Did The State Board Of Education Break The Law By Not Voting On The WEIC Redistricting Plan?

Hourglass

If the State Board does not approve the plan as submitted by the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, it shall notify the chairperson of the Commission in writing, give reasons why the plan was not approved, and allow the Commission to resubmit the plan within 60 days of the chairperson receiving the notice of denial. -Senate Bill 122, 148th General Assembly

Yesterday, the Delaware State Board of Education declined to even vote on the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission redistricting final plan.  By doing so, they may have violated the letter of the law determined by Senate Bill 122.  They voted unanimously to amend their motion to vote on the plan and kicked the plan back to WEIC.  They are going to draft their questions and concerns and will present this to WEIC prior to the end of January.  The problem with the law comes when they DO vote on the plan.  If it is after January 31st, they have violated the sixty day window for a response from WEIC if they deny the plan because they have to act on it by March 31st, 2016.  The Delaware State Board of Education clearly doesn’t understand the legal process for this plan, even though the Delaware Department of Education has three Deputy Attorney Generals from the Delaware Department of Justice.

They are not sending a letter of denial, they are sending a letter addressing concerns and questions about the plan.  They should have actually voted on the plan as is, and then the sixty day window would have kicked in.  Unless the State Board of Education puts an agenda on the Delaware Public Meeting Calendar seven days prior to a meeting where they will vote on the plan, which would have to be by January 24th, this Sunday, they have violated the law twice: first by not taking action on the plan prior to the sixty-day window, and then by not putting up an agenda for a public meeting seven days prior to the meeting.  WEIC is not obligated in any way whatsoever to honor the State Board of Education’s request for information.  In fact, by allowing the State Board to perform in this illegal fashion, it could land them in violation as well.  The clock is ticking…tick-tock, tick-tock…

Exceptional Winterfest Weekend: No Holds Barred Education Forum!!!!

Blizzard2016

Since the snowmageddon is upon us, I thought this might be a good time to hold the very first Exceptional Winterfest Weekend.  This event will be going on ALL weekend long during the Blizzard of 2016.  Below are the links to discuss education issues.  I want ALL sides of the issues to feel welcome and this will be no holds barred.  I encourage everyone to log in as their real name.  I would avoid personal attacks for all.  I would comment on this thread now to avoid your account going into moderation.  If my power goes out, I won’t be able to moderate comments and release them if you are a first-time user.  I would ask that if you are an elected official to send comments through your state email address to avoid any potential impersonations of elected officials.

I would love to see Governor Markell, Paul Herdman, Earl Jaques, David Sokola, Kendall Massett, Donna Johnson, Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, Chris Ruszkwoski, and Dr. Steven Godowsky come on over and comment.  If any of you have the means to contact them, please invite them to this one of a kind chance to really get to the heart of the issues.

My hope is that by the end of this weekend, if this experiment doesn’t fail miserably, that maybe we can reach consensus on some of these issues in Delaware education.  We are not going to agree on everything, but maybe we can understand the different sides and have more respect for each other’s opinions when all is said and done.  There is no better time than a blizzard to do this, as most of us will be in our homes with our loved ones.

These are the topics, all of which will be under the title of this blog:

Bullying

Charter Schools

Common Core

Corporate Education Reform

Delaware DOE/State Board of Education

Delaware Teachers

Early Childhood Education/Kindergarten

Legislation in Education/General Assembly

Low-Income/Poverty Needs

Parents In Education

Personalized Learning

School Funding

Smarter Balanced Assessment/Opt-Out

Special Education

Traditional School Districts

Wilmington Education

All comments are now turned on.  I apologize.  I didn’t realize these “pages” on my blog had to be individually turned on.  Thank you for your patience!

 

 

The Absurdity of Common Core in Special Education

Please read this Delaware legislators.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Imagine teaching “To Kill a Mockingbird” to children who can’t read. Teachers of special education are expected to teach the Common Core to their students regardless of their ability or readiness.

This comes from Jill Cataldo, a teacher of special education whose blog is called “Humans of New York.”

“Even in special education, our curriculum is based on Common Core standards. I’ll have to teach about seasons to a child who doesn’t know his own name. I’m expected to teach To Kill A Mockingbird to a classroom full of nonverbal students, some of whom may be wearing diapers and haven’t learned their ABCs. I think it’s insulting to tell students what they’re going to learn, regardless of their abilities and needs. But I try to work some magic and design a lesson plan where everyone in the class can take something away from the story. For the least advanced…

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State Rep. Kim Williams Looking To Change “Good Cause” School Choice Options For School Bullying

Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams introduced a bill yesterday concerning school bullying and when a student can transfer to a different school when “good cause” has been established with school bullying.  The current law does not specify what category of bullying can trigger such a transfer.  Rep. Williams legislation would create a new law requiring the bullying to be a substantiated incident.  This would mean an official bullying complaint would need to be filed by the parent or guardian at the school, who would in turn have to rule bullying did occur.  All Delaware schools are required to report this information to the Delaware Department of Education.

This bill would prevent parents from just switching out students without a valid good cause, which unfortunately happens at times in Delaware.  The current law does not protect the schools and the loss of funds when these events occur.  While some parents may take issue with this due to schools not ruling a bullying incident as substantiated (which is a whole other issue which I would like to see improved), there are other options for parents to take should a school not agree with the complaint.  All Delaware schools are required to have the website and contact information for the Delaware Ombudsman for Bullying Prevention through the Department of Justice.

In 2014, then Lieutenant Governor Matt Denned issued a statement regarding the responsibilities of schools reporting bullying incidents:

“It is encouraging to see the progress our schools have made in keeping parents informed about bullying, because that was one of the primary goals of the 2012 legislation,” said Attorney General Denn who co-authored the 2012 legislation as Lieutenant Governor. “But our schools clearly have more work to do in letting parents know what recourse they have when bullying does occur, and the state needs to do a better job accurately tracking bullying incidents so we can accurately monitor our overall progress.”

All bullying complaints, whether substantiated or not, are required to be reported to the Dept. of Education and it is the school’s responsibility to enter the information on a system called E-School.  I have always encouraged parents to request a copy of their child’s E-School report.  This can be done at a school or district level in most situations.  To read the legislation, please see below:

Senator Nicole Poore Looks Out For Students With Disabilities In Transition

Students with disabilities have big choices to make when they turn 18.  But some of them are not able to make those choices of their own cognizance.  Delaware Senator Nicole Poore introduced Senate Bill 180 yesterday which would allow for those students to have an educational decision-maker to make those decisions for them in educational decisions.  I fully support this bill.  It also states for those students who do have this capacity to retain those rights.  Co-sponsored by State Rep. Deb Heffernan, the bill has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee.  We need the IEP Task Force to reconvene Senator Poore and Rep. Heffernan!  Please make this happen!  This group is needed now more than ever.  Former Lieutenant Governor, now Attorney General Matt Denn wanted this task force to continue when he served as the Chair.  With so many changes in education occurring on a daily basis, we need to make sure our students with disabilities are given a fair shake in all aspects of education!