Exceptional Children Group at Delaware DOE: What Do They Spend Money On? And What Company May Be Using Special Education Data?

Important disclaimer to this artice, I changed the title for it on August 21st, 2014. CPG is not buying special education data, so I changed that aspect of the title. The rest of the article is speculative, but led me to the even more atrocious findings I had in my article from today, August 21st.

Being a blogger geek that checks finances for everything, I always get excited when Delaware Online Checkbook updates their website.  It used to be quarterly, but now they do it monthly.  Around the 15th of the month, I get to see where the money is going at the DOE and what the schools are spending money on.  I can usually find some interesting items, as well as some ones that raise my eyebrows.  The amounts below are just for the month of July, the first of the new fiscal year.

The first thing I look for is the residential treatment centers.  Especially the out of state ones the ICT group sends severely complex special needs kids to, because our state doesn’t have the resources (see Delaware DOE: Eye of the Hurricane Part 2).

Advoserv (in Delaware): $407,198.34

Benedictine (in Maryland): $79,200.56

Devereux (in Pennsylvania): $463,743.12

High Road School: $329,669.00

Woods Services (Pennsylvania): $116,938.00

Grand Total for July 2014: $1,396,749.02

Now keep in mind, the Delaware DOE pays only 70% of these costs, while the public school districts pay 30%, so it is actually a much higher amount that taxpayers doll out for these out of state services for Delaware’s youth.

The rest of the Exceptional Children Group payments were typical.  Except for this one: Public Consulting Group Inc.  Who are they?  As per their website:

“PCG Education consulting solutions help schools, school districts, and state departments of education to promote student success, improve programs and processes, and optimize financial resources. Our technology solutions are used by educators to analyze and manage state and district data and student performance information. PCG Education solutions are supported by 25 years of management consulting experience and significant K-12 educational domain expertise. We provide educators with the tools and skills to use data to make effective instructional decisions.”

So what in the world does that have to do with the Exceptional Children Group?  They deal with special education.  But wait, PCG does have an area that deals with special education!  More information from their website:

“PCG Education is a leading provider of comprehensive, Web-based student case management solutions for special education. When combined with the expertise of PCG Education professionals who understand education, educational organizations, and how to effectively guide a school district through a comprehensive implementation process, our systems can help districts successfully plan, implement, and manage students’ individualized education plans (IEPs) in a manner that increases teachers’ time with students and helps districts to achieve federal and state compliance.

 PCG Education is a leading national provider of data solutions that promote student success. We combine 25 years of K – 12 consulting expertise with innovative technology and research-based methodology to help educators
make informed decisions that lead to improved student outcomes. Our innovative special education management tools and services help districts plan, implement, and manage students’ individualized education plans (IEP) and meet state/federal reporting requirements. PCG Education applications are used in more U.S. schools than any other online special education case management tools.”

It gets more interesting under system features:

System Features

  • Compliance and event alerts with flexible parameters.
  • ‘Virtual’ file cabinet to store each student’s special education-related documents.
  • Teacher credential tracking.
  • Intuitive, built-in compliance measures.
  • EasyFax™, an option that gives districts the ability to easily capture and convert paper documents to paperless format.
  • PCG Notifier, a Web-based communication tool that schedules automated or text or voicemail alerts through EasyIEP™ and other EdPlan™ modules.
  • State-of-the-art advanced reporting and data analysis capabilities.
  • Recording, tracking, and management tools to readily produce IEP Summary of Performance documents.
  • Workflow support and centralized documentation for Child Find activities.
  • Transfer of records between districts
  • Integration of student data with district and state SIS.
  • Comprehensive training and support services.

I have taken the liberty of putting the parts I find unbelievable in bold.

A “virtual” file cabinet:  That means special education files are being put in another company’s files.  I don’t recall ever signing off on my son’s special education records being put in a company setting.  I don’t recall ever being notified on that.

“Teacher Credential Tracking”: Don’t we already have that with DEEDs on the Delaware DOE website?

“Intuitive, built-in compliance measures”: Compliance for what?  An intuitive computer system based on an Individualized Education Plan?  Does that computer system know my son?  I don’t recall him ever mentioning his intuitive friend.

“State-of-the-art advanced reporting and data analysis capabilities”: We know the Delaware DOE loves doing their “data dives”.  Is this how they do it?  I love that my son is being data analyzed!  Makes me so happy….not!

“Recording, tracking and management tools to readily produce IEP Summary of Performance documents”: Is this the new system they were talking about at my son’s IEP meetings last Spring?

“Transfer of records between districts”: So not only can they see my son’s records currently, they can see ALL his records!

“Integration of student data with district and state SIS”: SIS stands for School Information System.  I guess someone has to coordinate all that data between the districts and the state!

“Comprehensive training and support services”: Training for who?  The DOE Exceptional Children Group?  I hope it’s just on computer systems.  I would hate to think a company is training our state specialists on special education.

Special needs parents: Were you aware your special needs children’s information has been sold to an outside company?  I didn’t, until now.  I think Mary Ann Mieczkowski and the Delaware DOE have some explaining to do….

If you can’t wait for Mary Ann (she is really nice by the way), you can read all about PCG here: http://www.publicconsultinggroup.com/index.html

In the meantime, since Mary Ann told me she doesn’t read blogs (you really should, you get much more information here than in other state media), I’m going to email her this and ask what services PCG provides for the Exceptional Children Group and why I wasn’t notified my son’s personal information is being stored with another company!

To be continued I’m sure!

Quick Update: I just checked PCG as a vendor for the whole state, and guess who else uses them: Department of Health And Social Services!  And the areas of that department that utilize PCG are Visually Impaired Services, State Service Centers, Long-Term Care Residents Protection, Management Services, Services of Aging and Adult Physical Disabilities, Social Services, Medicaid and Medical Assistance, and Community Health.  Update on the update: Also Services for Children, Youth & Families: Fiscal Services division. They must have a lot of medical and educational data on a lot of Delaware citizens!

Five Days, A New Beginning, Old Nightmares, and Common Core Hell! #netde #eduDE #edchat

In five days Jacob starts school again.  At a new school.  In Delaware, students go to middle school in 5th grade.  Not sure why, but that’s they way it is.  Jacob is very nervous.  He already knows there will be some other students there that he had problems with in the past.  Even some student’s parents as well.  My wife and I explained to him yesterday that is all in the past, and the best way to forget about those times is to move forward.  I think it will take him a while.  With any new school for Jacob, there is the reeducation of teachers and students about his Tourette’s Syndrome.  His new school will be very proactive about it.

On Monday, the teachers and staff are being trained on Tourette’s and what to expect.  This was something my wife and I insisted on.  We wanted it as an actual goal in the IEP, but we were refused on the grounds that it doesn’t affect Jacob’s educational outcome.  I still disagree with that, but since the school agreed for all staff to be trained on it prior to school starting, each year, then I will take it as a win.  Students will be trained in the first week or two of school.  I know Jacob will be nervous and he will be ticking a bit.  I just pray that no cruel bullying or teasing results from it.

Children can be cruel.  We all know this.  They don’t always understand what is different.  Sometimes adults don’t either.  I can deal with children being cruel, to a point.  Once they know and have the knowledge to understand Jacob’s condition, and they continue to do it, to me that is bullying and discrimination.  It’s no worse than making fun of someone’s race or religion.  In Delaware, somewhere around 30% of bullying in schools is directed towards kids with disabilities.

When an adult does this, it is beyond intolerant in my eyes.  It is shameful, and those people need to look inside themselves to find out why they think it’s okay to do that.  There is no reason for any adult in this day and age, with what we know, to not understand that what is different about people is what makes us unique.

My wife and I have a transitional IEP meeting on Wednesday, the day before school.  This will give us a chance to let his teacher’s know about his disabilities and what to expect with Jacob.  I know one of his primary teachers was selected as a teacher of the year last year, so that gives me hope.

I am already dreading 5th grade Common Core homework.  My hate and loathing of the CCSS has only grown since Jacob was in 4th grade.  I know if I see one more math problem that takes three times longer to do than what I had to do, I may have to take a step outside and count to ten.  Then I will come inside, take a deep breath, and attempt to help him with his homework.  It is my fervent hope the Smarter Balanced Assessment will be a thing of the past by the time they have to take that monstrosity.  I really can’t think of any other word for it.  But no matter what happens, I have to be there for Jacob and help him with what he has to do, no matter how much I loathe it.  Cause that’s what Dads do!

Updates for La. Common Core/ PARCC Lawsuits– Including Fresh Spin from John White

This could never happen in Delaware for one reason. We don’t have a Governor as cool as Jindal. We got jack. I really wish it would. Kavips, any update on your idea? I still think you should move forward with that! Let me know!

deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

The State of Louisiana is currently involved in three lawsuits over the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and/or the CCSS testing consortium assessments belonging to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).

Here is a brief update of the entire affair:

Lawsuit One Update

On August 13, 2014, Judge Todd Hernandez denied the pro-CCSS heavily-charter-backed plaintiffs in a suit being funded by the national “choice” group, BAEO (Black Alliance for Educational Options) the option of deposing the high-ranking state officials that are listed as defendants in the suit, including Governor Jindal:

District Judge Todd Hernandez agreed with Jindal attorney Jimmy Faircloth, who argued Tuesday that the governor could not be deposed in the lawsuit.

He extended that protection to the other defendants, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols and Office of Contractual Review interim director Pamela Barfay Rice, and to OCR auditor Marsha V. Guedry, all…

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