Regulation 101: DOE Tweaking State Code For Smarter Balanced & Special Needs

On Thursday, at the Delaware State Board of Education meeting, there will be talk about the Smarter Balanced Assessment (among MANY other things).  How will the DOE score this wonderful awesome test?  They really have no idea.  In fact, they have to hire an outside contractor to do all that!  But for now, let’s see how they do with what the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium sent them!

Yes, you read that right, Big Brain Brian Touchette actually said that:

Because the new standards set higher expectations for students–and the new tests are designed to assess student performance against these higher expectations–our definition of grade level performance is higher than it used to be.

As a result, it means that fewer students will meet grade level standards, especially for the first few years.

It starts with Mark Murphy saying he doesn’t expect more than 30% of the students to meet proficiency in the first year.  Then I start to hear two years.  Now it’s a few.  But the kids aren’t failing!  No, the schools will be and you will judge them and close them.  Even though you have said what you just said.  And maybe the test will never work, but we will use the data from it to close all of you nasty, filthy public school districts!  Sorry, I turned into Murphy there.

And then there are the special needs kids.  How about we change some laws to make it tougher for them AND their IEP Teams!  Let’s put some really vague wording in some areas, then ignore what is sent to us about it by the agencies that probably know more about these things than we do.  Even if they are filled with a bunch of filthy, nasty parents and union reps.  Sorry, morphed into the Murph man again!

Yada yada yada, opt out now, blah blah blah!  Just do it already parents! NOW!  Cause guess what, they didn’t even bring up the topic of parent opt out in this regulation, and we already know they either don’t how to read their own state’s code, or they purposely misinterpret it to scare parents.

DE Charter School Network Connections With Family Foundations Academy Disaester

The embattled Head of School for Family Foundation Academy, Sean Moore, is also the treasurer for the Delaware Charter School Network.  On the Charter School Accountability Committee (CSAC) is Chuck Taylor, who is the President of the Governing Board of the Delaware Charter School Network.  Taylor is listed on the CSAC Voting Committee as a “community member” and “former charter school leader”.

It is obvious there could be a large conflict of interest with Taylor and Moore serving on the same board.  Taylor, in my opinion, should have recused himself from dealing with this school’s charter renewal, especially in light of the forthcoming financial improprieties that will be coming out shortly.  But the very fact Taylor is listed as “community member” and not his true role, and the fact that Kendall Massett, the executive director of the DE Charter School Network is allowed to ask questions during a charter renewal committee meeting is suspect in itself.  The DE Charter School Network is a non-profit company whose mission is to support the charter schools in their network.  But it is obvious they have way too much influence at the DOE.  If they want to act like union reps, they should call themselves that.

Things keep piling up against Family Foundations Academy, the charter school in Wilmington, DE that is up for charter renewal.  Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy will make a decision at the Delaware State Board of Education  meeting on Thursday, December 18th.

During the schools initial charter school renewal meeting on October 14th, the board and heads of school were grilled by the CSAC, and you can see where, in my opinion, Chuck Taylor crossed the line.  It’s a lengthy read, but goes into a lot of what has been already released.  But don’t think this is the end for Family Foundations, there will be more coming.

I’ve written the DOE gave Family Foundations Academy a pass while Gateway and Reach were given a trip to the guillotine, but I don’t think things are looking too good for this Animal House charter.

Mike Matthews News Journal Solutions To Education In Delaware: Change The Conversation @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @RCEAPrez @Apl_Jax @ecpaige @nannyfat @DelawareBats @BadassTeachersA @GovernorMarkell @DeDeptofEd @DeStateBoardEd @Roof_O #netde #eduDE #Delaware #edchat

Using the state of Washington, Mike Matthews 2nd News Journal column shows why education in Delaware just isn’t working under it’s current method of practice.  While calling for parent opt out, he effectively showed how the Delaware DOE’s obsession with data is getting in the way of what truly matters: education.

The highlights:

It’s time to get down and dirty and make lots of folks a little uncomfortable by having conversations that are long overdue.

I fully support the parental opt-out movement as a means to starve the data-hungry bureaucrats of the information they need to label and tear down our neediest schools.

…the waivers can only be granted if states play the bully by labeling and tearing apart already-needy schools to show the feds they’re committed to turning around those “low-performing” schools.

To read the full column, and you really should, pleae go to the below link and spread it around Facebook and Twitter.  This is a must read, not only for Delaware, but the whole country!

http://www.delawareonline.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/12/13/education-departments-solution-work/20331407/

Exceptional Delaware Celebrates 6 Months!

It’s hard to believe Exceptional Delaware is already half a year old.  This little project officially began one Friday night back in June.  I spent a long time trying to figure out the name of the blog, and when it came to me it I knew I had to start it right away.

Back then, my focus was solely on special education in Delaware.  But once you open up a door, there can be many rooms.  I never in my wildest dreams thought I would write so much about the Delaware DOE, but there is a treasure trove of material to cover with them.  Almost every day recently.  I intend to focus on how our DOE is compared to the big picture in the country.  Delaware is it’s own bizarre little world at times, and it’s a lot like Cheers, where everybody knows your name.  But there are many outside forces that influence how things run in Delaware, more than I ever thought possible.  But they all filter through Governor Markell.

Special education is still the heart and soul of Exceptional Delaware.  Who would have thought special education would become an even bigger issue right after I started this?  They say timing is everything, and what with the Fed announcement about Delaware in late June, the IEP Task Force, changes to state law regarding special needs children and state assessments, and the virtual ignorance of special education by certain factions in Delaware, I picked a good time to start this adventure.

The next couple weeks will be VERY interesting.  The DOE is going to have a bad week next week.  And there will be fallout.  2015 is a year of Vision, because Vision told us that.  Everyone laughs at them, because they change their years so much.  But make no mistake about it, they did reach their goals for 2015.  The only problem is they aren’t the goals the public knows about.  Like any fine wine, certain things need to age a bit, but mark my words Rodel: I’m not done with you yet, not by a long shot!  But I am glad I caught your attention.

Thank you to all the readers: parents, teachers, legislators, citizens, DOE employees, and fellow bloggers.  This would be nothing without you!