Delaware Senate Bill 72 Would Prevent Another Mark Murphy As Secretary Of Education

Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy

Delaware Senator Bryan Townsend is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 72 in Delaware.  This bill would change the qualifications for the Delaware Secretary of Education.  Had this been law four years ago, Mark Murphy would not have qualified.  I believe the Delaware legislators are way past the point where they are sick of the Delaware Department of Education and their shenanigans.

Delaware IEP Task Force Legislation To Be Heard At House Education Committee Tomorrow

IEP Task Force

Senate Bill 33, sponsored by Delaware Senator Nicole Poore, will be heard in the Delaware House Education Committee tomorrow at 2:30pm at Legislative Hall in Dover.  While this bill is not nearly as controversial as House Bill 50, there is some controversy surrounding it.  Just search Senate Bill 33 on this blog for past articles.  From the website which thankfully has fixed the linking issues since they redesigned the site last month:

Chamber: House

Chairman: Jaques

Location/Room: House Chamber

Date/Time: 04/29/2015 02:30:00 PM

Revision Num:


Sponsor : Poore

Sponsor : Hudson

Sponsor : M. Smith


Meeting Minutes:

***UPDATED*** Delaware DOE Looking At 5 More Years Of Priority Schools ***WRONG***

Delaware Priority Schools

***UPDATED*** Ignore the below comments I made based on this public notice.  School Improvement Grants, otherwise known as SIG funds, are grants given to schools that may or may already be in a priority school status.  The waiver Penny Schwinn is requesting is to have the availability of these funds extended from 2016 until 2020.  Schools actually request these, as can be seen on this list of schools that have applied for SIG funds in the past.  Yes, I do correct mistakes!

I just found this on the DOE website while trying to find other information:


Notice is hereby given, that the Delaware Department of Education (Department) has posted the following for comment:

An application for Title I, 1003(g) School Improvement Grant funds, which can be found here, will be submitted to the US Department of Education on April 15, 2015.  The application will include the waiver shown below.  The Delaware Department of Education will accept comment on this request through May 15, 2015. All comments received on the request will be forwarded to the US Department of Education through May 15, 2015. 

The State requests the following waiver:


  • In order to extend the period of availability beyond September 30, 2016, waive section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. § 1225(b)) to extend the period of availability of FY 2014 school improvement funds for the SEA and all of its LEAs to September 30, 2020.


Public comment regarding the waiver request mentioned above can be submitted to: Penny Schwinn, Chief Accountability and Performance Officer, Accountability, Assessment, Performance Management and Evaluation, Telephone (302) 735-4090; FAX: (302) 739-3092; Email:

If I were a parent or educator in any low-income school that receives Title I funding, I would send an email of opposition to Penny Schwinn as soon as possible.  Because this is not about the existing priority schools but using funds to create new ones.  This was at the very bottom of Schwinn’s link to the application:

A “new award” is defined as an award of SIG funds to an LEA for a school that the LEA was not previously approved to serve with SIG funds in the school year for which funds are being awarded—in this case, the 2015–2016 school year. New awards may be made with the FY 2014 funds or any remaining SIG funds not already committed to grants made in earlier competitions.

Delaware House Education Committee Minutes From 4/22/15, House Bill 50 Parent Opt-Out

House Bill 50, Parental Opt-Out of Standardized Testing

The below are the minutes from the 4/22/15 meeting of the Delaware House Education Committee.  The bulk of the meeting was in regards to House Bill 50, the parent opt-out legislation.  Also included are public letters of comment, remarks from DSEA, Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy, and University of Delaware Professor Farley-Ripple.

GACEC Sells Delaware Special Education Students Down The River In Letter Against House Bill 50 **Updated With My Response to the GACEC**

House Bill 50, Parental Opt-Out of Standardized Testing

The Delaware Governor’s Advisory Committee for Exceptional Citizens wrote a letter in strong objection to House Bill 50.  This is a group designed for the sole purpose of improving the lives for Delaware’s citizens with disabilities, including students.  It is obvious by the tone and nature of this letter, this group does not promote parent rights and thinks all students should be tested with the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  I shouldn’t be surprised, this is a group funded by the state.

A year ago, the first time I spoke at a Delaware State Board of Education meeting, I was approached by a member of this committee to come to their meetings and that I was a strong advocate for children of special needs.  I went to a couple of their meetings and didn’t really like some of the overall tones of some of the individuals there, especially their subgroup looking at legislation.  I found it to be very condescending and arrogant that the leader of this subgroup shot down some legislative ideas I had without even bothering to look at them.  Had I joined this group, I would not have been able to write as much as I do.

I am very disappointed at this group’s stance on parent opt-out.  I have to wonder how many parents who have actually opted out their children, especially those with disabilities, they reached out to.

I blew holes through the whole Federal 95% rule last week, so they can’t say that.  The whole assessment inventory thing was designed by Markell and Jaques to distract parents from the Smarter Balanced Assessment which would never be considered by them to be removed as a horrible test.  The validity of the test has already been undermined because it was written by the same company that administers it along with many other corporate education reformers.  Their concerns with who opts out is inconsistent, one minute they talk about special ed and minorities but in the next they talk about “high-achievers”.  This is just another group in Delaware that will believe anything the governor and the DOE throws their way, and it’s obvious they rely on the News Journal for their information which is very frightening.

GACEC has me on their email list.  Very interesting how they didn’t send this out to all the folks in Delaware on this list.  So much for transparency.  This is exactly why I don’t join groups like this.  Where was this group when the DOE was giving a presentation to the State Board of Education on Smarter Balanced updates two weeks ago?  The one where their report showed severe issues of accommodations working which causes hours of wait time for students with disabilities?  The one where Penny Schwinn didn’t even talk about it?  The News Journal, WDDE and WHYY/Newsworks were there, but they didn’t report on this.  the only one that did was me.  Because parents have a right to know about things like this.  The things no one else will report.  Which is why I will NEVER put myself in a position where I cannot get the truth out to people.

Governor Markell uses groups like this to say “We reached out to stakeholders,” while they endorse his agendas without reaching out to the true stakeholders.  Just take a look at the members of groups like this and you can see the cross-pollination of so many of them on different groups, councils, committees, and yes, even state Departments.  Perhaps some energy should be going into examining how effective our taxpayer dollars are being used with groups like this who won’t support parents when they need them the most.

I sent the following email to the GACEC minutes ago:

Members of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens,

I’m glad this was sent out today so I could respond on another issue which was not communicated to everyone on this email list concerning a topic of great conversation.  The GACEC issued a letter to the 148th General Assembly concerning House Bill 50, the parent opt-out bill.  I found this letter to be very slanted, with information that was not truly researched.  It showed a clear bias against parents who opt their children out, especially those with disabilities.

I did not see any representation from the GACEC at the Delaware PTA Parent Opt-Out Town Halls, the House Education Committee meeting on this legislation, the Delaware State Board of Education meeting a couple weeks ago where they reported on severe accommodation issues for students with disabilities, or actively seek out parents who have opted their children out to find out why.

This group is meant to stand for citizens with disabilities, not to continue to perpetuate the lies and agendas of a corrupt Governor and HIS Department of Education.  This is unacceptable from the council, and I am very sad for the students with disabilities, as well as other students, who are forced to take a test that is already being used for issues that were never approved by the General Assembly or even the Department of Education.

I hope you will reconsider your stance using the News Journal as anecdotal evidence on an issue that deserves more thought and consideration.  I have posted an article on this, which you can read here, which will include this email as well.

Kevin Ohlandt

An Inside Look At AIR: The Most Terrifying Company In Education Reform

American Institutes for Research

The scariest company making millions of dollars from the Delaware Department of Education is not who you would think.  It’s not Pearson, or Amplify, or even the Rodel Foundation.  It is a company which has been a part of education policy longer than Common Core was even an idea.  This company sowed the seeds for No Child Left Behind and they even helped to tear down one of Bill Gates original education reform agendas.  This company is American Institutes for Research, otherwise known as AIR.

AIR is the contracted vendor to create and distribute the Smarter Balanced Assessment, the state standardized assessment in Delaware.  But they have been around in Delaware since long before this.  They were also the testing vendor for the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS) in Delaware.  To date AIR received over $35 million dollars from the Delaware DOE as per Delaware Online Checkbook.  How did Delaware bargain students to such a company?