What Was Secretary of Education Mark Murphy So Happy About? @KilroysDelaware @ed_in-De @dwablog @nannyfat #netde #eduDE

Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy

I’ve reviewed the news conference Governor Jack Markell gave after the announcement about the Priority Schools (Takeover) in Red Clay Consolidated and Christina school districts.  Here is a link to the Delaware Online video of it:  http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2014/09/04/poor-wilmington-schools-get-aid/15072245/

At the 30 second mark, the camera shifts over to Secretary of Education Mark Murphy when Markell started talking about how the schools will be having “great school leaders.”  Murphy cannot contain some sort of jubilant feeling he is having.  It actually goes on for a couple seconds, but then it looks like he checks himself, as if he’s thinking “Oops, not appropriate here.”  I found this to be very odd behavior from a Secretary of Education during a press announcement that the state is essentially taking over six low-performing, low-income elementary schools.

A picture can tell a thousand words, but a video tells even more!  Things I am wondering now about Murphy are 1) What does he already know about potential leaders for the schools IF the state winds up taking them over, 2) What’s in it for him?  Some financial connection perhaps?, and 3) Is Mark Murphy right in the head?

In my opinion, this is just another chapter in the long book Markell and Murphy have written on their changes to education in Delaware.  But I truly hope this is where the story takes over and bites them in the ass!

Uh-Oh, Common Core for Special Education. What are Standards-Based IEPs? And which are the Pilot Districts?


Standards-based IEPs are coming. They are already here in some Delaware districts and across the country. Since I wrote this article a month and a half ago, I’ve found out standards-based IEPs have been around since No Child Left Behind was introduced back in 2002. But designing IEPs to fit the Common Core standards is a newer thing, going back to 2010 in some states. Delaware is just starting this “initiative” in 2014. This is dangerous, and deceptive, just like the Common Core Standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Our special needs students have never needed their parents to speak up more. This is the line in the sand, and we have to cross it now. We have to rise, like an army, and fight with our voices. We must unify, we must retaliate, and we must say no. If we don’t, our children will be subjected to a hell we have never seen before. The very nature, the very essence of an Individualized Education Plan will change forever. And if we say nothing, we are allowing this to happen. We are saying “Please let my child go through the rigor of common core so the proficiency gaps can close.” But here’s the catch. No matter what, that gap will not close under Common Core. This standard is not the answer. Every single special needs parent in Delaware needs to go to the IEP Task Force meeting on Tuesday, September 23rd, and tell them you will not sign an IEP that inserts Common Core into your child’s IEP. Brian Touchette, the director of assessment at the Delaware DOE has been assigned by Governor Markell as his designee on the task force. This is a shrewd move by Markell to get this initiative inserted into IEPs across the state. Say no!

The Season Of Myths

That June 14th Annual IDEA Presentation from the Exceptional Children Group of the Delaware DOE to the Delaware Board of Education sure provided a wealth of knowledge. One of the things that was mentioned was standards-based IEPs. From my transcript in an earlier article, this was where Sarah Celestin spoke of this new form of IEP:

“The first standards based IEPs: This is a new initiative that really has just started since January. We’ve been doing some development work since last summer but the training kicked off in late January and early February. The reason we are moving towards standards based IEPs in Delaware is in our compliance monitoring of IEPs we saw that sometimes the rigor, there was a lot of remedial kind of goals and there wasn’t as much focus on how is a student gonna access grade level instruction. And you remember you need an accommodation, you…

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