US DOE Rules Delaware “Needs Assistance” For Special Education

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services for the United States Department of Education came out with their special education ratings for each state on July 5th and Delaware was rated as “Needs Assistance” in special education for IDEA Part B (ages 3 through 21).  For Part C, which covers Birth through Age 2, Delaware was rated “Needs Assistance” for the second year in a row.

While OSERS did not release the letters sent to each state, they did put up a document covering what each state received for their rating.  The individual letters are supposed to be up this month according to their website.

It is hard to give a lot of weight to these rulings by the US DOE.  Most of the ratings are based on standardized test scores.  I broke this down by school districts and charter schools a few weeks ago based on the letters sent to each district or charter by the Delaware Department of Education.  When over 60% of the ratings are based on the Smarter Balanced Assessment or the SAT, by grade, we are failing to properly grade our special education.  Students with disabilities, historically, are the worst performers on these type of tests.  These tests do not give an accurate gage of the ability and knowledge these students need to succeed in school.  While even the education reformers are jumping on the “standardized testing does not show the full picture in education” bandwagon, for the US DOE, the almighty standardized test is the basis of everything.  These tests, based on Common Core, which President Trump swore up and down he would abolish (like he even could if he wanted to).  Furthermore, these ratings are always two years behind.  This current rating is based on the 2015-2016 school year.

Repeat after me, IDEA is more than a standardized test.  IDEA is more than a standardized test.

Once the US DOE releases Delaware’s findings letter I will post it.  Last year we were “Meets Requirements”.  We tend to flip back and forth between “meets requirements” and “needs assistance”.  In 2014 we were rated as “Needs Intervention” which upset me to no end until I found out just how flawed these ratings are.

 

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Brandywine School Board President John Skrobot Jr. Passed Away

An hour ago, the Brandywine School District announced that Board of Education President John Skrobot Jr. passed away.  This is very sad news.  I never met Mr. Skrobot but I have no doubt this is a great loss for the Brandywine community.

It is with much sadness that we share the passing of our School Board President, John Skrobot Jr. Mr. Skrobot served on the School Board since 2011 and as Board President for the last five years. He was a longtime supporter of BSD in many, many ways. In addition to his service on the School Board, he was a very active member of the District’s Renovations Oversight Committee. As a student at Mount Pleasant High School in the 70s, he was a founding member of WMPH Radio. He also was involved in the creation of the Brandywine Education Foundation.

Mr. Skrobot cared deeply about the Brandywine School District and the children and families we serve. It was quite common to find him attending District and community events as he was, indeed, a hands-on leader. His commitment and dedication to supporting District improvements and ensuring the success of all students could be seen and felt in both his words and actions. Mr. Skrobot will be greatly missed, but he has left an indelible mark on the BSD community. May his memory be eternal.

Rest in peace John Skrobot Jr.