The Delaware Dept. of Education must think the sun rises and sets with the Rodel Foundation of Delaware. Today, at the State Board of Education meeting, an update was given on the Every Student Succeeds Act Stakeholder Consultation (ESSA). Many things in the below presentation and what were said sent major red flags up.
The biggest concerned Rodel. A question was asked about getting the Chamber of Commerce involved with ESSA. Susan Field-Rogers with the DOE stated that was brought up during consultation with Rodel. A couple of minutes later, Secretary Godowsky chimed in that was brought up during a Vision Advisory Committee meeting. Both of those meetings were closed to the public. And why is Rodel chiming in on other stakeholders to bring into the process? They have no authority over anything involved with ESSA. They are a non-profit foundation. But you would think they run the Delaware DOE.
State Board President Dr. Teri Quinn Gray noticed that local boards were shown as groups the DOE had conversations with. She expressed how she heard from local board members with questions about ESSA and was happy to see that. But then the DOE clarified that local boards were included because they participated in the State Board Workshop on ESSA last month at Grotto’s Pizza in Dover. So they did NOT have one-on-one meetings with local boards but rather list them as participants from a workshop. But the charter leaders they DID meet with. And Rodel. If they are going to meet with charter leaders, who typically have 1-2 buildings to take care of, why aren’t they meeting one-on-one with every single school principal? This is beginning to smell really bad. As well, they said their meeting with the Delaware School Boards Association (DSBA) ties into meeting with local school boards. Huh? No it doesn’t. Not every single local school board belongs to DSBA. Many have opted out of paying the fees to be a part of them.
After it was pointed out at their board meeting last month that legislators need to be a group to consult with, they STILL weren’t listed on their “stakeholder slide”. At what point do they clue the legislators in on any of this? When the ink is dry on the plan?
The DOE made a big deal that no part of the plan has been written and that it will be shaped by all of these meetings. But they did inform the State Board that the US DOE did submit a “draft plan” to all the states. Not that they are required to follow it… Okay…
In terms of the ESSA discussion groups coming out, Field-Rogers said there will be two discussion groups with approximately 30 members in each group. 90 people were nominated. They are in the process of picking members and DSEA and the Charter Schools Network are helping to pick who will be in the groups. I’m seeing a lot of charter love in this process. But for schools that only represent up to 12% of Delaware students I’m not sure those scales are even. And nothing against both of those organizations, but they represent schools and teachers. They are, when it comes right down to it, lobbying organizations. I’m just not digging this process.
Want to know what else is missing on that slide? Parents. But I guess we have to go to the “Community Conversations” to make our voices heard. Aside from the Delaware PTA, there are no other parent groups. No PTOs, no advocacy groups like GACEC or Autism Delaware. There are also NO students. You would think the biggest federal education law to come since 1965 would have some student input. Nope. Not with our education overlords.
These community conversations start next week in Georgetown. I am sending out a plea to Delaware parents to get to these meetings and make your voice heard. Do not let the DOE hijack this process. Let them know what you want, not what they want. The DOE wants people to register for the meetings so they can get a headcount and how many facilitators they will need. I say fill the joint up with parents and those who care about saving public education from the poverty pimps and corporate pirates who want to permanently hijack our schools. Click on the date to register for the meeting(s) you want to go to.