The priority school crisis in Delaware has reached a fever pitch this week. Today, the Christina School District “Negotiation” team is making a last ditch effort to try to negotiate with the despotic Delaware Department of Education. Most believe it is for naught, as the DOE and Governor Markell have already made up their mind and are gearing up to present this to the public.
There are still a few things that could stop or stall this authoritarian initiative. Unreleased FOIAs could give insight to any irregularities or outright illegal actions on the part of the DOE. The DOE could accept CSD’s new MOU (about the same time as North Korea becomes a free and open country). Someone or a group could file an injunction which would buy some time for other alternatives. A petition will be hand delivered to Mark Murphy’s office today with well over 600 signatures by Delaware Parents & Teachers For Public Education, maybe this will have some weight. The 148th General Assembly will step in and put a stop to it.
This is what I think will happen: Meeting goes south today, Markell makes an announcement either on his weekly public address tomorrow or Monday, an injunction is filed, much awaited FOIAs get released Monday that will be so heavily redacted nothing will make sense, and this starts getting sold to the public the week after next if the injunction doesn’t prevent that. And for those who think Red Clay is in the clear, think again.
Here’s the thing though: This violates Federal law. There are many students with IEPs. ANY change in placement is an IEP Team decision. So unless every single student’s IEP Team had the opportunity to be given every single choice and decided on it, any priority school MOU is illegal. We are dealing with least restrictive environment, FAPE, and educational placement here. Any change, whether it is extending the school day, or Extended School Year summer classes, or a change from public school district to charter is something the IEP Team decides, not the Delaware DOE or Governor Markell.
So if Markell and the DOE want to go ahead with their plans, go right ahead. But you will be facing the above. And I will personally spearhead this special education initiative. You always forget about the special needs students, don’t you?
UPDATED, 1/9/15: As of 1:00pm, the negotiations are still going on. I will keep you updated if I hear anything!