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: