The Delaware Dept. of Education has a very bad habit. They ignore what the people are telling them. This is the case with the 2016-2017 Delaware School Success Framework. Once again, they are incorporating the Smarter Balanced Assessment participation rate as a penalty in the framework. Even though a majority of their stakeholders in the Measures of School Success ESSA Discussion Group said they don’t want this anymore. The final regulations from the U.S. Dept. of Education concerning participation rate have not come out yet but ESSA dictates that it is the decision of the states and local education agencies to determine how they handle opt out. US DOE Secretary of Education John King received a great deal of flack from parents, educators, and citizens with his harsh regulations surrounding accountability. This also drew the attention of members of Congress who felt King was abusing the authority given to him with ESSA. The state does NOT have to have a penalty for participation rate. But the DOE continues to treat ESSA as a penalty-providing opportunity.
The above picture was taken by one of the members of the Measures of School Success ESSA Discussion Group. The discussion groups come up with ideas and thoughts on how to improve schools. For this discussion group, after they have answered all questions, they put three stickers next to their top priorities. Not having opt out as a penalty in the DSSF and having the school report what may have happened received 8 stickers. If I remember this meeting correctly, there were only about half the members in attendance. So for this to get 8 priority stickers, that is huge. But the Delaware DOE ignores this.
Last year, when the Accountability Framework Working Group convened to decide on the final version of the DSSF, they came up with the same idea which was a valid option from the US DOE. It looked like that was going to go through until Governor Markell stuck his nose into it and directed Secretary Godowsky to proceed with the opt out penalty. Even though Markell will end his reign as Governor and is moving onto bigger and better things, like performing in the Nutcracker, the DOE continues his very bad education policy.
Last night, I had an interview with Education Week. They reached out to me due to my role on the Student and School Supports ESSA Discussion Group. I won’t spoil the interview, but there was discussion around what the true role of “stakeholder input” is with Delaware’s ESSA plan. Many feel that we are just placards in the process and the Delaware DOE will do what it damn well pleases. This latest version of the DSSF just reinforces that thought.
Incoming Delaware Governor John Carney: you really need to put the brakes on the DOE Accountability Machine! The DOE needs to listen to their stakeholders more than Rodel!