State Board Of Education’s Statement On Action For WEIC Plan Ignores The Fact They Took No Action

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Gotta love the Delaware State Board of Education.  Only they are arrogant enough to consider their “not an approval or a denial” of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission redistricting plan an action.  Don’t believe me?  It’s on their own website: Statement from the State Board of Education with regard to action taken on the WEIC plan – January, 21, 2016.  And yes, they did put a comma after January.  For a group that takes action all the time (usually to the detriment of public education), why are they now sitting on the fence?

The State Board is now in violation of the law as dictated by Senate Bill 122.  I wrote about how they were in danger of breaking the law last Friday.  As of today, there is no notice of a public meeting by January 31st on the Delaware Public Meeting Calendar.  The State Board, by not taking action on the WEIC plan, has failed to give WEIC the sixty day window to make improvements in the plan.  What happens if they vote no at their March board meeting?  They have to vote by this coming Sunday, but without putting an agenda up for a meeting a week prior, they can’t have a meeting without violating Delaware State Code in regards to public meetings.  Meanwhile, State Rep. Kim Williams found some other potential violations that went on at last week’s State Board meeting.

Who watches the Watchmen?  In Delaware, in terms of the State Board of Education acting (or not acting in this case) without impunity, it seems nobody does…

To read their official statement on their action inaction taken at last week’s State Board meeting with WEIC, read below:

New DOE Organizational Chart Showcases Many Things In The Department

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The Office of Accountability and Assessment is gone.  Previously led by Penny Schwinn, who departed the DOE earlier this month, it is now part of the Teaching & Learning Branch but only as the Office of Assessment.  Dr. Carolyn Lazar is still listed as the Interim Director of The Office of Assessment, in the sub-section of the Teaching & Learning Branch which is still led by Michael Watson.  There is a sub-section under the new Deputy Secretary, Karen-Field Rogers, called Performance Management, but that is showing as vacant.  This is echoed with the Data Management office.  Former Deputy Secretary David Blowman has taken over Field-Rogers slot as Associate Secretary Financial Management & Operations.  It looks like he still oversees the Charter School Office.  Chris Ruszkowski is still running the show in the Teacher/Leader Effectiveness Unit.

It appears the DOE is in the process of updating their website, because if you look under their “leadership” tab, it still shows Penny Schwinn there, and Blowman as the Deputy Secretary.  There are many such errors on their website.  If you look under the Exceptional Children Resources group, it still shows Sarah Celestin listed even though she left the DOE last summer to become the Special Education Director at Red Clay Consolidated School District.

The DOE has seen some key departures and changes in the past few months since the new Secretary of Education, Dr. Steven Godowsky, took the helm.  With the amount of work the DOE receives based on the never-ending barrage of changes implemented by the State Board of Education and the feds, with more coming every day, on top of compliance issues, implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, charter school issues always going on, priority schools, assessment changes, state budgets and everything else is the DOE staff reaching a point where they are actually understaffed?  Do they have too much on their plate?  In some areas I would say so, but in others there is a lot of wasted money and resources going out.  Like the TLEU.  Every time I look, they are paying someone to come up with the latest report on Educator Effectiveness.  Or the Office of Assessment, constantly regurgitating report after report about Smarter Balanced and everything that goes with it.  Figuring out the Rubiks Cube that is the Delaware DOE is always a challenge…

Del. Academy of Public Safety & Security Modification Shows An Out Of Control Delaware DOE

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The Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security submitted a major modification request to the Delaware Department of Education Charter School Office on December 10th.  They want to decrease their enrollment from their charter approved 480 students to 375 students, a reduction of 22%.  What makes this very interesting is the fact other charter schools in Delaware have been placed on formal review for not having 80% of their approved enrollment in their charter. DAPSS has not met their approved enrollment figures for the past two years.  The DOE looks at formal review status for charters if they fall below 80% of their approved enrollment based on the financial viability of the school.

According to the information submitted by DAPSS to the Charter School Office, their enrollment last year was 363, which put them at 76% of their approved enrollment.  This year, the school lost 60 students and currently stand at 303 students.  This is less than 64% of their approved enrollment.  My biggest question would be why they were not put on formal review last year or this year based on this information.  What is the point of having a state law if the Department of Education doesn’t feel like following it?  Are we at the point where the Delaware DOE is an independent entity, absolved of any accountability or self-regulation?

For their performance framework, the school was labeled as “Does Not Meet Standard” for their organizational framework three out of the last four academic years, in 11-12, 12-13, and 14-15.  For their financial framework, they were labeled as “Falls Far Below Standard” in 11-12, 13-14, and 14-15 and “Does Not Meet Standard” in 12-13.  Once again, they have not been placed on formal review for their very negative ratings on the State Board of Education approved Charter School Performance Framework.  Are charter schools exempt from accountability based on who runs the show at each charter?  I don’t think having charter schools submitting modification requests to make them compliant with the law is the way a Department should run things, in my opinion.

Based on the timeline, the Charter School Accountability Committee meetings start today leading to a State Board of Education decision at their March 17th meeting.  The meetings yesterday were canceled due to the inclement weather.

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Below is the official major modification application submitted by Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security as well as their projected budget based on an 80% enrollment.

We Are The World January 2016: Closing The Gaps

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This is the world.  If you see a country in white, that means they haven’t visited Exceptional Delaware.  I’ve conquered North America, Europe, and most of South America.  Asia has some holes in it still, along with Africa.  This is one of my goals for 2016.  To close the gaps.  I will not rest or sleep until I have completely taken over the world.  This is not a game of Risk, otherwise Africa would have been mine already.  Every country must have a color!  I am opting out of countries that are blank until they come and visit me.  I tried with Mongolia, even going to a few Mongolian WordPress blogs and making comments.  It’s how I got Greenland, but I also found a really awesome Greenland blog with amazing photos on it, so it all worked out.  What’s up with the Stans in Asia?  I’m sure they have that thing called the internet over there.  Exceptional Delaware wasn’t built in a day, but with the last country colored in I will completely take over the world in a day!  I will accept no substitutes!