The Delaware DOE is filled with liars with the sole purpose of misleading the public. When things like “standards-based IEPs” are introduced, they misinform the public by saying things like “they aren’t about the Common Core” when in reality they are. I received an email today which was very troubling and confirms my suspicions about Delaware’s standards-based IEPs. This is what was contained in the email:
Where is this “required”? My child has an IEP. How come I received no notice from PIC on this meeting? The email was originally sent to parents with autistic children. Where is the state-wide collaboration? Does it even exist? If you didn’t know, PIC is a requirement of Federal IDEA law that each state has a parent group. And guess who gives them their funding? The Delaware DOE!
When I first heard about Standards-Based IEPs, many folks told me I was overreacting and that they were not based on the Common Core and the state assessment. Some said it was a good thing. The Exceptional Children Resources Group, led by Maryann Mieczkowski, said they are not solely based on the Common Core and the Smarter Balanced Assessment. I actually wrote about this conversation in an article on the November 20th IEP Task Force meeting.
Celestin said DOE is offering training and coaching. Denn asked if this is required for districts to implement. She said standards-based IEPs are not required but it is about standards not standardized. She said parents and IEP teams have struggles with implementing these kinds of IEPs because they need to help students close achievement gaps. She said teachers are struggling with this and stressed it is not required. (as Steve Newton mentioned in an article on these IEPs, the measurement for it is the “fidelity” component of the grant in getting schools trained on it). She did say through compliance monitoring in the future they will look at things that are part of standards-based IEPs in terms of students needs so they will hold IEPs to a higher standard and best practices. Matt Denn said this isn’t a subject for the IEP Task Force report, but he is hesitant to make recommendations for something that isn’t required.
I raised my hand to speak again, and Matt Denn jokingly said something about “or if anyone wants to give second public comment”. I went up and responded to Sarah’s comment. I advised I went over the DOE presentation to the GACEC (Gov. Adv. Council For Except. Children), and it absolutely is tying IEPs into standards based on “curriculum” which is code word for those who may not know what Common Core is. I advised the word “rigor” is used in the document which is used by Common Core proponents all the time. I said rigor is not a word parents like, especially special needs parents, because the way it is used would indicate students with disabilities need to try harder to get to a regular students level, which completely invalidates the spirit of IDEA.
My commentary on tonight’s meeting: Interesting stuff with these transition services coming in. All of them said “we need more funding”. In regards to comments made by DOE employees, I know these folks work very hard at their jobs, and for that, they have my respect. But if Delaware holds such a higher standard for IEPs, why did you need Federal intervention in Special Education? Why would you hold a higher standard for something that isn’t even legally required? Cause you like what you have created? If they look at best practice, why the hell won’t they look at IEP denials? Who are they trying to protect? (I already know the answer to that, and they know I know but they don’t care) Sorry Sarah, you can say whatever you want, but any presentation that has the word “rigor” in it, which is one of those words that make opponents of common core flip out, is not going to work for me and many other special needs parents.
I went to go back and listen to the audio recording of this meeting, but the audio recording was cut short and is not able to be downloaded. Many of the audios from this task force were shortened or aren’t downloadable. But I did recall the Exceptional Children Resources Group giving a presentation on standards-based IEPs to the Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens. There was a whole section on this presentation on “de-bunking the myths about standards-based IEPs”. The main thrust of this section was “The CCSS (Common Core State Standards) are not a menu for special educators to pick and write from,” and “standards-based IEPs focus on the prioritized skills needed for students with disabilities to have ACCESS to the same standards as non-disabled peers.”
They already have access to the state standards. It’s called going to public school in Delaware. I have to admit, with all the attention I’ve given to the parent opt-out movement in Delaware, I let this one slip by.
Here’s the facts: Standards-based IEPs are not written in IDEA regulation nor are they written anywhere in Delaware state code. Matt Denn, the Chair of the IEP Task Force didn’t even want to include standards-based IEPs in the Final Report for this very reason. There is absolutely nothing written into Senate Bill 33, the legislation coming out of the IEP Task Force about them either.
The standards-based IEP in Delaware is turning into something every parent of a child on an IEP needs to be very afraid of. It is all designed to address the Smarter Balanced Assessment when all the catchy phrases and jargon come out of the wash. Last Summer, U.S. Senators blasted U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan over Federal intrusion with IDEA and special education but nothing came out of it.