The Capital School District Board of Education will be holding a special board meeting on August 8th. Among the few items for consideration is a contract with Pathways of Delaware to run an in-school alternative program in some of Capital’s schools. The program is meant to prevent expulsions where students are sent to alternative schools.
Whenever I see outside contracts like this, my very first thought concerns students who have special education. Any contractor would have to follow the student’s IEP just as any district employee would. This program is not for every student. It is for students who are simply unable to function within a school for very serious behavior issues. Alternative placement is very expensive for any district or charter school.
What are your thoughts on this proposal? In reading the proposal from Pathways of Delaware, they included endorsements from the Christina School District. Do other districts have this program?
The approach the Department is taking shortchanges our most vulnerable children and puts Delaware’s future at risk.
At the end of last year, the Delaware Department of Education proposed amendments to Regulation 616 concerning due process procedures for alternative placement meetings and expulsion hearings. In a nutshell, this regulation would make it easier to strip away the rights of students and parents in regards to school discipline. This prompted a wave of negative comments from many concerned organizations and citizens in Delaware. It started with the Smyrna School District Assistant Superintendent and went from there. The State Board of Education tabled the changes at their December, 2016 board meeting. Now Reg. 616 is back. It was published in the June Registrar of Regulations.
As I wrote last year when this god awful and horrible regulation was introduced, this bill appears to be tailor made for charter schools. To kick out the unwanted. Why does the Delaware DOE and State Board of Education even consider this kind of nonsense? Especially since there were laws passed dealing with this exact sort of thing. Furthermore, Senate Bill 239, if passed, would have been the opposite of this bill. I’m hearing this bill will come back roaring in the 149th General Assembly. It was a question of timing for why it didn’t pass this spring.
Disproportionality is a big word these days and it needs to be. We are seeing the results of what can happen when the pendulum swings too far in one direction. The Delaware DOE and the State Board are taking a huge step backwards in a time when they should be getting out of this mindset. If our charter schools want to completely change the direction of Delaware schools while everyone else is saying no, perhaps the time has come for them to change. This isn’t Little House on the Prairie anymore. They need to stop relying on funding from the state and the citizens who actually produce the funding for them to run as quasi-corporations and become what they should have been in the first place: private schools charging tuition. Let’s see how successful they are then when they aren’t using their “autonomy” when it suits them best and then ditching that concept when things aren’t equal.
ACLU COMMENTS ON REGULATION 616
ATTORNEY GENERAL’S COMMENTS ON REGULATION 616
DSCYF COMMENTS ON REGULATION 616
GACEC COMMENTS ON REGULATION 616
SCPD COMMENTS ON REGULATION 616
Delaware State Representative Mike Ramone’s House Bill 261 may cause even more controversy than the war of the charter school audit bills! Ramone’s proposed legislation would protect charter schools if they don’t get timely records from school districts when an expelled student or a student who was placed in an alternative school setting for disciplinary reasons choices into a Delaware charter school. The bill would make it so the local school district would have to pick up any costs for that student. This bill is assuredly in response to what happened at Delaware Met. Many students who went to the school were alleged to have been either expelled or came from an alternative school setting.
I see red flags all over this bill. I am already picturing charters not taking these students based on this information. The key word in this legislation is “applies”. How would a local school district know when a student applies to a charter? Of course it is the burden of the charter to request that information. It would be like applying for a new job and my old job would be responsible for proactively sending my references to the new job, prior to my even being accepted at the new job. Using the word “burden” in the synopsis of this bill makes it look like “Oh, the poor charters. The problems they have with those bothersome districts.”
Ramone, you are letting your charter bias shine through with this bill. This could put the stigmatism of “cherry-picking” to a whole new level! I understand the intent here, but this is NOT the way to do it. As well, the proof is in the pudding on whether or not records are sent. This is also a two-way street. Local districts do not always get records from charters in the allotted time period. If you want to further the tensions between districts and charters, this is a great way to go about it. I hope this bill dies a quick and sudden death in the House Education Committee…