on grounds that providing this information would violate student privacy.”

I will be doing even more research into this subject in the future. If anyone has any information about the Interagency Collaborative Team, Devereux Foundation, Vincent Winterling or the other residential treatment centers Delaware sends these kids to, please email me at the address provided in the About Me section of this blog. In the meantime, it looks like the IEP Task Force, created through Senate Concurring Resolution 63, is set to begin meeting this month. One of the mandates of the resolution states the DOE and school districts must provide any information requested. Maybe the task force will be able to get more answers on this expensive, puzzling mystery.

Hanna Hurley: A Hero For All Teachers #netde #eduDE @dianeravitch @hanna_hurley @BadassTeachersA @WhoopiGoldberg

Hanna Hurley

Hanna Hurley is the queen of education on Twitter! She is one of the most outspoken opponents against corporate education reform, common core, and standardized tests. I also hold her in high regard because she is a special education advocate and one of the best out there!

For those who may not know, former CNN host Campell Brown has emerged as the head of a lawsuit against teacher tenure in NY state. A similar suit was filed in CA known as the Vergara case, and the suit was won. What many fail to understand is that tenure does not mean a teacher can stay forever at a school. It allows teachers due process if something happens that can go against them.

On Monday, one of The View cohosts, Whoopi Goldberg, came out with a remark about teacher tenure, “You teachers in your unions, you need to say, ‘these bad teachers are making us look bad. We don’t want it!”…And it has nothing to do with being a liberal or a Democrat. It has to do with being an American.”

Many teachers took issue with Whoopi’s remarks, and Twitter quickly rose up with teachers blasting Whoopi all over the Twitterverse. I’ve been following Hanna Hurley for a while now, and I always like what she has to say. With her permission, I’ve copied her tweets about what life would be like without teacher tenure.

#WithoutTenure Tchrs will think twice abt risking their lives 2 protect America’s kids fr shootings,tornado,flood,killing sprees,schl fights

#WithoutTenure tchrs will be fired 4 protecting Severely Intellectually Disabled kids,w/ IQs below 35, from USBOE

WithoutTenure Teacher must harm SID/PID stds w/ IQs 70-55, 35-55, 20-35, <20 w/ USDoE forced #ToxicTests? DFACS!

#WithoutTenure America: Be careful what u wish 4. Consequences of silencing professional, ethical, dedicated, skilled & experienced tchrs.

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired 4 tchng abt Black Panthers&Stokely Carmichael in US History. Bullied by AA principal bc "I had no right"

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired many times 4 protecting parental and student due process in SpEd. Admins pressure 2 violate IDEA & FAPE.

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired 4 refusing to paddle or witness paddling of students, by admins.

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired 4 monitoring admins who 'withdrew' SpEd & ELL HS kids prior 2 testing under NCLB.

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired by a black principal bc he accused me at 1st mtg of "BEING Sooo WHITE"&I wldn't know how 2 tch AfAm kids.

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired 4 exposing the practice of placing 50+students into SpEd w/o any testing,eligibility,IEP,or due process.

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired 4 confronting admins who wld send kids home w/counting OSS.Data counted against schl discipline records.

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired 4 wearing pants instead of skirts, per dress code, while having 2 restrain SED institutionalized kids.

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired 4 supporting a mass HS std walkout- in protest of firing a great tchr labeled as an "Angry Black Male.

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired 4 false & fabricated accusations of 'hitting' a HS student.Stds testified & took me a yr 2 clear my name.

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired 4 testifying on behalf of a teacher wrongly accused & fired 4 being a bad tchr & an"Angry Black Male".

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired for reporting testing violations & school-wide cheating.

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired 4 reporting classes that were left unattended, w/o a supervising adult, for long periods of time.

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired 4 confronting admins for not recording physical attacks on tchrs & kids to avoid: Dangerous School lable.

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired when I attacked by a HS std,fell 2 the floor & principal wld not allow me 2 press charges. I called 911!

#WithoutTenure I would hv been fired for exposing a principal who stuck EBD/SpEd kids in a hidden room,hired a friend 2 tch & hid them all.

#WithoutTenure I would hv been fired 4 reporting & demanding actions to stop child abuse by a well connected employee in a school.

#WithoutTenure I would hv been fired 4 exposing that SID SpEd kids were in rooms w/o heat in the winter & admin insisted on secrecy.

#WithoutTenure I wld hv been fired 4 reporting a principal 4 using Title1$$ for his personal use & I testified in court.He was fired!

It sounds to me like life without Hanna Hurley would be very different at some schools, and not for the better. She obviously strikes hard when she sees injustice. We need more people like Hanna, and there are many. Public school teachers deserve more than what President Obama, Arne Duncan and several state governors have thrust upon them. There are over 50,000 members of the Badass Teachers Association. Common Core, Smarter Balanced Assessments and PARCC testing are getting slammed every single day by Democrats and Republicans alike.

To all teachers: Don't take this crap. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, don't just sit there and take it. Fight it. Make your voice heard. Is this really the kind of education you want to teach? I know most of you hate it. Like a thief in the night, your dreams of when you first wanted to become a teacher are being replaced. It's not by your districts. Your states and federal government have done this. It is corporate raiding at it's best, and many of you are letting it happen right before your very eyes. Don't think they are done after this. Prepare yourself for more changes. Don't believe the lies being told. Everything will change in the next school year. Unless you make your voice heard. You have to do this now, before all your rights are stripped away.

For those of you thinking this is a left-wing radical liberal union loving group, you are dead wrong. These are teachers who want the best for students while also being able to hold their heads up high and want to feel pride in teaching. American teachers are vastly underpaid. Why should we pay celebrities and athletes all of that money when teachers are the ones educating our youth? But this isn't what you hear from them. It's about what's being done to our schools in America.

Teachers like Hanna Hurley have true grit and aren't afraid to speak the truth. My fondest wish is to never hear from them again. For this to happen, common core would have to go away, standardized testing would need to disappear forever, special education students would need to be accommodated to the fullest extent of the law, and race and poverty issues would be dealt with in America. Until then, I support our national heroes. I hope all of you willing to stick your neck out like this are regarded as the saviors of education. Until then, keep tweeting. I know I'll be reading them all.

Hanna's quote on Twitter says it all: "Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away."

What We Need Is A Lawsuit Against Common Core Asking For An Injunction Against The Smarter Balanced Assessment

Common Core

After what happened in NY on Monday with the Feds stepping in and overturning NY law about students with serious disabilities not having to take the PARCC, this makes sense. If any attorney wants to take this on pro bono, I’m up for it!


Sometimes one goes through an “A Ha” moment. When something so obvious hits you like a ton of bricks. The catalyst this time came from Utah, home of the NSA information vault. The spark was the lawsuit in Utah’s court calling for a halt against the implementation of Common Core… Brilliant.

The Governor himself, in response to the clamor of his people, (that will never happen here) has asked the Utah Attorney General to do thorough legal review of theof the rapidly adopted, unvetted education and testing standards known as Common Core…..

His main question (as expected out of Utah) was does Common Core demonstrate Federal entanglement….

For anyone who knows Common Core, that is a no-brainer. When someone says, we will withhold your life support unless you do what we say, that is coercion. Coercion is a form of entanglement.

However… there is lawsuit filed by the Libertas Instutute

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