How Much Authority Does The Delaware DOE Have?

I just found this in Delaware’s Title 14 which seems to grant the Delaware Department of Education a great deal of power and authority.

  • 1606 State Board waiver authority.

The Department of Education shall have the authority to waive or suspend provisions of the Delaware Code in the implementation of programs authorized under this chapter; provided however, that such waiver or suspension of a provision of the Code shall not result in an increased financial obligation to the State. The Department of Education is also authorized to waive or suspend its rules and regulations in order to maximize the projected impact of programs authorized under this chapter. The State Board shall be advised of any waiver of a regulation it must promulgate or approve, and may deny such waiver within 30 days or by the next regularly scheduled meeting, whichever is earlier, of the waiver’s approval by the Department. (69 Del. Laws, c. 464, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 180, § 93.)

Can anyone tell me if this has ever happened and what the hell it means?

2 thoughts on “How Much Authority Does The Delaware DOE Have?

  1. It means as long as you present a waiver to DOE you can do whatever you want. Example: If a regulation says first grade classes can only give 22 students to one teacher and a school has a class with 26. The school can submit a waiver and be okay.

    I know this has happened before.

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  2. In 1994 during the initial charter installation, Chapter 16 was added to Delaware Code to cover disciplinary action in public schools.

    “The purpose of this chapter to provide for the establishment of a statewide, comprehensive program to improve student discipline in the public elementary and secondary schools of the State. ”

    Specifically it provided for the treatment of pupils who are exhibiting discipline problems..

    Similar to Race To Top, the funding is being provided without a program in place. It was to be developed under very broad outlines. Therefore if there were to be a small law uncovered in the future that prohibited this from being enacted in full, this clause allows for the bypassing of that law.

    An example of why that is important, can be seen with the no tolerance law and the knife accompanying a birthday cake. Without the option to make waivers, that little kid would have to go to jail because of the way the law was written… Knife…. in school….= Jail…..

    So this waiver was included then. Fortunately the words “in this chapter” means it applies only to those articles which have the #1600 prefix in their numbers….

    Unlike your posting, the wording of the law in 1994 was different….

    The State Board of Education shall have the authority to waive or suspend provisions of the Delaware Code in the implementation of programs authorized under this chapter, provided, however, that such waiver or suspension of a provision of the Code shall not result in an increased financial obligation to the State of Delaware. The State Board of Education is also authorized to waive or suspend its rules and regulations in order to maximize the projected impact of programs authorized under this chapter.

    Then in 1997, the “Department of Education Act of 1997” amended Chapter 1, Title 14, Delaware Code by replacing the words “STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION” in the chapter heading with “DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION”…

    18 years ago.

    This bill established the Dept of Education and has the line often quoted after the hiring of the past head of Delaware’s DOE…..

    The administrator and head of the Department shall be the Secretary of Education, who shall be a graduate of an accredited college and shall have not less than 5 years’ experience in teaching and administration, with experience in each such category.

    In that bill all items previously under state board were transferred to our Superintendent.

    Furthermore, it makes the board subservient to the Director of Education… The State Board may reverse the decision of the Secretary <u<only if it decides, after consulting with legal counsel to the Department, that the Secretary’s decision was contrary to a specific state or federal law or regulation, was not supported by substantial evidence, or was arbitrary and capricious. In such cases, the State Board shall set forth in writing the legal basis for its conclusion;

    It is still a 1600 number which means the power given by this clause is still limited to Chapter 16. The DOE can’t just wiggle its nose and make teachers fly out the window…

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