Breaking News! Governor Markell Publicly Announces He Will Veto Parent Opt-Out Bill

Delaware Governor Jack Markell just told listeners of WDEL he would veto the opt-out legislation, House Bill 50, if it comes to his office.  WDEL host Rick Jensen asked if point blank: “Would you veto the bill?”  Markell said “Yeah.  I never say what I’m going to do to a bill in advance, but I can say I absolutely don’t support that bill.”

He also said Common Core is not a curriculum and it is not federal intrusion or a takeover of American education.  He brought up the civil rights organizations opposing the bill, and said students need this.

He also explained his “Alan Jackson” email address to Jensen and said it was so he could get crucial emails and not get bogged down going through hundreds of emails.  He talked about how transparent his administration has been.  And yet I have not received an acknowledgment of my FOIA request submitted to his office five days ago.

This is a very desperate man with vast amounts of arrogance and conflicts of interest.  He needs to be impeached…NOW!

**UPDATED** 6:14pm: this has been updated to include the EXACT words Markell said on air.  The clip about this on WDEL’s website right now does NOT include the part where he said “Yeah”.

Special Education in Capital School District A Hot Issue At Board Meeting #netde #eduDE @Doverpost @TheStateNews

The topic of special education and standardized testing came up in a big way at the monthly Board meeting in the Capital School District.  Here’s where I take my impartial glasses off and announce that I spoke at the meeting.  I gave public comment to the Board concerning my article yesterday about Federal interference with IDEA and Special Education laws.

I read parts of the letter the US Republican Senators sent to the US DOE and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan about how the US DOE is potentially breaking the law with results-driven accountability and NAEP testing as a performance indicator for special education students.  I advised that since a national test like NAEP is skirting around IDEA laws, then the state is doing the same with Smarter Balanced Assessments by having it put into Indicator 17 on the new special education audit system the state of Delaware has to give to the Feds.  Because of this, I advised the Board that no child with an IEP should be required to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  I also said parent opt-out shouldn’t even be an option, it just shouldn’t happen at all.

Board Vice-President Matthew Lindell also brought up the subject of standards-based IEPs and their impact on Capital School District.  It appeared Superintendent Dr. Michael Thomas was going to look into this subject.  I wrote about the standards-based IEPs last week and how the state of Delaware is incorporating Common Core and the controversial results-driven accountability as part of their “counseling” to schools for these new standards. 

Dr. Thomas also briefly discussed the United States Supreme Court decision on Schaffer v. Weast, from 2005.  This decision indicated the burden of proof for due process hearings on special education matters rests with the party initiating the case for the student, usually the parents.  In using this framework, Dr. Thomas had a slide up which wrote: “This creates a number of practical problems and is a significant reason school districts are regularly expending vast amount of public funds to settle what are at time dubious claims.” 

There was not much actual discussion about this matter, but the fact that it was introduced seemed odd.  I am quite sure, speaking from experience, that to parents of special needs children, their claims are not dubious and are a result of months of effort to obtain proper special education for their children.  For more information on the 2005 Supreme Court Ruling, please read here: http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/caselaw/ussupct.schaffer.weast.htm

 

 

 

 

 

Parents Either Hate Common Core or Love It. Where Most Special Needs Parents Fit. #netde #eduDE

I would say based on feedback through this blog, Facebook, and Twitter, 90% of parents of special needs loathe and despise Common Core. The other 10%, they love it. I have to wonder why they stick up for it like it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I debated back and forth with one mother on Facebook last week for a long time about the subject. She claimed that Common Core is so much better than what they had before in California. She is also a public school teacher. When I brought up the matter of the standardized tests, she was for them. But she admitted that her children hated them and found them to be very difficult due to so many essays on the test. And she didn’t like the curriculum being forced to adhere to the way the state wanted it. But she felt the theory behind it was good.

Then there was the father from Maryland, also a public school teacher, who thought it was excellent. He felt it helps the kids to improve and do better. He also said that allegations that resistance to common core is “political motivated fear mongering” and that I was “seeing conspiracies where there are none.” I guess half the population must be crazy and we are all seeing things. His child attends a charter school in Maryland that has revitalized the community around it. Glad one of them can do that.

These were both parents with children with special needs. But like I’ve said, they were by far the minority of how parents feel about this federal intrusion into the rights and laws that were created for our children. This debate will go on for a long time until it’s gone. Hopefully, that will be soon if what I’m hearing is correct. But if not, the debate continues.

Feds Turn Down NY’s Testing Accommodations for Students withDisabilities

Delaware just passed a similar law. Does that mean the Delaware law is shut down too? Senator Poore will be very angry if this is the case. As will several other parents. This is where it begins folks.

Diane Ravitch's blog

New York proposed to exempt up to 2% of students with severe disabilities from federally required state tests.

The U.S. Department of Education said no. Last year, 95% of students with disabilities failed the new Common Core tests in New York.

Leaders of national organizations supposedly representing students with disabilities hailed the DOE’s de is ion to hold these students to the same standards, which the overwhelming majority will fail.

Peter Goodman wrote about the Common Core exams:

“Parents and teachers across the state protested – the exams were poorly prepared, school staffs not trained and parents of SWD were especially critical – the tests were far beyond the cognitive ability of their children and were emotionally harmful. After months of discussions the state, in its application for an extension of the NCLB Flexibility Waiver asked for a change.

New York State had proposed allowing up to 2 percent…

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News Journal reports on NGSS, fails to inform readers of how they were crafted and adopted: in near total darkness with almost zero Delaware parent or educator input and unread by SBE prior to approval.. #justlikeCCSS

And here comes the science “common core” standards. This means in the next 8 years, my son will be taking English, Math and Science. For 7 hours a day. Three subjects. Say goodbye to history, music, art, health, and all the other subjects that are just as important in education. Stop the madness!

Special Education In America: Where is it going? Spread this link all over! Reblog!

I firmly believe our federal government wants to eventually usurp IDEA and IEPs for special needs children. They want the “common” goal to be increased standardized test scores for these students. This is a very strong opinion, but here’s why I believe this.

The volley started on June 24th. This was the day OSEP announced Delaware, California, Texas and Washington D.C. needed federal intervention for special education. Their criteria for these states was based on compliance, NAEP testing, and students with disabilities drop-out rates. But let’s not fool ourselves for one minute this had anything to do with compliance. It’s all about Common Core and test scores. Common Core is the complete opposite of an IEP. The I in IEP stands for “INDIVIDUALIZED”, not a sameness for all special needs students.

The feds have already said if these states don’t get it together, they could be at risk of losing federal funding for special education. And what happens then? With no funding, they wouldn’t have to grant special ed. Which is the overall plan. They announced a $50 million dollar data center to help special needs children increase their test scores on the same day. But if all states eventually lost their $11.5 billion dollars in special education funding, what would that mean? The IEP will be gone!

I think they know special needs students will tank and fail the upcoming tests coming out next year: Pearson and Smarter Balanced. As a result, they will have their reason for getting rid of many special education teachers as well as regular teachers. They will use this as justification for getting rid of IDEA and IEPs as they are currently written. It will still exist, but new legislation will be introduced to make everything about increasing test scores for our disabled children. And guess which states will be the pilots for this federal intrusion into the heart of education for special needs students? Delaware, California, Texas and Washington D.C.

This has been planned for a long time. It will change everything. As a result, inclusion will become a thing of the past. Without the current accommodations in place for these children, chaos will reign in classrooms for a very brief period of time. Teachers and administrators will throw their hands up, and then what happens to these children? I fear the worst, and I’m frightened to even write down that thought, so I won’t.

The only way to stop this is for parents to get together NOW. Not later. Not into the school year. It will be too late then. The media will be focused on the upcoming elections, and which side will reign supreme. Then we get into the presidential race, and so on. This is our key moment parents, and if we waste this chance, it will be gone. I am only one person, and I can’t change all of this by myself. I need your help. Our children need our help. Some of us may not like what our children have now, but it won’t matter when it is all gone.