State Representative Kim Williams pre-filed legislation today that would do away with emergency certifications for pending special education teachers in The First State. As part of the Every Student Succeeds Act, this is no longer allowed in public education. From the bill’s synopsis:
Enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act amended the Individuals with Disability Education Act (“IDEA”) by mandating that special education teachers must have obtained full certification and may not be working under emergency certifications. The Delaware Department of Education must stop issuing emergency certifications in special education in order for the State to continue receiving $36 million in federal IDEA funding for our schools. This Act creates a mechanism that is in compliance with federal requirements to enable educators to obtain a certificate of eligibility in the areas of special education. Educators will be able to meet federal requirements while being enrolled in an approved, alternative routes to certification program. This Act will allow local education agencies to staff special education classrooms while ensuring the educators are receiving high quality training working toward their standard certificate in the appropriate area of special education. This Act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.
Also sponsored by State Senator Nicole Poore, this bill has many co-sponsors by several Democrats but no Republicans. But that shouldn’t matter as this is a federal requirement now. So what does this mean? It means you can’t just be put into a classroom that has students with disabilities with an Individualized Education Program based on an emergency certificate. You have to already be going through some type of program that would allow you to be heading towards full certification. I expect this to pass with no problems.
As well, Williams also pre-filed legislation today concerning special education diplomas with House Bill #287 which I wrote about here. To read the full pending legislation for House Bill #286, please go here.
Guidance means a “suggested” way of doing things. “Regulatory” means you have to do it. The Delaware DOE doesn’t seem to know the difference between the two. There is a very fine distinction. This is the case with the Accountability Framework Working Group being told by Penny Schwinn at the DOE that participation rate penalties in the Delaware School Success Framework are “mandatory” and “non-negotiable”. This is a complete fabrication and distortion of the truth. But it appears the district superintendents and administrators on this group swallowed the lie, because they agreed to it.
But here is the important distinction between guidance and regulatory. The US DOE issued guidance on charter school enrollment preferences surrounding specific interest in their applications. They stated charter schools should only use this to benefit Title I, IDEA, low-income & minority students, and students with disabilities. As we all know, certain charters in our state completely ignore this and pick who they want for their schools. I don’t see the Delaware DOE rushing to enforce this “guidance”. If they had, there wouldn’t be a pending complaint in the Office of Civil Rights from the ACLU of Delaware and Delaware Community Legal Aid against the Delaware DOE and Red Clay Consolidated School District. But when it comes to parent opt-out, that guidance becomes “mandatory” and “non-negotiable”.
In the presentation below, the key pages are 4 and 16. It indicates a potential way of using opt-out or participation rate in accountability but nowhere does it say “You must do this or we won’t approve your waiver request.” They can threaten and bully all they want, but we all know how that turns out in the end.
To read the non-regulatory guidance concerning charter school enrollment preferences, please read below: