Senate Bill 33, sponsored by Delaware State Senator Nicole Poore, was tabled today in the Delaware Senate. This legislation came about due to the hard work of 24 individuals on the IEP Task Force. How does a bill, which passed through the Senate Education Committee, become LOT (left on table) when it is presented to the Senate? Two words: Kendall Massett. The director of the Delaware Charter Schools Network herself.
After the bill went through the Senate Education Committee with no unfavorable votes, with an amendment to clear up some of the language, Massett got involved and demanded the amendment to the bill be put in Title 31, which is the part of Delaware code covering welfare. Why she was insistent on this being put there I can’t fathom because an IEP is an education issue which would belong in Title 14. Unfortunately with the new General Assembly website, amendments to bills can’t be read.
Apparently, she didn’t like the fact that charter schools would be required to have one employee from each charter school getting specialized training from the Delaware Department of Education on the legal rules for Individualized Education Programs as well as access to resources available in helping students with disabilities. Having attended every single one of the IEP Task Force meetings, I can say the subject of charter schools came up more than once. I am not saying ALL charter schools, but many don’t have a clue in how to handle special education. Many children have been denied IEPs at Delaware charters, “counseled out”, or denied entrance to charters because parents were told by charter school officials they don’t have the “resources” to help those children.
Any time this charter lobbyist gets her hooks into legislators, bills get screwed up in the General Assembly. I would think the charters would want the extra assistance instead of paying out extra costs to special education attorneys and education funds for students. But no, they want traditional schools to have this caveat as well. Here’s a news flash Kendall: traditional schools can’t counsel students out and they can’t say “we can’t take your child”. So if you don’t like the charters getting some heat, tell all your charters to do their job!
Do you want to take a wild guess why the task force didn’t include any charter school representatives? Maybe it’s because the Delaware DOE picked the task force with approval from the legislators involved and knew who would be able to give expert advice on special education in Delaware schools. When the DOE doesn’t think charters can give experts on a task force, you know something has to be seriously wrong. If it was such a concern of yours during the task force, how come you didn’t show up to any meetings Kendall? And now you want to stick your nose into a special education bill that is meant to help these disadvantaged students? Just because your beloved charters got called out on actions they have themselves brought upon themselves for years?
Delaware legislators: this charter lobbyist is wielding WAY too much influence on your decisions for the good of ALL Delaware children. The charter problem in this state is getting worse by the day, and many of you will do nothing but defend these schools and the money behind them. You have allowed them to operate under very little scrutiny and when they are caught, you grow silent. I am not saying ALL charters or ALL legislators. But we all know who they are and far too many of you could care less. As long as you keep the Governor happy you are content with segregation, discrimination and denial of services. And while all this is going on, traditional schools are losing funding and resources while the DOE pumps money into companies that provide all these corporate education reform “services” and then turn around and fund other companies for more charters. Wake up! It’s seconds before midnight and you are still operating under the belief that charters are the next great thing.
Senators Brian Bushweller and Greg Lavelle must have received a mouthful from Kendall on this because they were the ones who initiated the discussion today that got this bill tabled. In a Delawareonline article today, Bushweller stated the fact that charters weren’t represented on the task force was “very disappointing”. And Lavelle, don’t even get me started. He said he wasn’t aware of the amendment on the bill, but his wife was on the IEP Task Force. This bill was introduced in January. The IEP Task Force ran from September to December. Did Bushweller or Lavelle, both of which voted yes for Senate Concurrent Resolution #63 in the 147th General Assembly which created the task force, even bother to read the recommendations or listen to the digital audio recordings from the task force?
It is a shameful day in Delaware when legislation that can and will help special needs students is tabled because the charter lobbyist decided she didn’t like some wording. Shame on those who sided with her during discussion of this important bill. Once again, everything has to be about the charters in Delaware. Enough.
To read about Delawareonline’s take on this, which included NO mention whatsoever of the sneaky, crafty maneuvering of Kendall Massett, please go to: