Gateway. Priority Schools. Smarter Balanced. Standards Based IEPs. Common Core. Personalized Learning. Rodel. Vision. Relay Graduate School. Teach For America. Governor Markell.
These are the ways Governor Markell, under the long-term strategic plans of Rodel, using the DOE as his shadow puppets, has systematically and methodically destroyed education as we know it in our state. Some of us know this, and others are still living in the haze.
Sometimes, to move forward, you have to look back. Last night, I journeyed back to last April. My family’s situation with my son’s former charter school was starting to end and we were laboriously working on an IEP for my son at his new public elementary school. But it felt like it wasn’t enough. I started to research what led to all this. I contacted a blogger named Kilroy, and we had many sidebar chats. One day, I emailed him and advised him I figured it all out: Rodel ran education in this state. They didn’t care what you or I thought, they had their vision, and to hell with anyone that got in their way.
We have allowed this to happen. Because we haven’t spoken as one voice. It’s hard being a special needs parent. We all know this. If it isn’t impacting my child, then we just don’t make the time to help. Well guess what, everything is impacting your child now. I’m sure a few weeks ago all the parents at Gateway thought they were secure. I’m sure last summer some of the parents at the Priority schools thought their children were in good hands. We have a standardized test coming up next Spring that a lot of our kids are rigorously prepped for every day. This test is so bad the company that made it doesn’t even know how to set proficiency levels. Our teachers are being held at bay, getting screwed over left and right, held with a gun to their head every day with the threat of lower pay and the future of their already low-paying job on the line. None of our schools are safe anymore. Our educators aren’t safe. And our children aren’t safe.
When I was chatting with Kilroy, he told me this state needs a unified special needs parent group. Like a PTA for special needs parents. As pieces, we can make some noise, ruffle some feathers, but at the end of the day nothing changes. As a whole, a large unified group, representing 13.5% of children in this state, we can make a difference. When one of our schools is threatened, we stand up. When one of our kids is being mistreated, we stand up. When legislation is introduced that can impact our kids, we stand up. This is the only way we can make true and lasting change in Delaware.
We can NOT be a part of a government group. Not PIC. Not GACEC. Not the DOE. Not the Delaware PTA. Or a PTO. Once you are in the matrix, you don’t leave. Don’t get me wrong, some individuals have made great changes to the system by being in these groups. Some have gone on to become legislators. That’s a good thing. However, for the services and supports we need now, we need each other. We can no longer rely on a Governor who really doesn’t care about what our kids need. Gateway has proven that numbers on a piece of paper are more important than our children’s needs.
I would like to see this group start in January 2015. Or sooner. We can all go to the public comment meeting for Gateway on December 10th at the Delaware DOE. They need our support. We can protest the priority schools. Because the state DOE has said nothing about the needs of those special needs children. It hasn’t even been a part of the conversation.
Please leave comment and let’s start planning together. This isn’t impossible. It only takes a few people to unite and start spreading the word. Reading this and agreeing is not enough. Many of us have had our differences. So we talk about them, we hash them out. Maybe you think your kid is doing fine and everything is alright. Great, let’s talk and see if that’s really the case. We cannot live in a bubble anymore. Because if you think for one minute all of this Common Core and standardized testing is going to lead to a greater future for your child, you are very wrong.