DOE Shellshock! Delaware Educators, DO NOT LOOK AT DOE WEBSITE For Special Education Guidance!!!!

Thank you to the baffled soul who sent this to me.  Usually when I look up special education law for Delaware, I just go straight to Title 14.  I never look at the DOE website.  Silly me for assuming it would be the same as Delaware law….

An Independent Educational Evaluation is used when a parent may not agree with the school’s evaluation for a potential IEP request.  The parent has the right to ask for an independent evaluation at public expense.  Let me repeat those words again… at public expense.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) clearly spells this out. The information from Sec. 300.502 came from the Federal IDEA website found here: http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,regs,300,E,300%252E502,

Sec. 300.502 Independent educational evaluation.

(a) General.

(1) The parents of a child with a disability have the right under this part to obtain an independent educational evaluation of the child, subject to paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section.

(2) Each public agency must provide to parents, upon request for an independent educational evaluation, information about where an independent educational evaluation may be obtained, and the agency criteria applicable for independent educational evaluations as set forth in paragraph (e) of this section.

(3) For the purposes of this subpart–

(i) Independent educational evaluation means an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the public agency responsible for the education of the child in question; and

(ii) Public expense means that the public agency either pays for the full cost of the evaluation or ensures that the evaluation is otherwise provided at no cost to the parent, consistent with Sec. 300.103.

(b) Parent right to evaluation at public expense.

(1) A parent has the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the public agency, subject to the conditions in paragraphs (b)(2) through (4) of this section.

(2) If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation at public expense, the public agency must, without unnecessary delay, either–

(i) File a due process complaint to request a hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate; or

(ii) Ensure that an independent educational evaluation is provided at public expense, unless the agency demonstrates in a hearing pursuant to Sec. Sec. 300.507 through 300.513 that the evaluation obtained by the parent did not meet agency criteria.

(3) If the public agency files a due process complaint notice to request a hearing and the final decision is that the agency’s evaluation is appropriate, the parent still has the right to an independent educational evaluation, but not at public expense.

(4) If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation, the public agency may ask for the parent’s reason why he or she objects to the public evaluation. However, the public agency may not require the parent to provide an explanation and may not unreasonably delay either providing the independent educational evaluation at public expense or filing a due process complaint to request a due process hearing to defend the public evaluation.

(5) A parent is entitled to only one independent educational evaluation at public expense each time the public agency conducts an evaluation with which the parent disagrees.

(c) Parent-initiated evaluations. If the parent obtains an independent educational evaluation at public expense or shares with the public agency an evaluation obtained at private expense, the results of the evaluation–

(1) Must be considered by the public agency, if it meets agency criteria, in any decision made with respect to the provision of FAPE to the child; and

(2) May be presented by any party as evidence at a hearing on a due process complaint under subpart E of this part regarding that child.

(d) Requests for evaluations by hearing officers. If a hearing officer requests an independent educational evaluation as part of a hearing on a due process complaint, the cost of the evaluation must be at public expense.

(e) Agency criteria.

(1) If an independent educational evaluation is at public expense, the criteria under which the evaluation is obtained, including the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner, must be the same as the criteria that the public agency uses when it initiates an evaluation, to the extent those criteria are consistent with the parent’s right to an independent educational evaluation.

(2) Except for the criteria described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section, a public agency may not impose conditions or timelines related to obtaining an independent educational evaluation at public expense.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1415(b)(1) and (d)(2)(A) )

So this spells out very clearly what the Federal law states.  What about Delaware law? I looked in Title 14, section 926 for students with disabilities, which can be found here: http://regulations.delaware.gov/AdminCode/title14/900/926.pdf

2.0 Independent Educational Evaluation

2.1 General: The parents of a child with a disability have the right to obtain an independent educational evaluation

of the child subject to 2.4 through 2.9.

2.2 Each public agency shall provide to parents, upon request for an independent educational evaluation,

information about where an independent educational evaluation may be obtained, and the agency criteria

applicable for independent educational evaluations as set forth in 2.9.

2.3 Definitions for the purposes of this subpart:

“Independent Educational Evaluation” means an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not

employed by the public agency responsible for the education of the child in question.

“Public Expense” means that the public agency either pays for the full cost of the evaluation or ensures that

the evaluation is otherwise provided at no cost to the parent, consistent with 14 DE Admin. Code 923.3.0.

2.4 Parent right to evaluation at public expense; A parent has the right to an independent educational evaluation at

public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the public agency, subject to the

conditions in 2.4.1 through 2.5.

2.4.1 If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation at public expense, the public agency shall,

without unnecessary delay, either:

2.4.1.1 File a due process complaint to request a hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate; or

2.4.1.2 Ensure that an independent educational evaluation is provided at public expense, unless the

agency demonstrates in a hearing pursuant to 14 DE Admin. Code 926.7.0 through 926.13.0 that

the evaluation obtained by the parent did not meet agency criteria.

2.4.2 If the public agency files a due process complaint notice to request a hearing and the final decision is that

the agency’s evaluation is appropriate, the parent still has the right to an independent educational

evaluation, but not at public expense.

2.5 If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation, the public agency may ask for the parent’s reason

why he or she objects to the public evaluation. However, the public agency may not require the parent to

provide an explanation and may not unreasonably delay either providing the independent educational

evaluation at public expense or filing a due process complaint to request a due process hearing to defend the

public evaluation.

2.6 A parent is entitled to only one (1) independent educational evaluation at public expense each time the public

agency conducts an evaluation with which the parent disagrees.

2.7 Parent initiated evaluations: If the parent obtains an independent educational evaluation at public expense or

shares with the public agency an evaluation obtained at private expense, the results of the evaluation shall be

considered by the public agency, if it meets agency criteria, in any decision made with respect to the provision

of FAPE to the child; and may be presented by any party as evidence at a hearing on a due process complaint

under 14 DE Admin. Code 926 regarding that child.

2.8 Requests for evaluations by hearing officers. If a hearing panel or a single hearing officer appointed for

expedited appeals under 32.0 requests an independent educational evaluation as part of a hearing on a due

process complaint, the cost of the evaluation shall be at public expense.

2.9 Agency criteria: If an independent educational evaluation is at public expense, the criteria under which the

evaluation is obtained, including the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner, shall be

the same as the criteria that the public agency uses when it initiates an evaluation, to the extent those criteria

are consistent with the parent’s right to an independent educational evaluation.

2.10 Except for the criteria described in 2.9, a public agency may not impose conditions or timelines related to

obtaining an independent educational evaluation at public expense.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1415(b)(1) and (d)(2)(A); 14 Del.C. §3110)

So the Delaware state law on this is very similar to the federal IDEA law.  Not a heck of a lot of difference.  But look at this information found on the Delaware DOE website:

Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE)

Parents and guardians have the right to request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) for their student’s IEP team to review. An independent evaluation is appropriate if an IEE is likely to offer recommendations for a student that are different from his or her current IEP. Districts are not required to pay for an IEE and most-often this cost is paid for by the parent or guardian.

 
IEE requests must be made in writing to a district or charter school. Each district has their own process for honoring or denying this request. 

Did they really put this on their website?  Yes, they did.  http://www.doe.k12.de.us/Page/2337

I thought this was a joke when my friend sent it to me.  But no, this is real.  Now imagine a Delaware educator, without a lot of time in their day, looking to find quick information when a parent asked for an independent evaluation.  Instead of rifling through Title 14, which can be a chore in itself unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, they decide to check out the DOE website.  And they find this, and go by it.  They contact the student’s parent, or wait for an IEP meeting, and tell them “Hey, you can get an independent evaluation, but you have to pay for it.”  That school is now in violation of Federal IDEA law and Delaware law.  I will be going through their website (cause it doesn’t look like they do) and find out if there is more of this foolishness.  And in case they change the page tomorrow based on this find:

DOESnafu

I am beginning to understand why special education is considered to be horrible in Delaware.  If this is the guidance our Department of Education gives our schools and districts…  But yet if schools don’t adhere to their standards, they are labeled and shamed.  I have to wonder when this Department is ever going to learn.  Do they care?  I have to wonder.  As long as they continue to treat special education as something less than what it is and deny parents one of the cornerstones of state and federal law, these children will suffer.  And they do.

I urge all Delaware educators, in every single traditional school district, to NOT look at the DOE website at all for special education law.  Go to Google, and take the time to learn Title 14. Many new laws are now enacted stemming from the IEP Task Force.  As well, Google IDEA and know that like the back of your hand!

The Delaware Department of Education is the one giving training to school districts?  They want all our students to have “standards-based” IEPs when they have no clue about some of the fundamental parts of IDEA law?

The Complete Unembargoed Delaware Smarter Balanced Assessment Results

10% Proficiency in Math for Students With Disabilities

15% in English/Language Arts for Students With Disabilities

21% in Math for low-income students

35% in English/Language Arts for low-income students

22% in Math for African-American students

36% in English/Language Arts for African-American students

Delaware Governor Jack Markell: “Smarter Balanced is the best test Delaware ever made.”

Delaware High School juniors basically said “This test really doesn’t mean much, so whatever.”  God bless them!

Read the results and if you haven’t already, REFUSE THE TEST for your child.  Send the letter tomorrow.  It’s the only way they will truly understand…

Delaware State Board of Education Pulls Regulation 103 As Action Item For October Meeting

Finally! Something proactive! The Delaware State Board of Education just announced they will not be acting on Regulation 103 in their October State Board meeting.  What remains to be seen is if the Delaware Department of Education will submit it by their October 31st deadline to the United States Department of Education.  This is a good thing.  I can’t wait for the 148th General Assembly gets back in January.  They really need to do a top-down review of all regulations and the entire Title 14 in our Delaware law.  But parents won this one today, along with teachers, organizations, legislators, and even our own State Board of Education.  This could be the sea-change Delaware needs!

Roughly 10% Of Special Education Students In Delaware Are “Proficient” On Smarter Balanced

I just heard roughly 10% of students with disabilities in Delaware were rated as proficient in Delaware for the Smarter Balanced Assessment administered last Spring.  I wish to God this test would just disappear.  Can you imagine the other 90% of these children’s parents getting the results of this assessment.  I really hope they strongly reconsider having their child take Smarter Balanced next year.  10%…

I feel a deep sadness for these children.  I picture them struggling on this test, with fewer worthwhile accommodations than they had on the prior DCAS state assessment.  The weeks they spent taking this horrible, horrible test.  This is a wake-up call for special needs parents.  Our children are more than ten scores.  I don’t care what their proficiency rate is.  They are 100% awesome!

When I have official numbers, I will update this.

DOE’s Own Accountability Framework Working Group Slams Regulation 103 At State Board of Education Meeting

At the State Board of Education meeting today, it was a packed house as several public comments were given in opposition to Regulation 103.  The Delaware State Educators Association slammed it, the Red Clay Educators Association slammed it, Delaware PTA slammed it, I slammed it, and parents slammed it.  One parent slammed DOE’s Smarter Balanced Assessment and their obsession with proficiency.  In my public comment, I advised the DOE and State Board of Education of the state and federal complaints I filed against them in the last week.  I could have gone on, but the clock ran out. State Rep. John Kowalko lambasted the State Board of Education on their regulatory practices when the General Assembly is not in session and vowed to fight DOE and the State Board on these matters.

One parent was denied the chance to speak.  Because of the huge crowd, and a regulation stating you must sign up for public comment 15 minutes prior to the meeting, several people were told they couldn’t speak.  Board President Dr. Teri Quinn Gray did give one last chance to sign up for public comment, but the sign-up sheet was at the Board table, not in the hallway like it usually is (even way after the 15 minute “regulation” mark).  After all the comments ended, I advised Dr. Gray there was one more speaker who didn’t hear her “last chance” comment.  Dr. Gray refused to let the parent give public comment.  This parent is going to be sending me her public comment today and I will post it on here.

The ParentStrike press conference went well.  NBC Philadelphia and reporter Tim Furlong were there, and will be airing a segment during their 5pm broadcast.  The News Journal, Dover Post, and others were in attendance between the Press Conference and the State Board meeting as well.   I spoke, as did Rep. Kowalko, State Senator Dave Lawson, and RCEA President Mike Matthews.  I had to leave the State Board of Education early to pick my son up from school, but I will be getting updates on their discussion of Regulation 103 and the Smarter Balanced Assessment results for all the sub-groups.

Any goodwill the Delaware DOE had is quickly evaporating as no one seems to be taking their side anymore.  The House of Cards has collapsed, but I did wish departing Secretary of Education Mark Murphy good luck in his future endeavors, as did others.  He was given a gift by the State Board so he could “write it all down”, which if I had to guess would be a future book???? Please don’t call it “Murphy’s Law” Mark…that would be too much…

Oh yeah, what about the Accountability Framework Working Group, otherwise known as AFWG?  Apparently, the notes from their meetings I published a few weeks ago, did not show the true story about what went on during these meetings.  It wasn’t all harmony and agreement like the minutes suggest.  DSEA member of the group, Deb Stevens, gave public comment.  She spoke as the representative for all of the non-DOE members of the group.  She indicated that this coalition from the AFWG wants the State Board of Education to defer a ruling on this until it can be flushed out even further and does not believe it is a final product at all and needs a lot of work.

I did find out former US DOE employee Deborah Delisle apparently sent a letter to the Delaware DOE indicating the participation rate MUST be used on the ESEA mandated school report card as a “consequence”, although there is nothing on the US DOE or Delaware DOE website with this letter or language.  I just emailed Penny Schwinn for a copy of this letter.  Even if it is in there, it is not regulation and the Delaware DOE is in way obligated to enforce a simple warning.

Dear Secretary Arne Duncan Letter, Federal and State Complaints Against DOE & State Board Revealed

Today is Parent Strike!  I will be holding a press conference shortly in front of Legislative Hall.  It could be five people, or it could be a hundred.  Either way a message will be sent and it will be one the Delaware Department of Education will NEVER forget.  I found their Achilles heel, actually, many of them once I knew what to do.  For some of this, it took weeks of culminating information.  For others, it was just a matter of attending a meeting.  It is past time the Delaware DOE was held accountable for THEIR actions.  They know this is coming, and they have not reached out once to explain anything.

It is not my intention to demolish the DOE.  It is my intention for them to want to change their actions.

In the below document, I sent an email to United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan earlier this morning.  For clarity purposes, SEA stands for State Educational Agency, or what we all refer to in Delaware, as the DOE.  LEA stands for Local Educational Agency, commonly known as school districts or an individual charter school.

So what are the complaints I filed against the Delaware Department of Education, the State Board of Education and Executive Director of the State Board of Education Donna Johnson?

Delaware Department of Education:

It is my contention for the following: Delaware DOE failed to adequately provide for public comment on Delaware’s ESEA Flexibility Renewal in March of 2015- the DOE released a draft of their ESEA waiver to the public.  The DOE failed to include the “participation rate” category in the draft they released to the public even though it was already an approved category for the Delaware School Success Framework by the private, non-public Accountability Framework Working Group.  The DOE put it in their final draft on 3/31/2015 without any public comment on this portion.  This was, in my opinion, done deliberately to prevent support for House Bill 50, the opt-out legislation which was stirring a lot of public debate in March of 2015.

Complaint filed with the US Department of Education Office of Inspector General on 9/16/15, Complaint filed with Delaware Department of Justice on 9/10/15

It is my contention the Delaware Department of Education has failed to monitor crucial special education practices in respect to Delaware charter schools and a continued practice of denied Individualized Education Programs.  Because of the very low n number in relation to school accountability with standardized test scores, it has allowed Delaware charter schools to keep a low number of special education students.  All too often, many students are either expelled or counseled out from the charter school, or the parents do not return the child to the charter school the next school year.  The Delaware DOE is very much aware of these issues as I met with the Director of the Exceptional Children Resources Group last year and she advised me there is no method by which the DOE can keep track of these instances and they will not because the “due process system is more than fair”.  The DOE has allowed this environment to continue without any repercussions for anyone except the aggrieved student and their families.  All too often, parents are forced to seek outside counsel to resolve issues which tends to resolve itself in a mediation, but the damage has already been done for the student with disabilities.

Complaint filed with the US DOE Office of Civil Rights on 9/16/15

The Delaware DOE charged $300 for a Freedom of Information Act request I submitted on 9/10/15.  The request was for an email search for a few people at Delaware DOE in the past month to another state agency.  It is my contention they failed to provide a list of all charges for the request.  They claimed DTI is the one charging the costs for the email search, which is correct, but they did not provide a breakdown of any other charges for the FOIA. They stated in email they would not continue with the request until I paid $300 for the DTI search.  As well, I asked if their public information officer could simply ask the individuals for the emails and I received no response to this.  This is after the DOJ already issued a legal opinion on another FOIA matter and stated the DOE failed to adequately follow this part of state law.

Complaint filed with the Delaware Department of Justice on 9/11/15

Delaware State Board of Education:

By approving an ESEA flexibility renewal for submission to the US DOE without public comment on a crucial section, the State Board, as directed by their Executive Director Donna Johnson, approved a non-transparent and illegal ESEA draft because they duped the public by leaving out crucial parts, similar to the DOE complaint

Complaint filed with the Delaware Department of Justice on 9/10/15

Delaware Department of Education AND Delaware State Board of Education:

I attended part of the State Board of Education Retreat on Monday, September 14th.  This was a public meeting, announced by the State Board of Education on their website and also on the Public Meeting Calendar on the state website.  I was the only member of the public in attendance at this meeting.  As the Delaware Department of Education was about to present information on the state assessment, Smarter Balanced Assessment, I openly asked if there was any embargoed information.  State Board of Education Executive Director Donna Johnson said “No, this is a public meeting.”

During a presentation by the head of instruction, Dr. Michael Watson, he was going through a slide show, and as he was going to the next one, he told me “This is embargoed information.”  But he presented it anyways, at a public meeting.  Later on in the afternoon, as the DOE and State Board were about to discuss information on the Smarter Balanced results, Donna Johnson, Shana Young (DOE) and Dr. Penny Schwinn (DOE) kept looking at me, whispering, and announced they would not be showing some information but it would be sent to the State Board members.  Even later, DOE employee Ryan Reyna advised of a slide with “embargoed” information concerning Smarter Balanced Assessment results for sub-groups.  It is my contention the State Board of Education and the Delaware DOE conspired to hold information they would have otherwise shown if I was not present, and when they did present information that was “embargoed”, they attempted to persuade me to not reveal it.  This is not in the spirit of an “open meeting” and violates FOIA in my opinion.  I am requesting a legal opinion on this matter.

Complaint filed with the Delaware Department of Justice on 9/17/15

State Board of Education President Dr. Teri Quinn Gray:

In her capacity as President of the State Board of Education, Dr. Gray is in a position of making education decisions for the students of Delaware.  Frequently, the Delaware Department of Education contracts or pays certain vendors to provide information to the Delaware State Board of Education to enact policy or regulatory changes.  One such vendor is the U.S. Education Delivery Institute.  Dr. Gray sits on the board of that company as well.  This company has received $345,218.50 from the DOE since FY2011 without any public acknowledgment from Dr. Gray of her capacity on this board.  This is a conflict of interest, both morally and financial.

Complaint filed with the Delaware Department of Justice on 9/17/15

State Board of Education Executive Director Donna Johnson:

In her capacity as a State of Delaware employee and the Executive Director of the State Board of Education, Donna Johnson emailed personal student information  as well as medical information about the student to a person who did not need to know this and asked this person to intervene instead of the local school district authority, she also emailed medical information about a Delaware Department of Education employee to the same person.  Both of these, in my opinion, are clear and blatant violations of FERPA and HIPAA laws.  The person she emailed this information to is myself.  As well, through personal email, Donna Johnson sent official state business to the same individual, and it is my contention, she sometimes conveyed false information, such as suggesting two members of the Christina School Board reported their own district to the Delaware State Auditor resulting in an official investigation by the State Auditor’s office.  The State Auditor’s office publicly stated there is no investigative audit going on with the Christina School District.  It is my contention Donna Johnson used this false information in an attempt to publicly ridicule and demean a traditional school district which had failed in two referendum attempts and was in the midst of internal tension due to a leave of absence of their Superintendent.  Both board members openly informed me they never made a call to the State Board of Education about a request for an investigative audit against the school district they serve.  In addition, through various blog commenter handles, Donna Johnson attempted to sway public policy using pseudonyms and aliases while she was privy to information the public did not know.

Complaint filed with Delaware Department of Justice on 9/10/15.

So there you have it.  And I will say this now, every single time the Delaware Department of Education, the State Board of Education, or any employee violates FOIA, or any other single law in this state, I will report them.  I urge every single citizen in the state to do the same.  They wanted accountability.  I just hope they are able to give the same rigor and grit during the coming months, when they have to answer for all this, that they expect out of Delaware students and teachers.  This is Delaware education, the sides the public doesn’t see.  And it is just beginning…

Below is just part of the formal complaints issued with the Delaware Department of Justice.

The gross hypocrisy of educational funding

fixdeldoe

The gross hypocrisy of educational funding

There is no greater hypocrisy in politics than the conversation surrounding school reform. The only truth in education is this – children who emerge from literate environments and enter schools where the home school connection is strong and vibrant perform better on nearly every available metric and measuring tools the data robots can throw our way. Yet Delaware (and the rest of the country) ignores that and pretends that nothing can be done, so we ignore the home school connection, and so it withers and dies, and the children drop off the vine in increasing numbers, unprepared for a life of college or career readiness.

As a veteran teacher, I know with complete certainty that parents who read with their children and who support our academic and behavioral expectations will make my task as an educator extremely efficient.

So why do we waste our…

View original post 389 more words

Getting Ready For A Parent Strike……

kavips

AGENDA……

A.  Type out letter to hand to my children’s Principal’s secretaries tomorrow while school is in session….

Dear Principal and other Education Officers.

Under the authority of HB50, vetoed by the governor but buttressed by statements that it only codifies rights we already have, I am withdrawing my child from being forced to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment.   As his parent, I hereby opt my children out from taking this test…. 

Thank you,

B.   Type up email telling all on my email list the reasons I have chosen to opt out and that I hope for the sake of their children that they do the same…… Then “send to all”…..

C.   Iron a red blouse and a red shirt with red tie to wear tomorrow….

D..  Print up flyers to hand out in my neighborhood tomorrow evening as I walk to all the homes with children.

View original post 509 more words