The Dream Becomes A Reality: Exceptional Advocacy for Delaware Students

It all starts with an idea.  But ideas that roll around in your mind will always be just that.  It is now time for action!  Therefore, this is the birth of Exceptional Advocacy for Delaware Students.

For almost four years I’ve been writing about education in good old Delaware.  It’s taken me from the bottom of Sussex all the way to the tip-top parts of the state.  I’ve been to Legislative Hall and the Delaware DOE building more times than I can count.  And nothing has changed.  In fact, I’m going to say it is getting worse.  Especially with special education.  But it isn’t just that.  It is also issues dealing with school discipline, race, gender, bullying, classroom management, class sizes, safety, and trauma coming into our schools in ways our educators are just now starting to fathom and understand.

To that end, I am taking my email/Facebook/social media/cell phone advocacy out of the digital world and into the schools.  This will be a huge task and I need your help!

These are the issues I am willing to advocate for students:

Special Education: whether it is IEPs or 504 plans, it is important to know your child’s rights, the parental rights, and the rights of the school.  Many parents feel overwhelmed in IEP meetings.  Trying to learn about federal IDEA law, Delaware State Code, and all the pending special education legislation is a task in itself.  Do you have a child with a unique disability that may warrant very specific goals or accommodations in their IEP?

School Discipline: does the punishment fit the crime?  Does the punishment meet the criteria of the school student code of conduct?  Does it follow state law?  If a student has an IEP or 504 plan was it a manifestation of their disability or just poor choices?  What are the rights of students when there are School Resource Officers, constables, or armed security?  When is physical restraint warranted?  How does it work with transportation and busing when a discipline issue comes up?

Trauma: Is your child going through a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder based on violence in their neighborhood?  Or in their own home?  Are their grades falling behind as a result of this?  Are they acting out?  These are students that may not be special education but need an advocate to help schools and teachers sift through these issues so they can give your child the best education possible.

Bullying: Is your child being bullied?  Are you finding the school isn’t doing everything they can to put a stop to it?  What steps can you take to make sure they do?

These are my goals:

To serve any of the above needs or potential conflict a parent may have with a school.

To guide parents on the appropriate ways to deal with the folks in the schools.  This isn’t as simple as it looks, and when things escalate, there is a proper chain of steps to go through.

To work with every school district and charter school in the state to make sure Parent Council Groups for special education are up and running.

To advocate meaningful dialogue between parents and schools.  This is crucial.  But it is also important to make sure there is one adult in the room who can be unbiased and impartial.  Screaming heads don’t get you far.  It might feel good in the short-term, but it is not conducive to the best interests of the one person who matters the most- your child!

To inform parents of their child’s rights and how that applies to the school setting.  To inform parents of the differences between legislation and regulation and what is enforceable and what is not.

To make sure due process rights are followed to the letter of the law in discipline situations.

I am not an attorney nor do I pretend to be.  I am just a parent with my own special needs child who has run the gauntlet with Delaware schools.  If your child’s school building doesn’t know me directly, they know of me.  All the district and charter leaders know me as well as the legislators.  I have contacts all over the place and know exactly who to go to when things need to happen.  I’ve helped parents out for years but it is time to take it to the next level.

I will be doing this work at no cost.  But any organization or business (whatever this turns out to be based on demand) needs funding.  Pure and simple.  So I am asking for donations from folks in Delaware who see this growing need in our state.  Whether it is a dollar or more, every bit counts.  I am willing to go up and down our state to help our kids.  I am centrally located in Dover so my door is open for all!

If you are of mind to help get this going and help sustain this, any contributions are certainly welcome!  Please go to the Exceptional Advocacy for Delaware Students page here: https://www.gofundme.com/exceptional-advocacy-for-delaware

If you are a parent who needs help in dealing with a situation involving your child at a Delaware school, please contact me as soon as possible.  My email is kjohlandt70@gmail.com and we can exchange phone numbers from there.

The Full Title 14 Subchapter Which Exposes The Delaware DOE As Liars To Parents

Delaware DOE, Please pay attention.  This is the law for education.  It’s called Title 14.  I’ve been telling you this since December.  Please read this subchapter and don’t just refer to paragraph 173.  I bolded the parts to make it easier.  This subchapter defines individuals for this subchapter.  The definitions provided in clear writing give exact meaning to the “individuals” WHO ARE NOT PARENTS!!!!

TITLE 14

Education

Free Public Schools

CHAPTER 1. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Subchapter IV. State Assessment System Security and Violations

For purposes of this subchapter only, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

(1) ”Assessment administration” means the range of activities from the initial procurement of secure assessment materials including those delivered via the computer through testing and the return of secure assessment materials to the Department or its agents;

(2) ”Assessment site” means the physical location of the assessment administration, including a computer lab, classroom, or other room;

(3) ”Department” means the Delaware Department of Education;

(4) ”Individual” means a student, teacher, administrator, local or state school board member, or other employee, agent or contractor employed by the Delaware public school system whether local or at the state level, and including an employee, agent or contractor of a charter school;

(5) ”Log-in” means the process of accessing the assessment website;

(6) ”School district” means any school district, special school or charter school created pursuant to the provisions

of this title;

(7) ”Secure browser” means the computer browser that prevents the student from accessing functions of the computer that are not allowed during assessment;

(8) ”State Assessment System” means the assessment program established pursuant to subchapter III of this chapter, including the assessments administered pursuant thereto; and

(9) ”Student identification number” means the unique identification number assigned to each student in the State under which his or her student records are maintained.

73 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 53, §§ 23-25.;

(a) The Department shall promulgate rules regulations to ensure the security of the assessment administration, training of personnel and collection and reporting of assessment data.

(b) The Department’s rules and regulations shall provide for:

(1) The security of the printed materials during assessment administration and the storage under lock and key of all secure assessment materials, including answer documents, before and after assessment administration;

(2) Procedures to safeguard computer access information and use of the secure browser, including the printing of assessment content;

(3) The proper administration of assessments and the monitoring of assessment administrations by school district personnel; and

(4) Procedures for the accurate and timely collection, storage and retrieval of state assessment system materials and data.

73 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 53, §§ 26-30.;

It is an assessment security violation for an individual to fail to follow state assessment system administration procedures promulgated by the Department, and no individual shall:

(1) Give any examinee access to secure assessment items or materials except in the regular course of an authorized administration of the state assessment;

(2) Give unauthorized individuals or other persons access to secure assessment items or materials;

(3) Copy, reproduce, use, or otherwise disclose in any manner inconsistent with assessment security regulations and procedures any portion of the secure assessment materials;

(4) Provide answers during the assessment administration either orally, in writing, or by any other means to an examinee;

(5) Coach any examinee during assessment administration by giving the examinee answers to secure assessment questions or otherwise directing or guiding a response or by altering or interfering with the examinee’s response in any way;

(6) Fail to follow security regulations and procedures for the storage, distribution, collection and return of secure assessment materials or fail to account for all secure assessment materials before, during and after assessment administration;

(7) Fail to properly monitor assessment administration, including permitting inappropriate collaboration between or among individuals; fail to remove or cover nonallowable resources from the assessment site during the assessment administration; or fail to destroy scratch paper used by students during the assessment administration;

(8) Fail to prohibit students from accessing or using electronic equipment (e.g., cellular phones, personal digital assistant devices, iPods, electronic translators), other than those authorized for use by the Department for the assessment administration;

(9) Fail to confirm proper identification of students being administered the assessment or intentionally give a student the wrong student identification number during the log-in, causing any student to log in and take the assessment under another student’s records;

(10) Fail to collect and destroy any materials bearing student identification number(s) and student name(s) used to provide student(s) with this information during the assessment administration;

(11) Produce unauthorized copies of assessment content from the computer website; fail to properly destroy authorized copies; or allow copies to be taken outside the assessment site;

(12) Allow assessment administration by unauthorized personnel or personnel who have not received assessment administration certification;

(13) Administer secure assessments on dates other than those authorized by the Department;

(14) Participate in, direct, aid, counsel, assist, encourage or fail to report any of the acts prohibited in this subchapter; or

(15) Refuse to disclose to the Department information regarding assessment security violations; or

(16) Refuse to cooperate in the investigation of a suspected breach of assessment security, whether such investigation is conducted by a school district or the Department. The investigation shall include a review of mitigating circumstances, if applicable.

73 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 53, §§ 31-41.;

School districts and individuals shall not:

(1) Fail to report assessment scores, numbers of students administered the assessments any other data element required to be reported to the Department;

(2) Report incorrect or otherwise inaccurate assessment scores, numbers of students administered the assessments or any other data element required to be reported to the Department;

(3) Exclude a student from participation in the state assessment except in accordance with the regulations of the Department;

(4) Refuse to disclose to the Department information concerning a violation of the foregoing data reporting requirements; or

(5) Refuse to cooperate in the investigation of a suspected data reporting violation, whether such investigation is conducted by a school district or the Department. The investigation shall include a review of mitigating circumstances, if applicable.

73 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 53, §§ 42, 43.;

(a) A student who violates any of the provisions of § 172 of this title shall be subject to the following:

(1) At the discretion of the Department, the assessment score of such student may be invalidated and the student may be declared ineligible to retake the assessment until the next official testing opportunity; and

(2) Such disciplinary action as deemed appropriate by the student’s school district.

(b) An individual other than a student who knowingly violates any of the provisions of this subchapter shall be subject to the following:

(1) Such personnel sanctions as might otherwise be imposed by the individual’s employer for an act of misconduct;

(2) A hearing conducted by the Professional Standards Board to determine revocation of any license issued to such individual pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 12 of this title; and

(3) Payment of any costs incurred by the State or Department as a result of the violation.

73 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 53, § 44.;

Since you folks put the link on threat letter #2, I’ll give it to all my readers: http://delcode.delaware.gov/title14/c001/sc04/index.shtml

Just stop.  You are embarrassing yourselves at this point.  The heat is on, and if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Delaware DOE Twisting The Opt Out Screws To Parents With Threat Of Funding Cuts Now, Getting Desperate…

In a document released yesterday by the Delaware Department of Education from the Office of Assessment, it appears the DOE is coming up with more threatening language for parents opting their child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  They are still sticking to this paragraph 173 which states schools and individuals can’t opt students out.  The rest is what the schools have to do, not anything about the parents.  I will say it one more time DOE before I go to the Attorney General with this tomorrow.  The “individuals” you write about is defined in the state code and parents aren’t a part of that!  It is not relevant.  You have been informed about this.  Stop with the bullying!  It is illegal to apply state code to a different part of the population the law does NOT apply to!  Read the latest Delaware DOE threat statement here:

Just stop with the pathetic “funding cuts” language. Half the states bagged out of this crap, and I don’t see them getting those cuts.  I don’t see New York and New Jersey where the vast majority of the population of parents want to opt out getting these cuts. Let’s cross that bridge when it comes to it.  Cause the US DOE has punked you into getting this stuff out there.  But don’t bark at to Delaware parents.  We will bite back…

Furthermore, you’ve been out of compliance with the Office of Special Education Programs for years, but I don’t see any IDEA funding cuts to Delaware.  Here’s what “may” happen.  You’ll get a warning the first year, second year you go on watch, and by then America will have come to it’s senses and banned both common core and this turd of a test.  So take your public punches and stop trying to bully and intimidate parents.