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

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

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

  1. When I heard about this, I thought it was a joke. Who, exactly, is on this advisory council? Are there special education teachers, students, and parents on this? Oh, wait. This is a group that was cherry-picked by Markell to market his agenda. What a facade!

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  2. It’s the Governors Council. Say no more. Mr. Overmiller and his group just declared that the state has the right to supersede a parent. He needs to step down for such shallow logic. It is one thing to believe that SBAC delivers value. Good people can disagaree all day long about that, but to extend that logic to individual families and their decision making is INSANE. His reasoning if just ginning up fears. Parents have the right already, this bill MERELY codifies it.

    Send that weak ass, crappy letter to Christina, Red Clay and Capital why don’t ya? We already did for our districts what HB 50 seeks to do for the state: TELL PARENTS WE VALUE THEM AND THEIR DECISIONS.

    GACEC needs new leadership.

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