I expected there to be some fireworks over at Glasgow High School today. There were. District officials came rushing over at 8am and met with Principal Harold “Butch” Ingram. Ingram then held a staff meeting to let folks know what was going on. Cue some Spin Doctors music here readers! I sent an email to Butch to let him know he is more than welcome to come on here and let the fine people of Delaware know what happened. I sent this to Ingram, Superintendent Richard Gregg, and the entire Christina Board of Education minutes ago. Continue reading My Email To Glasgow High School Principal Butch Ingram, Richard Gregg, & Christina’s Board of Education
Which districts and charters saw big jumps with student enrollment? Which went down? What is the state of special education in Delaware? What key demographic is rising at a fast rate which contributes significantly to the budget woes in our state? Which charter school, based on their current enrollment, should no longer be considered financially viable and should be shut down? What is the fastest-growing sub-groups in Delaware? And which cherry-picking charters continue to not serve certain populations? Continue reading Enrollment Count Report for 2017-2018 & Demographic Information For Districts & Charters: The Rise, The Surge, & The Cherry-Picking!
The Delaware DOE released the September 30th student counts. This helps to determine funding units for each school. Special Education is determined as one of three categories: Basic for 4-12, Intensive or Complex. There is no funding for Basic Special Education for students in Kindergarten to 3rd Grade, even though State Rep. Kim Williams attempted to get a bill passed during the first half of the 148th General Assembly. I sincerely hope her House Bill 30 gets passed in 2016, because these kids need this!
For the state, the average percentage of the 19,870 special education students out of the total enrollment of 136,027 is 14.6%. Traditional School Districts have 18,580 while Charters have 1,290. To put this in perspective, 18% of students in Traditional School Districts are Special Education compared to Charters at 10.1%. Had Kim Williams House Bill 30 passed, 2,467 students in basic special education in grades K-3 would have received the extra state funding they rightfully deserve. Instead, schools get nothing for these students. This is 12.4% of the special education population in Delaware that is being underserved by a funding issue.
Charter School enrollment grew by 12.7% with an increase of 1,591 students. Last year, 13,521 Delaware students attended charters, this year it is 14,112. Five new Delaware charters began this year, but two were shut down last year. Some of the schools, with Delaware Met loud and center, are having special education issues.
Without further ado, let’s get to the numbers! For each school district or charter, the first number is the special education percentage, followed by last year, then this year’s student count, followed by last year.
Traditional School Districts
Appoquinimink: 11.9%, last year 11.1%, Student Count: 10, 378, last year 9,870
Brandywine: 14.4%, last year 13.3%, Student Count: 10,580, last year 10,740
Caesar Rodney: 15.6%, last year 14.7%, Student Count: 7,221, last year 7,249
Cape Henlopen: 17.3%, last year 16.3%, Student Count: 5,170, last year 5,075
Capital: 18.9%, last year 17.4%, Student Count: 6,486, last year 6,665
Christina: 18.8%, last year 17.9%, Student Count: 15,553, last year 16,255
Colonial: 16.4%, last year 14.8%, Student Count: 9,763, last year 9,825
Delmar: 9.8%, last year 9.1%, Student Count: 1,347, last year 1,367
Indian River: 16.5%, last year 16.0%, Student Count: 10,171, last year 9,842
Lake Forest: 15.9%, last year 14.9%, Student Count: 3,794, last year 3,812
Laurel: 15.5%, last year 15.0%, Student Count: 2,221, last year 2,177
Milford: 14.1%, last year 13.6%, Student Count: 4,119, last year 4,197
New Castle County Vo-Tech: 12.0%, last year 12.4%, Student Count: 4,698, last year 4,629
Poly-Tech: 8.4%, last year 9.1%, Student Count: 1,194, last year 1,192
Red Clay Consolidated: 13.5%, last year 11.9%, Student Count: 16,094, last year 16,302
Seaford: 17.2%, last year 17.1%, Student Count: 3,473, last year 3,509
Smyrna: 15.3%, last year 14.4%, Student Count: 5,233, last year 5,279
Sussex Tech: 6.9%, last year 6.9%, Student Count: 1,444, last year 1,545
Woodbridge: 12.5%, last year 12.5%, Student Count: 2,466, last year 2,384
While a few districts stayed the same, it is obvious the bigger districts are actually rising with special education students at great rates. Last year, the special education population was 17.2% for traditional school districts, but it is up to 18% this year, a 4.4% increase. I’m not digging the vo-tech numbers and their downward trend. The vo-tech percentages as a whole are actually lower than the charter average. 7,336 Delaware students are attending vo-techs, but their special education average is 10.4%, much lower than the traditional school districts.
Last year, traditional school districts had 104,388 students and this year they went slightly down to 103,335 for a loss of 1,053 students. For the four Wilmington school districts, they all lost 1,132 students this year, with the majority of those belonging to Christina which lost 702 students. The charters gained 1,591 students. But did their special education numbers rise as well?
* means they just opened this year
Academia Antonia Alonso: 2.2%, last Year .9%, Student Count: 320, last year 221
Academy of Dover: 9.5%, last year 11.7%, Student Count: 284, last year 290
Campus Community: 6.7%, last Year 8.3%, Student Count: 417, last year 410
Charter School of Wilmington: .5%, last year .2%, Student Count: 972, last year 972
Del. Academy of Public Safety & Security: 19.5%, last year 16.5%, Student Count: 303, last year 363
Delaware College Prep: 1.6%, last year 2.5%, Student Count: 186, last year 203
*Delaware Design Lab High School: 20.6%, Student Count: 233
*Delaware Met: 27.9%, Student Count: 215
Delaware Military Academy: 3.9%, last year 3.0%, Student Count: 564, last year 569
Early College High School: 10.5%, last year 2.3%, Student Count: 209, last year 129
EastSide Charter: 12.9%, last year 14.8%, Student Count: 443, last year 418
Family Foundations Academy: 8.6%, last year 5.3%, Student Count: 792, last year 811
*First State Military Academy: 19.3%, Student Count: 202
First State Montessori Academy: 7.4%, last year 5.4%, Student Count: 325, last year 280
*Freire Charter School: 6.4%, Student Count: 234
Gateway Lab School: 60.8%, last year 59.9%, Student Count: 212, last year 212
*Great Oaks: 16.0%, Student Count: 212
Kuumba Academy: 10.5%, last year 6.3%, Student Count: 644, last year 464
Las Americas Aspiras: 8.5%, last year 5.7%, Student Count: 639, last year 541
MOT Charter School: 6.8%, last year 6.1%, Student Count: 1,013, last year 869
Newark Charter School: 6.4%, last year 5.6%, Student Count: 2,140, last year 1,948
Odyssey Charter School: 4.9%, last year 4.4%, Student Count: 1,160, last year 933
Positive Outcomes: 62.7%, last year 65.9%, Student Count: 126, last year 126
Prestige Academy: 27.2%, last year 22.0%, Student Count: 224, last year 246
Providence Creek Academy: 5.1%, last year 5.1%, Student Count: 690, last year 688
Sussex Academy: 4.9%, last year 3.6%, Student Count: 594, last year 498
Thomas Edison: 7.0%, last year 7.1%, Student Count: 758, last year 745
Last year, the charters had special education populations in total of 8.6%. This year they rose to 10.1%. This is a rise of 14.85% in students with disabilities receiving IEPs at Delaware charter schools, but don’t forget, they also had an increased student count of 1,591 students this year. They are up a bit from last year’s percentage of 12.7%, which is good. But it seems like the bulk of new IEPs are going to some of the newer charter schools, like Delaware Met, Delaware Design Lab, Great Oaks and First State Military. They are all well above the state average. But the much vaunted “zero tolerance” charter stumbles at the gate with a very low 6.4%. Charter School of Wilmington more than doubled their special education numbers. But really, going from .2% to .5% is a joke. Of concern are the two Dover charters who look like they are experiencing a downward trend in special education numbers. That isn’t good, which accounts for Capital’s very large rise in percentage. Down in Sussex Academy, it looks like the bulk of parents of special needs children chooses to send them to traditional school districts over Sussex Academy and Sussex Tech. My big question though, if Providence Creek stayed the same, and Smyrna went up, where are the First State Military special education kids coming from? This is a high school, so perhaps they are getting a lot of the Campus Community students that graduated from 8th grade there? Or maybe more from the Middletown-Odessa area? Who knows!
For student populations, the charters are definitely seeing upward movement, but one thing to remember is many of them are adding newer grades. When a charter is approved, they can’t just open up every grade at once. So it is a slow build. For already established charters, you see them leveling out around the same numbers from year to year. If I were Delaware College Prep and Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security, I would be very worried about those falling numbers. Since the districts aren’t adding many numbers in your area, I would assume the bulk of your losses are going to other charters. So they don’t just take from the traditionals, they also feed off each other. It looks like the Middletown-Odessa area is having a huge population boom. Between Appoquinimink and MOT Charter School’s rise, that is a total of nearly 750 new students between the two. I would have expected Appoquinimink to decrease with the new MOT high school, but that isn’t the case at all.
It is obvious special education is on the rise in Delaware. But are all schools implementing IEPs with fidelity? I would find it very difficult to believe they are. In this era of accountability and standardized test scores, it has to be very hard for the administration and teachers of any school to keep up with it all. The DOE has so many demands going out to our schools, traditional and charter alike. And in the next year or so, all of these IEPs will transition to “standards-based” IEPs if they haven’t already. These are controversial, but many teachers swear they work better. The jury is still out on that one.
In the meantime, email your state legislators today and let them know they need to support House Bill 30 no matter what the budget says. The bill has been stuck in the Appropriations Committee for 9 months now. 2,467 Delaware students are not getting the supports they need. The funds this would generate would give these students more teachers and paraprofessionals. This is a crime this wasn’t included in this “needs-based” funding. There is a crucial need, and Delaware isn’t meeting it.
To find out how each school did in the traditional school districts with special education percentages and student counts by grade, they are all in the below report. Just hit the arrow on the bottom to get to the next page, or hit the full-screen button on the bottom right.
Today, on Town Square Delaware, members of The Delaware Met Board of Directors broke the public veil of silence and spoke out on the issues surrounding the school. Based on this information and other information that has been sent my way, I have put a picture together of the events that happened last week at the embattled charter school
On Monday, a squirrel got into a transformer causing the power to go out at the school. As a result, there was no school on 9/21. On Tuesday, the students returned to school. Where it gets a bit hazy is what happened next. But what is certain there was no school from 9/23 to 9/25 due to emergency professional development for the teachers:
With the blessing of the Department of Education, we chose to give our teachers professional development time last week to assess these needs and make adjustment.
I believe the school, based on discussion from their Monday night board meeting, did attempt to reach out to parents to let them know about these unforeseen days off which were not on their website calendar. On Wednesday 9/23, based on their agenda for their 9/28 meeting, the Board met in a Special Board meeting. There was no agenda on their website, so it is difficult to surmise what was discussed at this board meeting. On Friday, shortly before noon, I received two emails indicating the school was closing the next week due to violence, gang activity, fighting and Innovative Schools, the school’s management organization, severing ties. I emailed the DOE and the school immediately for any type of confirmation. To date, no one responded to any of my emails. The school has this information, and chose to ignore me completely.
At the same time, we began to be made aware of whispers in our community and beyond that the school had already chosen to close. To answer these rumors, it was important for the Board to hold a special meeting.
This would have been the second special board meeting, so what was the reason for the first? I knew of Delaware Met, but up until Friday I had never heard a peep about this school aside from an occasional article here and there. The only time I wrote about them on here was for their performance award application and their award of $175,000.00. The school had and still has every opportunity to contact me, and they know how to. Back to Friday, a few other sources confirmed the earlier email I received. To be honest, I thought the email was a joke, or someone trying to give me false information, which happens more than you think as a blogger. I’m sure mainstream reporters can attest to this as well. Other sources confirmed this information, except for one part: the part about Innovative Schools cutting ties with the school. For someone to send that to me, it would have to be someone with inside information. Since other sources were already vetting all the other information, I knew this story had legs so I published it. While the DOE and I are battling on several issues, I sincerely reached out to them and the school.
Over the weekend, I did an extensive amount of research on the school, their student population, their application with the DOE, their finances, how they acquired the property at 920 N. French St, and other material on the property kept popping up as I was looking. As I collected the information, it provided a wealth of articles. In the meantime, the school put up their notice of the second special board meeting at some point over the weekend which I saw Sunday night. As well, they put an announcement up on their Facebook page about an important announcement the next day and they hoped everyone would be there. I’m not sure what their announcement was, but I responded to their post and addressed what I heard point blank. To date, no one responded to my public plea for information.
On Monday, I focused on the history of the property. Meanwhile, the school was giving information to the News Journal and alleging that the “rumors” were causing more harm than help. Rumors which they knew came from this blog, they had my email address, they could have responded on Facebook, or even commented on the many articles that went up over four days. Meanwhile, thousands of Delawareans were reading what I wrote with complete silence from the school aside from cryptic Facebook messages and even more cryptic board agenda announcements where they announced they were going to vote if they should keep their charter. Without a charter, there is no school. No school would ever put up a notice like that over “rumors”.
On Monday evening, the board voted to keep the school open. There was a great deal of discussion concerning enrollment, best practices for the teachers, financial viability, and school culture. Many members of the community attended this board meeting that would not have normally if the “rumors” had not surfaced. Serious questions arose out of this board meeting and deep concerns about the school’s ability to service and educate a very high population of special needs students. Many of the teachers are not seasoned, and the school had (at that point) two special education teachers with a population of 60 IEPs, and more projected. Legislators, reporters, and citizens attended this board meeting, and the bulk of them left feeling very perplexed at the administration of this school.
I’m not sure if Delaware charter schools have received a “don’t respond to the blogger” email. But more often than not, no one from the charters respond after an inquiry before I publish or after I publish based on information that is already in the public domain. I am open to communication. If you disagree with something or find my information is not factual, please reach out to me. I have fixed information based on a different perception or not being able to find information many times. Most reporters have. I don’t consider myself a “journalist” per se, but I do devote quite a bit of free time looking for answers and I write based on what I found. I also offer my opinion which sets me apart from the typical newspaper or television reporter.
Yes, I had a bad response with a charter once upon a time. Yes, I don’t like the idea of unelected boards. No, I don’t hate charters. I hate what many of the adults do at charters. I get charter parents going ballistic on me cause I dare to write about “their” school. If they want to give me facts, I am up for that. But one commenter seemed offended that I dared to question what she wrote. It’s a free world. And while I respect anonymity, understand that I have no idea who you are. I don’t know if you are the school, the DOE, or a parent. I was taught by a college professor that they key to life is not in the answers, but in the questions. I will always ask the questions based on the facts that are presented to me or that I find.
With that being said, these are my biggest questions concerning The Delaware Met AND the property:
- When did the school know they had a large population of special needs students coming and what did they do to prepare for it?
- Who is their special education coordinator?
- Why do they have no financial information on their website?
- What does Innovative Schools do for $380,000 in two plus years?
- Why did Innovative Schools pay $1 million to the Charter School Development Corporation who in turn bought 920 N. French St from the State of Delaware for an undisclosed and not in the public domain amount?
- Why does The Delaware Met need Innovative Schools?
- Why does one of their board members allow the school to pay the company he is a chair of?
- Why does another board member work for the same company that handles the school’s finances?
- Did the school reach out to other charters or districts for help with their student population?
- Did a student bring a gun to the school on the very first day?
- What was the purpose of the board’s special board meeting on 9/23?
- What was the big announcement revealed to students on Monday 9/28?
- How is a student with an IEP accommodated while at an internship?
- Does any member of the board benefit in any way from an internship by a student?
- Has the school considered hiring a School Resource Officer?
- Where is their student handbook?
- What is their enrollment as of 11:59pm this evening, including basic, moderate, complex and intensive subgroups for their large special education population?
- Are their teachers adequately trained to determine what is behavior and what may be a manifestation of a student’s disability?
- Do they have the staff to complete IEP meetings since so many of the IEPs may need to be relooked at based on their curriculum?
- How much did the State of Delaware sell 920 N. French St. to Charter School Development Corporation and why is this not on any public website?
- Where did the State of Delaware put this revenue?
- Is there any immediate danger to staff or students at the school due to its Brownfield Site designation?
- What was the nature of the work Duffield Associates did for the school last year?
- What is the DOE’s duty to ensure new charter schools are ready from day one to run a school?
- What are the DOE’s next steps in terms of this school?
While I understand the school can’t answer all these questions, I welcome Innovative Schools or the State of Delaware to answer them as well if it applies to them. You may not feel like you have to answer them, but I’m like a dog without a bone sometimes…
Steve Newton is a Professor of History and Science at Delaware State University. He also ran for State Representative last fall as an independent. I fully endorsed him at the time, and it would have been very interesting to add him to the dynamic down at Legislative Hall. Steve wrote an excellent post today on Facebook about what happens after House Bill 50 is decided on. With Steve’s permission, I share his awesome ideas with you. Please let me know what you think and we can start to build a foundation for something.
The important truth to understand is that Opt-out is really a political and not really an educational strategy. That’s not a bad thing, but critical to understand. First, opting-out as an individual family educational strategy only avoids visiting the consequences of high-stakes testing on your child; it DOES NOT change the aim of the several months of classroom experience before that, which is–in many schools–directed preparation toward a test that the student will not take. By itself, opt-out will only be a bump in the road, unless …
… unless we recognize that opt-out is the most effective political strategy that anti-corporate-reformers have come up with to date. Resistance to Common Core has been too easily pigeon-holed as right wing or conservative, and the potential coalition of left and right wings behind education is going to get severely undermined in a presidential election year. Simply put, Democrats as a group are not going to vote for Rand Paul or Marco Rubio simply based on Common Core.
But opt-out is different. Opt-out focuses on the potential harm (or lack of value) to MY child, and offers ME a chance to do something. Moreover, it is about local politics. The Governor may rant and rave (he usually does), but this is an issue where (again, in an election year) voters WILL punish their legislators. Moreover, opt-out has DSEA and DPTA back on the same page, resisting a government mandate.
Even if opt-out passes, however, the momentum will be lost UNLESS an equally wide-ranging follow-up goal is established. This will have to be selected carefully. Resistance to charters or teacher evaluation programs is all well and good for education activists, teachers, and other insiders, but those are unfortunately NOT propositions that are going to reach as wide an audience as opt-out has. There are way too many pro-charter parents and voters, and way too few people who will do more than shake their head about teacher evaluations. They certainly won’t vote out the state rep who got their sewer fixed because of it.
Here’s my initial suggestion, (and being a libertarian there’s an agorist twist): let’s put DSEA, DPTA, and as many parents and academic partners as we can find at work on a new Delaware Content Standards Project. We did this as part of Pat Forgione’s New Directions agenda two decades ago, and there is a lot to learn from that process. First lesson: we don’t need to have government sanction or even government participation–in spite of how they act, for example, Rodel is not part of the government. We can create our own organization to do this work, and invite the districts to participate. If DOE would like to observe the process, well, it’s still supposedly a free country.
Second, let’s invert the usual approach. Common Core started with ELA and Math. Instead of going head-to-head with that initiative, let’s start with one or more of the following:
Standards for integrating the Arts and Music into the core academic curriculum.
Standards for developing interdisciplinary units that combine Social Studies and Science to examine how technology and new research is affecting the way we live.
Standards for the services necessary for special needs children with disabilities not normally covered under the easier rubrics of IDEA.
Standards that integrate healthy living (Physical Education/Health) with Civics (building healthy communities) and Technology (building platforms–apps if you will–to allow people to have more control over what they eat, how they exercise, and how they live).
The beautiful part about starting here is that by starting with integrative standards, not content-level standards, we get back toward actual teaching and learning that matters. Meeting the Math and ELA proficiency requirements is easily addressed within that more meaningful context.
More to the point, these standards would be voluntary, but schools that met specific benchmarks toward implementing them could receive certification from DSEA, DPTA, National Council for Social Studies, and other organizations. Eventually, if we did this right over a 2-3 year period, I’m pretty sure we could even build up some financial support from a variety of carefully considered sources.
This is an endeavor that, realistically speaking, I doubt will happen. I doubt it because I’m not the person to put it together, and any group of people that gets together with the time, energy, and motivation is going to come up with its own plan. But I offer this as an alternative–a non-governmental political alternative–run by parents and teachers themselves to having to always sit back and respond to the horrible things being done to education today, rather than initiative our own mechanisms for positive change.
In other words, it is time to go on offense in a strategic sense.
Steve is absolutely right on all of this. What I love about the opt-out movement in Delaware is the bi-partisanship of it all. Democrats and Republicans are coming together and uniting in a common cause…our children. Steve is not asking to lead a group, and I can’t say I would want that either, but coming together would be good. I tried to get something going with parents of special needs children last summer, but this blog was brand new and the readership certainly wasn’t anywhere close to where it is now. We have already changed the conversation with the opt-out movement. Let’s keep talking….
People have asked me why I care about the priority schools all the way up in Wilmington when I live in Dover. My reply is we should all care. Not only because what the state and the DOE are doing is fundamentally wrong, but also because if it can happen there it can happen anywhere in our state if we don’t make a stand. I am also very concerned about what happens with all of the students with disabilities who receive special education services.
Here are the facts: If the Red Clay and Christina school districts do not sign the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) by September 30th, the Delaware DOE will take them over. This is no secret. All indications are leading to the school district boards refusing to do so. Rumors, although unsubstantiated, indicate these six schools would become charter schools.
For the September 30th, 2013 count, the six schools had the following special education populations:
Bancrof, Christina 14.7% 61 out of 206
Bayard, Christina 19.0% 88 out of 463
Warner, Red Clay 15.4% 101 out of 541
Shortlidge, Red Clay 14.0% 45 out of 317
Stubbs, Christina 9.5% 31 out of 325
Highlands, Red Clay 11.5% 32 out of 350
In comparison, the “great” charter schools Markell referred to had the following special ed populations:
East Side Charter 15.1% 61 out of 403 (students with Special Education did not score proficient in scoring)
Kuumba Academy 5.7% 17 out of 298 (not enough students to even count in the proficiency figures)
So what happens to these 358 special education students?
358 childen with IEPs and special education services may be transferred to new charter schools. As a whole, Delaware charter schools have been notorious for not being able to adequately handle special education correctly. Very few even accept the most severely complex students with disabilities.
Taking away the potential legal hurdles that may come up for the DOE, such as union contracts, ownership of the school buildings, and other litigation that may come up, say these students go to a new charter school. Since it is essentially a transfer, an IEP would have to be reviewed. Governor Markell has already said these schools will be put through a rigorous process to get the students to proficiency status. He announced after school activities for tutoring and to get students back on track. Children with special needs often have enough problems getting through a regular school day. To add longer time to the day will be a severe burden for these kids.
The “rigor” of common core will be put to the test with special needs children at these new schools. I have a theory that out of these six schools, one of the new charters will focus solely on all of these displaced students with IEPs. This would eliminate inclusion and the least restricted environment. It would also allow the other five schools proficiency scores to automatically rise on standardized testing since the “specials” are no longer part of the equation. This is not about “closing the gaps” as the DOE, Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and Governor Markell have stated. Even more far reaching is the belief from many that the DOE will grandstand these achievements, and try to have even more reach across the state with this experiment.
If this is true, every single special needs parent in Delaware needs to be very concerned. Our children will be segregated from “normal” children and a free appropriate public education will become a joke. Even worse, for these special needs children at the priority schools, this will become a TRIPLE SEGREGATION: special needs, low income and minorities. This sinister agenda is happening right before our very eyes and we need to unite. If I were any parent of special needs children at these six schools, you need to speak now. You need to organize into a group and come down to Dover, straight to the DOE office, to the Governor’s office, and anywhere your collected voice can carry weight. Demand that Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy resign or call for his termination. You need to write to the newspapers, the blogs, and contact TV and radio stations. Call AND email your elected officials: State House Representatives and Senators. Let our US Senator and House Representative representing Delaware know your complaints. Contact the US Department of Education. Let President Obama know. Contact the Office of Civil Rights. You need to picket where it will be noticed.
The IEP Task Force has their next meeting on Tuesday, September 23rd, at 4:30 pm. There are two locations: The Carvel Building in Wilmington and The Collette Center in Dover. If you are working, ask to leave early. Bring your children with you. Tell the task force your fears. Let them know you are not okay with this.
In ten days, by October 1st, you may not have any more options. This is short notice, but your children will be severely affected by this. There is no time to wait. If you have any doubt in your mind, you need to do this now. Because once it happens, you will live with regret that you didn’t speak up sooner.
Since I wrote my article yesterday about the new “Standards Based IEPs” the Delaware DOE are “consulting” with school districts, I have heard from many teachers across the USA. What I am hearing is shocking and appalling. I cannot reveal any names of these teachers as they fear retaliation and apprisal stemming from what they have told me. Apparently, standards based IEPs are not just a Delaware thing. Many states are adopting this new form of IEP. Many special education teachers are firmly against what these new IEPs are based on. When they speak out against it to their administators or school districts, they are punished. Some have been suspended, and others have been suspended without pay. Others have been switched off a particular child’s IEP. For the sole crime of using their freedom of speech to address what they feel violates the spirit of an IEP. This is a sin beyond measure. What has our country come to when those we hire to instruct our children are punished for speaking about what is best for special needs children. Aside from their parents, they know these children best. They know what their strengths and weaknesses are. This should be illegal. I am surprised more teacher unions aren’t addressing this matter. What has become of education in America?
Many parents as well have reached out on this topic and feel this is not what is best for their children with IEPs. To say they are furious would be putting it mildly. Does this mean that existing IEPs will all have to be rewritten when this rolls out everywhere? Where is the parent as well as the rest of the IEP team’s input? An IEP is decided by an IEP team, not a state DOE, or the US DOE. To change what has been in existence for years by a regime that really doesn’t care what the people think is very arrogant. This is not America. It has become an authoritarian dictatorship, where those who speak out against it are either put down, or worse, punished. This affect MILLIONS of lives. With dwindling support from teachers and parents, it is scary to think what will become of education in our country if it continues on it’s current track.