Eight days after the 2016 elections are over (Thank God!) the Delaware Department of Education will discuss their FY2018 budget with the Office of Management and Budget. This is open to the public, but I recommend getting there early so you can get a seat. The budget for the next fiscal year is going to get crazy. First off, we have the Every Student Succeeds Act. In Delaware’s first draft plan, you can see that a lot of areas in the law will be depending on state funding. Which means the feds will have to decide on our state plan assuming these items would pass in our budget. Delaware is submitting their final plan to the U.S. Dept. of Education on March 6th. That is 116 days before the Delaware General Assembly would even pass the FY2018 budget. So what happens if the feds approve our plan but we don’t have the necessary funding allocations for our plan? The feds would presumably pass (or reject) our plan within 120 days of submission. That puts Delaware in the position of getting the approval after the end of legislative session. Not to mention the fact we will have a new Governor (presumably John Carney) with his own ideas on education. By the time this hearing comes, the next Governor will have been elected. But further complicating matters is the exiting Governor, Jack Markell. His administration will work up the proposed budget which won’t be released until January 2017. And if I know Jack Jack, he will attempt to get all his friends some last-minute goodies! Add in the fact that pretty much everyone in the state wants to trim down the Delaware Dept. of Education and make it less of a bureaucratic nightmare. This will be a must-attend meeting if you can make it. But, of course, it is at 10am in the morning when the true stakeholders in education… students, parents and teachers… are busy doing what they do best.
Yesterday, the Delaware Attorney General’s office opened up Delaware to the world of the Delaware Pathways. Granted, this had to come in the form of a FOIA complaint from yours truly. But feast your eyes on all the big plans rolled around this initiative. An initiative so big Governor Markell had to issue an Executive Order when the General Assembly said no thanks to legislation creating a Steering Committee around the Pathways gig. Given how much is tied into this thing: Common Core, the state assessments, millions upon millions of dollars of state funding, outside businesses, all three of our major colleges, etc., is it any wonder this group has tried to keep things hush as long as they can? All I can say is whenever Rodel gets involved, something goes wonky with transparency. So what is “Work-Based Learning” and “Working To Learn”? The answers lie within. If you oppose this, let your voice be heard now. I do not believe it is a coincidence at all that Delaware will be handing in the first draft of their Every Student Succeeds Act state plan in the next few days. Between this and the ESSA state plan, with all the smoke and mirrors involved with that, NOW is the time to be extra vigilant. Read every single word in these documents. Every. Single. One.
The Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families sent two emails to Delaware Superintendents regarding the discontinuation of day treatment centers in Delaware. I submitted a FOIA request to five Delaware Superintendents last evening to obtain these emails. One of them got to me first so I canceled the other requests. Both these emails give very definitive timeframes for when this was going to happen. The State of Delaware reversed course on this issue, but make no mistake, this was going to happen prior to that decision. One important thing from the second email is the glaring fact that TODAY is the last day for any district or charter school to make a referral for a day treatment center in Delaware. So my question would be that if this change is on hold, is today still the last day for any referrals? The second email had a lot of attachments included in the FOIA request. Apparently there will be public meetings where they will present this. One of them already happened in New Castle County on September 8th, but I would highly recommend they have another one since this story just broke in mainstream media two days ago.