I was told last week by Alison May, the Public Information Officer for the Delaware Department of Education, that any change in teacher evaluation is considered a minor modification for Delaware charter schools. If this is the case, why are there no applications shown online? The DOE website clearly lists applications for other major and minor modifications, but for Freire and the Wilmington Charter Collaborative (EastSide, Prestige, Kuumba, & Thomas Edison), it does not show any of these. At least not for the change in teacher evaluation.
The state law is very unclear about this aspect in relation to charter schools. The code states all schools must use DPAS-II unless they have been otherwise approved for a different teacher evaluation system. A minor modification is a change in school practices that does not go against their charter. Since the DOE doesn’t list Freire’s actual charter, it is very hard to see if this meets the criteria for a minor or major modification. And still, the DOE needs to be putting any application, from any school or district, up on their website. But Freire seems to get a pass for some reason as their original application is not listed on the Delaware Charter Schools page on the DOE website.
So the unanswered question is this: Can Mark Murphy, in one of his last acts as Delaware Secretary of Education (his last official day is September 30th), approve an alternate evaluation system for Freire without consent from the State Board of Education? I would assume a teacher evaluation part of a Delaware charter school would be embedded in their actual charter. And was the approval for the Wilmington Charter Collaborative legal as well? If anyone has the answers to this, with actual state law to prove it, please let me know. I have searched extensively for this but I am unable to find it. And it’s not like the DOE is actually being proactive and forthcoming with information these days, unless it’s to cover their own ass. And the even bigger question, if it is proven this is a minor modification, should it be considered a major modification?