My moles across the state are telling me about emails going out to teachers and staff that schools will be physically closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. This unprecedented and historic move is based on the remaining threat of Covid-19 in Delaware. At a press briefing today Delaware Governor John Carney, when specifically asked, had not determined the fate of the school year. But just as that was going on, an email was sent out to Red Clay Consolidated School District teachers and staff about the future: Continue reading
After a lot of back and forth, Delaware Governor John Carney signed an Executive Order to close all Delaware public schools for the next two weeks:
State to close schools March 16 through 27 to prepare for potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)
WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Friday directed all Delaware public schools close from March 16-27, to allow schools to prepare for potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The following is an excerpt from a letter Governor Carney sent to superintendents and charter school leaders on Friday:
Over the next two weeks, the State of Delaware will work with school leaders and public health experts to create a plan for Delaware students and educators as this coronavirus outbreak continues. We will specifically prepare for the potential impact of extended school closures on Delaware children and their families. Public school leaders should also undertake a deep cleaning of their facilities during the two-week closure.
Delaware children deserve a world-class education, and ongoing access to services that are delivered in our schools each day. Many students – especially those from disadvantaged communities – also rely on school meals for nutrition, and other important social services. We will be working with districts to plan for providing learning opportunities and other meal and social services for our students in the event of an extended closure.
There are two major reasons Delaware schools aren’t closing yet. Equity and special education. It all comes down to the digital learning environment school kids will be exposed to. School districts are worried about potential lawsuits.
For special education, federal IDEA law demands students get accommodations for their disabilities in an educational environment if their disabilities interfere with their ability to succeed academically. With digital learning from home, how would those accommodations happen? Disability Scoop covered this topic today in an article.
The Education Department said that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act do not specify what should occur if schools are closed for an extended period of time, which is considered more than 10 consecutive days. However, schools should generally offer the same level of services to students with disabilities that they are providing to other children.
As for equity, what about those families that don’t have wifi or bandwidth, or for that matter, computers, for their children to access digital learning from home. That is a huge concern. If they don’t receive instruction how can they even grasp educational material? What happens when the students return and those who were not able to get the digital learning are woefully behind?
These are the concerns the districts are having. And while we are in a state of emergency at not just the state level but the whole country, it does open up the possibility of litigation. But what is more important? Money or the health and well-being of not just students but every single citizen in the state? With all the ed-tech personalized learning, how did these get-rich quick companies not prepare for a day like this? But I digress…
So Governor Carney needs to be the one to make the call according to the districts. But will he? Or will he leave it up to the districts? As the risk and danger to Delaware citizens continues. Don’t believe what the Secretary of Health in Delaware is saying. About schools being safer. They aren’t. It is just a bigger Petri dish.
Meanwhile, parents are left with a choice- do I send my kid to school or not? Some districts, like Christina, are telling parents they need a doctor’s note in order to have an absence excused. So some parents are sending kids in whether they are sick or not cause their kid has too many absences already. It is a dangerous time folks!
It was widely expected parents in Delaware would hear something about school closings today. It is now after most schools have gotten out for the day and nothing. But what is going on behind the scenes is even more confusing. Delaware Governor John Carney is playing a game with the school districts and they are not happy about it. Continue reading
Autism Delaware released a fact sheet today on the debacle involving the Delaware Department of Education, Christina School District, the Office of Management and Budget, and Governor Carney’s office. This should answer many questions folks are having based on the Delaware Public Media article as well as my own last night.
If this is how it was supposed to happen, someone dropped the ball big time. A lot of fingers can be pointed at Christina Superintendent Richard Gregg for failing to notify the district’s Board of Education (which is the governing body for the district and hired him in the first place). As well, Governor Carney’s administration goofed big time by not putting certain funding for training personnel in their FY2020 budget proposal. A lot of this comes down to communication. We live in the 21st Century where communication is instant. This kind of stuff shouldn’t happen!
State Rep. Kim Williams wrote the following on Facebook today:
OMB, Controller’s Office and DOE are setting up a meeting with Christina next week. The schools are not changing anything, they will still report to their current district. Teachers and staff will not be affected by any of this. They need to hire the two specialists and those specialists need to report to someone. They need to hire someone to oversee the specialists and the statewide program. The meeting this week will work all those details out.
Thanks to Autism Delaware for getting some facts out on this matter!
Okay, that wasn’t the headline you ever expected to come out of me on here! There is a distinct reason why this bill bothers me so much. House Bill #48 came out on Thursday and like all the other bills from past legislative sessions, it asks for the full allotment of state funding for students labeled as Basic Special Education in Kindergarten to 3rd Grade in Delaware’s public schools. So what is it about this bill that gives me pause?
It is the fact this is the third time State Rep. Kim Williams has brought this bill forward. It came out four years ago for the first time in the 148th General Assembly. It should have been a no-brainer. It got out of committee but it was never heard on the floor of the House. In the last session, the 149th, it came out but it morphed into a part of the state budget which offered part of the funding for it.
When Governor Carney announced his weighted funding plan a week and a half ago he did not include this in his proposal. While I am all for equitable funding, the basic special education funding should have been utilized years ago when the unit-based funding formula changed during Governor Markell’s first term. The fact we have the same bill in a third legislative session really ticks me off. While I greatly appreciate the partial funding that was granted last year it is appalling to me that the state will not grant the full funding in this area.
If the Delaware DOE can demand students with disabilities reach certain proficiency levels on horrible and flawed state assessments than they damn well better give the full funding these students deserve. These are kids. Kids with issues and disabilities forming that they aren’t ready for. Not that anyone with disabilities is ever ready, but these kids need that rock solid education foundation. And when they aren’t getting the support and services they need they are losing out. With that being said, I know their teachers (most of them) will do whatever they can to reach that child to the best of their ability. They will use what they can when they can. It is not their intention to see any student fail. But they can’t do it alone. They need help.
Delaware is great at talking the talk but there is resistance to walking the walk when it comes to education. Even Carney’s weighted funding attempt is not a permanent thing. It is more of a trial than a commitment. We demand so much out of our students and teachers but consistently fail in giving the funding to achieve this. And then we put it on the districts to come up with those funds. But then our state will pour millions of dollars each year into the Smarter Balanced Assessment. It makes zero sense.
I have nothing but the utmost respect for Kim Williams. The fact she has to continually put this bill out, year after year, is a true picture of what an awesome human being she is. But we need ALL 62 of our legislators not only approving this, but shouting it from the rooftops, up and down the state. Rome wasn’t built in a day, I get that. But to ignore the needs of children who need help the most is an insult that shouldn’t continue. Because all they are doing is creating more problems for these students down the road that wind up costing more money than if they just funded it to begin with.
The 150th Delaware General Assembly MUST approve this bill and lock it permanently into the state budget. It is a moral imperative and the question of if they can afford it shouldn’t even be a part of the conversation. And Governor Carney, for all my critiques and rants against him, needs to reach into his soul and not even question it. And when I say Governor Carney, this includes his most trusted advisors who seem to want to dictate the money flow in Delaware.
I was wondering why Delaware Governor John Carney’s office resent the same media advisory today that they sent on Friday. I figured there had to be some change to the big shindig tomorrow at Legislative Hall. And there it was, staring at me like a full moon on a summer night, one addition to the number of attendees: Continue reading
Next Tuesday, January 15th, Delaware Governor John Carney and Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting will hold a press conference at Legislative Hall to announce a weighted funding system for Delaware students. Luckily, this blogger got the details of it this evening. The devil, as they say, is in the details. Continue reading
Enough is enough already. This guy has been walking around since the 1990s with fraud and abuse of taxpayer funds in his rearview mirror as he walks around like he is the Al Capone of Delaware. If the Delaware Attorney General’s office won’t act, the people will force them to!
Please sign the Change.org petition at the below link. I was really hoping Attorney General Matt Denn would take significant action against Patrick Miller but he failed, plain and simple. Now it is incumbent on incoming Attorney General Kathleen Jennings to reopen the investigations into Patrick Miller, not only at the Indian River School District but also the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company.
Change.org Petition: The People Demand A Full Investigation Into Patrick Miller!
The Delaware General Election is in five days. As citizens of The First State cast our votes, we think of many issues that affect how we decide. It could be education or taxes or environmental issues. Many of us vote just for the political party we belong to. But there is one thing that no Delaware elected official or candidate will even whisper because of the firestorm that will be unleashed upon them if they do. Continue reading
I’ve been pretty hard on Delaware Governors in the past four plus years. But sometimes they do things that make me think about things they do that are not directly related to bad education policy. Things that will make Delaware a better place in the long run. Two weeks ago, Delaware Governor John Carney signed Executive Order #24 which makes Delaware a trauma-informed state. This is something we need in Delaware. Delaware is not the best state for mental health services. Families are crying out for help. Sometimes they get it but a lack of training or proper services can turn that help into an issue. Continue reading
I warned them. Many times. Sit at the table and you will be on the table. The Delaware State Education Association was swallowed whole. By who? Continue reading
State Representative Earl Jaques has some mighty bold plans in the 150th General Assembly. The biggest and most controversial will be a bill that would have the state takeover the Christina School District. It is in the works and he is looking for sponsors. Continue reading
It has almost been a year since Delaware Governor John Carney announced his intention to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Christina Wilmington Schools. This partnership between his office, the Christina School District, the Christina Board of Education, and the Delaware Department of Education has been missing one key ingredient. Until today. The Christina Education Association came up with a new MOU which was publicly released today. If this passes, the stage is set for the consolidation of the Christina Wilmington schools. Continue reading
Delaware Governor John Carney and former Delaware Governor Jack Markell cut the ribbon on the three-mile Jack Markell bike trail today up in Wilmington. This memorializes Jack Markell and all the advocacy work he did for biking in Delaware.
The first photo was taken from Markell’s cross-country bike ride in the Summer of 2017. Delaware Senator David Sokola, pictured with Markell, accompanied Markell on about half of his journey. The second picture was satirical in nature on my part, comparing Jack Markell to the even more amazing cross-country biker, Forrest Gump.
As I delve into year five on this blog, sometimes it is healthy to take a look back at my humble beginnings. From the crazy legislation I proposed in 2014 to my modern-day attempt to get a Secretary of Education removed from power, it has been a crazy four plus years! It started out with a plan and turned into so much more! Continue reading
When you have family in the same fire company as Patrick Miller, the fraud/theft king of Delaware, your perspective might be a bit off. For State Representative Stephen Smyk, he might as well give up his seat in the House chamber to Patrick Miller after what he said on the radio this morning!
According to Governor Carney’s public schedule, he might get some blisters on his fingers from signing so many bills. Tomorrow and Wednesday he will be signing 29 bills at various times of the day. In the education world, two big bills will get the ink. The long awaited House Bill #292 which makes drastic changes to the Delaware Autism Program will finally become law. Another big one is Senate Bill #172 which takes steps to improve transparency in education funding. It doesn’t go far enough in my opinion. Nothing will until the public can see where every penny in public education goes.
To see the 29 bills being signed and what they are about, please see below. Continue reading
Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting, under the policies of Delaware Governor John Carney, has transformed the Delaware Department of Education into a support organization. Before Bunting, Carney recognized the DOE as an enforcement organization during former Governor Jack Markell’s two terms. Carney put it on Bunting to make that transformation. Did she succeed? Continue reading