If the strategy to improve special education in Delaware is to delay improving it for two years, the Delaware Department of Education is doing a bang-up job!
The Delaware Dept. of Education put out an announcement today for their “Special Education Strategic Plan”. This plan was snuck into the epilogue language of the FY2015 budget on June 30th, 2014. Here we are, over 27 months later, with NO Special Education Strategic Plan. The director of this strategic plan is a former employee of the Rodel Foundation with no actual teaching experience in the classroom. Matthew Korobkin worked for a collaborative that helped ten school districts with assistive technology. That is NOT the same thing as living and breathing special education. But somehow that qualified him for a job with the Massachusetts DOE (which Rodel CEO Paul Herdman worked for way back when) where he worked for 14 months. Then he worked for Rodel for 2 1/2 years. In October of 2014, he joined the Secretary of Education office as a “Special Education Officer”.
Given his background with technology and Rodel, I can easily see where this “strategic plan” is heading. I can picture words like “personalized learning” and “competency-based education” being in this report. And let’s not be fooled by this new desire for public input on special education. This guy has never once sought out my opinion on anything. This is more of the DOE charade where they give the illusion of public input so they can include it in the report with words like “we brought stakeholders from across the state together to discuss this”. Right out of the Rodel playbook…
After butting heads with the Autism community over the failed amendment to Senate Bill 93, this is the guy who we want creating this strategic plan? Let’s get real here. Somehow, someway, Rodel wanted to get in on special education. Their biggest enemy, in my opinion, is parents of children with disabilities. We see through their crap and know that anything they want to invade our kids lives is somehow going to benefit companies and not our kids. So they wormed one of their guys into the Secretary of Education office. This guy has been collecting a paycheck for well over two years with NO results. And now, we are led to believe we are going to see this “strategic plan” sometime before Jack Markell leaves office? Why haven’t they been soliciting parent input on this for the past two years? If this guy was remotely serious, he would have gone to parents in the first place. Not wait two years. When the DOE has this strategic plan overshadow everything else in special education, I have a major beef with that. I guess we have to wait even longer for our kids to get the special education they needed two years ago so the ex Rodel guy can figure it all out. How ironic they will be getting this out along with the Every Student Succeeds Act implementation and “stakeholder” input. Almost as if that was the plan all along…
Meanwhile, the Delaware DOE is seeing a large increase in special education due process hearings and administrative complaints. The placements in residential treatment centers is increasing every year, whether in-state or out of state. Students with disabilities continue to do poorly on the Smarter Balanced Assessment as they are forced to take the test for longer periods of time than their peers. Is it really a coincidence this is all happening at larger rates since Delaware implemented Common Core? And what will happen to these students when we go full-blown personalized learning? Competency-based education and special education are oil and water.
Here is the press release with my thoughts in red.
Public input sought to inform special education strategic plan
The Delaware Department of Education invites members of the public to three input sessions, one in each county, to inform the state’s strategic plan for special education. Attendees will be asked to frame their comments around the following two questions:
1. What are the most critical challenges in the delivery of special education services within the State of Delaware?
I guess Mr. Korobkin didn’t bother to listen to ANY of the audio recordings from the IEP Task Force. I can answer this one. The most critical challenge is the Delaware DOE hiring ex Rodel employees to launch some Strategic Plan that takes over two years to create.
2. When thinking about these challenges, what solutions do you think may solve these challenges?
Get back to reality and stop living in this nightmare world where even students with disabilities can do as well as their peers if we just give ’em enough rigor and grit to catch up. Stop fooling everyone and stop playing games at the expense of students, teachers, schools, and parents. The jig is up.
Input will be recorded, reviewed, and used to inform the creation of the strategic plan.
I guess parents talking about their own experiences with special education, which is being recorded, isn’t going to come back to haunt them in some way. I love the wording here: “used to inform”. Not used to create, but inform. Which means nothing when you actually think about it. Sorry, but how much is Korobkin making at the DOE? What the hell has he been doing for two years that he is just now getting to the parent input part of this plan? I can picture it already: “Guys, the Strategic Plan is done!” “Did you get any parent input?” “No, do I need that?” “It looks good in the report.” “Okay, I’ll get right on that!”
The meetings are planned for:
· 4 to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 20 at the Collette Education Resource Center Conference Room A, 35 Commerce Way, Dover
· 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 20 at the Wilmington Public Library Commons Room, 10 E. 10th St., Wilmington
· 4:30 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 27 at the Greenwood Public Library meeting room, 100 Mill St., Greenwood
Should you need accommodations at any of these meetings, please contact Matthew Korobkin at Matthew.Korobkin@doe.k12.de.us or (302) 735-4192.
How about students with disabilities get the accommodations they need? And I’m not talking about standards-based accommodations or accommodations for your precious Smarter Balanced test, but ones that don’t put them in a grinder!