The DOE’s “Rules” For Participation Rate On Smarter Balanced

The Delaware Department of Education apparently has their “business” rules for participation rate on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  While these are more technical, they do show an obvious ignorance of a parent’s right to opt their child out of the high-stakes assessment.  For those parents who are concerned about the data sharing aspect of the test, I would make sure you opt your child out well before the test window even opens up for your school.  Because if they answer six questions on either ELA or Math, they count as a participant.  There are a lot of tricky rules in this, so I would read each one very carefully to determine if your child or student will be counted as a participant or not.  Of course, none of this takes away from your ability to opt your child out.  I highly recommend doing it as soon as possible and ending this high-stakes testing madness!


How Much Authority Does The Delaware DOE Have?

I just found this in Delaware’s Title 14 which seems to grant the Delaware Department of Education a great deal of power and authority.

  • 1606 State Board waiver authority.

The Department of Education shall have the authority to waive or suspend provisions of the Delaware Code in the implementation of programs authorized under this chapter; provided however, that such waiver or suspension of a provision of the Code shall not result in an increased financial obligation to the State. The Department of Education is also authorized to waive or suspend its rules and regulations in order to maximize the projected impact of programs authorized under this chapter. The State Board shall be advised of any waiver of a regulation it must promulgate or approve, and may deny such waiver within 30 days or by the next regularly scheduled meeting, whichever is earlier, of the waiver’s approval by the Department. (69 Del. Laws, c. 464, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 180, § 93.)

Can anyone tell me if this has ever happened and what the hell it means?

Bi-Partisan Education Bill Could Be A Game Changer For Delaware DOE

On Saturday, Delaware State Representative Jeffrey Spiegelman wrote a letter to the editor in The State News.  He announced a new piece of potential legislation that would severely limit some of the shenanigans the Delaware Department of Education has done in recent years.  This bill would prevent the DOE from implementing any rule, regulation, or administrative procedure during a current school year unless approved by the local school board.  They would have to implement any regulations over the summer so the schools can budget accordingly, as well as implement the changes without any interruptions to students and staff in the middle of a school year.

This bill hasn’t even been released yet, but it should gain traction fast.  It seems like every time the DOE wants to make new rules, the local school districts are the ones that face the consequences.  For example, the Priority Schools weren’t even announced until September 4th last year, already into the new school year.  It came as a shock to Christina and Red Clay, and they were not happy about it.  Had this been done over the summer, it could have given the districts and the school boards more time to prepare and strategize before all the students came back.  It would also show the DOE they can’t do whatever they want whenever they want.  It’s easy to sit down in Dover and make all the rules, but the reality on the ground is vastly different.  I look forward to seeing what happens with this legislation!

Spiegelman is in his 2nd term as a Republican State Representative for the 11th District of Delaware.  When he isn’t doing the legislative thing, he is an adjunct professor at Wilmington University and Delaware Technical and Community College.  Other legislators are attached to this potential bill, but as of “press time” I have not received an okay to put their names on it.  The other co-sponsors on the bill are Senator Greg Lavelle and State Representative Earl Jacques who also serves as the head of the House Education Committee.