The IEP Task Force begins next week. In nine days. With no public notice of a location and who the members on the task force even are. I do know the following: Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn is the Task Force Chair, and Senators Poore and Lawson and House Representative Heffernan (whose husband is on the Delaware Board of Education and was the chair for the DOE Advisory Council for Special Education Improvement) are the designated members from Legislative Hall. I’m not sure who the minority Republican House Rep will be, but it is required in the legislation. I am hearing many differing reports on if the task force is fully staffed yet. According to the DOE, it is. See page 49 on this PDF from the DOE’s “Advisory Council” on improving the IEP process (same wording as the legislation, even though this advisory council has been meeting since earlier in the year): https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=190001&AID=7329&MID=339
According to someone in the know in Legislative Hall, it isn’t. So who is right? Or is the DOE just taking over the whole thing even though Senate Concurring Resolution 63 creating the IEP Task Force explicitly states who picks the members in designated areas? Because Michelle Rush at the DOE has been designated as the coordinator for the task force. No locations have even been announced, and no public notice has gone out. It is scheduled at 4:30pm, virtually ensuring many working parents won’t be able to attend. Public comment has been reserved for the end of the meeting, when focus will be dwindling amongst the members.
If this IEP Task Force is anything like the above link, then it will be all about aligning special education students with Common Core Standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment (with faulty accommodations for special ed students and no form to even go into IEPs yet). I pray it isn’t about that, and it will address the true problems with special education. I pray the task force chair, Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn, has the sense of purpose that these students need an individualized education plan, not making them more similar with other students and forcing them to adapt to the “rigor” of Common Core. This was exactly why I insisted parents be added to the task force, to prevent this from happening. But if the DOE has the final say on the task force, then the IEP process will not be improved, it will be diluted. The Delaware DOE needs to understand this IEP Task Force was not created as their task force. It was written by legislators, serving the will of the people who pay for your jobs.