Delaware DOJ Responds To My FOIA Petitions Against Delaware DOE

Back in September, I filed three Freedom of Information Act petitions with the Delaware Department of Justice against the Delaware Department of Education.  This was shortly after I found out about the opt-out penalties in the Delaware School Success Framework.

To give some background on this, the September 10th petition was in regards to the publication of Regulation 103 in the monthly Registrar of Regulations.  State law dictates any items for publication must be submitted 15 days prior.  I found out who the Regulation would go at the registrar’s office and requested a FOIA based on who I thought may send this to them from the DOE.  I immediately received a response from Alison May, the public information officer at the DOE, that none of the individuals had an email of this sort in their system but if I paid $300 to DTI (the state data office) they could do a more exhaustive search.

The September 17th request was around the State Board of Education Retreat and my assumption information was withheld due to my being the only member of the public in attendance and their full knowledge of my blog.

The September 28th petition concerned the posting of meetings for the Accountability Framework Working Group, their agendas, and the timing associated with them.  Please read the below opinion issued by the DOJ and weigh in with your thoughts!


Potential Priority School List Was Actually Potential DE Talent Cooperative Schools

A month and a half ago, I posted an email between employees of the Delaware DOE concerning a list of schools.  There was no reference to what this list was for, but it was somewhat suspicious given the priority schools fiasco in Red Clay and Christina.  Upon reviewing more from a huge FOIA drop, I have found another email concerning that list, and this does verify the list was for the Delaware Talent Cooperative.  Just thought I would get this out there in case anyone was concerned about this.  I have heard, however, there will be new “focus” schools named later this year….

School Eligibility

Eligible schools are schools that serve high populations of traditionally underserved students. Specifically, a school is eligible if it meets at least one of these four conditions: Continue reading “Potential Priority School List Was Actually Potential DE Talent Cooperative Schools”

DOE Stands To Lose Many Positions & Contracts If RTTT Programs Are Not Approved In Budget

The Delaware Department of Education got hammered by the 148th General Assembly in February over their FY2016 budget request.  This file, released through a FOIA request, shows exactly what the DOE, or more specifically, the Teacher Leader Effectiveness Unit, will lose if these programs don’t receive funding.  Previously, these positions were funded through the Race To The Top program which has now been discontinued.

The DOE-DSEA Collaboration That Will Make Your Brain Explode!!! FOIA Shell-Shocker!!!!

Every once in a while you see something in a FOIA drop that shocks you.  And then are the times where something just explodes!  This is an explosion.  Back in November of 2014, the teachers belonging to the unions were very upset about the priority schools and the compensation workgroup which would eliminate many of the financial benefits of completing a masters degree.

This was obviously not a good time for the DSEA and other union members to take a survey.  And the executive director of the DSEA, Jeff Taschner, told the DOE this.  Their reaction to this news is very interesting.  You have to read it for yourself.  It makes me wonder just how much collaboration goes on between the DSEA and the DOE that nobody knows about…

Breaking Exclusive News: Delaware DOE Fraud & Manipulation Revealed

If you ever needed more proof of how corrupt the Delaware Department of Education really is, this will prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt.  The Delaware Talent Cooperative is a program to bring teachers to high-need schools.  Obviously, based on the below email, the Teacher Leader Effectiveness Unit can manipulate who sees what and when.  This is tantamount to fraud on many levels.  We have Chris Ruszkowski, the leader of this unit, blatantly manipulating wording without even bothering to check if it is able to be done or even legal.  And it is more than obvious the DOE was very selective about who they wanted in this program.  They can’t have “sabotage”!

And here is the letter Ruszkowski edited clearly showing his financial enticement to lure teachers into this program:

Let’s Do The Timewarp Again! A Peek Into The Past At The DOE Shows Current & Future Agendas

This is the FOIA file that keeps on going, and going, and going…

This one shows a document from October, 2013 showcasing what the DOE’s most important goals are, especially for the current academic year.  Once again, we get confirmation that SATs and PSATs are being aligned to the Common Core Standards.  This is happening at a national level as a state does not have the ability to dictate what appears on these tests.  The College Board does all the legwork for these assessments.

I would have to guess at this point that Accountability 2.0 is the new accountability standards the DOE is trying to get in place for schools.  This would involve legislation according to this memo, so look for something to be introduced in the General Assembly at any time.  It will be interesting to see who sponsors this legislation at first, because that would mean they are probably in tight with the Delaware DOE.

Exclusive FOIA: The Delaware DOE Human Capital 2017 Project Fully Revealed

This was a draft created by the Delaware Department of Education Teacher Leader Effectiveness Unit on their Human Capital 2017 project.  I originally wrote about this project here.  In reviewing more of the huge FOIA material I received over two months ago, I stumbled across a Power Point presentation in draft form that gives A LOT of information about the whole purpose of the DOE.

While converting the document on a Scribd file, some of the material overlaps, and I was unable to fix it, but make sure you read every single word in this document.  It’s amazing how much long-term planning goes into these DOE programs, including legislation in the General Assembly.

After watching the Director of this unit, Christopher Ruszkowski, at the February 18th Delaware House Education Committee meeting, it is amazing how much power he has at the Delaware DOE.  The website Education has a pretty thorough review on Ruszkowski.

When someone told Christopher that he should be a teacher in the inner-city, something clicked. After undergrad, he joined Teach For America and taught 7th and 8th grade social studies at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Miami-Dade County for two years. There, Christopher saw himself in his students, the majority of whom were first-generation Americans. Under his guidance, Christopher’s students achieved significant gains and demonstrated 80% content mastery.”

“As a Fellow, Christopher was placed with San Francisco Unified School District where he worked to ensure that hundreds of district administrators were well prepared for the upcoming school year and their work to educate over 55,000 San Francisco students. Christopher helped develop, facilitate, and plan the district’s annual Administrator Leadership Institute and worked cross-functionally across all departments to ensure strong professional development for all district administrators.”

“My project connected me with leaders across the district, and I witnessed different management styles, political maneuvering, and cross-district collaboration,” he says. “I saw how leadership and management could cut through the noise or raise the decibel level. It was invaluable for me to see those organizational dynamics in another context before moving to a state-level role.”

“Post-Fellowship and eager to be a part of Race to the Top, President Obama’s signature education initiative, Christopher headed to the Delaware Department of Education. In his first year there, he launched a dozen educator effectiveness initiatives and was quickly promoted to Chief Officer of the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Unit. Christopher has grown his team from three people to 25. He now oversees the unit’s $30 million budget and all state-led educator effectiveness efforts, as well as analyzes how districts’ individual human capital plans are driving student achievement.”

Will Ruszkowski survive the post-Markell purge that will most likely occur at the Delaware DOE?  But more importantly, will the Human Capital 2017 project ever see its fruition?  I hope not…

Delaware DOE Aims To Please Rodel!

Believe it or not, I’m still sorting through the huge FOIA file I received from another individual months ago.  In this latest email exchange between members of the DOE, see how they will do anything they can to please the Rodel Foundation.

Does Rodel pay the DOE for this information?  I imagine it would be many hours of work…