Watch Grown Men in Delaware Justify Discrimination! Enrollment Preference Task Force Meeting Tomorrow Night!

The ninth meeting of the Delaware Enrollment Preference Task Force will happen tomorrow night at the Buena Vista Conference Center in New Castle, from 6:30 to 8:30pm.  Special guest Alex Medler with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers will give a presentation.

Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams and Delaware State Senator Nicole Poore lead this group of charter school, vocational and public school district spokespersons.

I went to the December meeting.  It’s fun watching intelligent, grown men actually try to justify the discriminatory practices their schools use to “attract” students.  Even scarier is how much people buy the lines they sell!  Williams is actually very much against these types of things, so she runs a good show.  Things are coming to a head very soon with these types of practices, so this meeting should be interesting.

What’s Up With The IEP Task Force? Are Parents No Longer The Focus? @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @Apl_Jax @RCEAPrez @ecpaige @nannyfat #netde #eduDE #edchat #Delaware

The IEP Task Force in Delaware has met five times.  The last session was very reminiscent of the second meeting.  Both of those meetings were very heavy on the side of the schools and not the parents.  The largest matter concern parents receiving a copy of the IEP draft prior to an IEP meeting.  There is also the matter of the group’s transparency.  Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn, the chair of the task force, always had the groups minutes and audio recordings up the next day.

The IEP draft was a hot topic the other night.  In prior meetings it had been discussed and most felt it was a good idea for parents to have a copy of the draft before a student’s IEP meeting.  But members were acting like it was a bad idea the other night.  Mary Ann Mieczkowski, the Director of the Exception Children Resources group at the Delaware Department of Education, said she worries about the legal implications of giving parents a copy of the draft.  Like parents don’t know what is a draft and what isn’t.  C’mon Mitch, I think parents can recognize what is and isn’t a draft.  I even overheard members, including a special education teacher, state parents get ten days after the IEP meeting to sign the document.  That is only if they choose to do so and aren’t pressured to sign the IEP right then and there.

There is also the matter of the group’s transparency.  Yes, the DOE pushed them out of their prior room and there were problems with the video conference “thingamajigger” as Denn put it, but Denn promised the public full transparency.  Here we are four days later, and nothing new is on the website.  Has anything happened between the fourth meeting and this one?  Something called an election?  Denn got the votes, and when asked if he would continue to chair the task force after his inauguration as attorney general, he didn’t answer.  Denn already suggested having the group continue after the report to Governor Markell.

The legislators come and go as they please.  Some arrive late, some leave early, some don’t even bother to show up.  In the beginning, most of them were very vocal during meetings, but now they barely say anything.

I had emailed Denn about including IEP denials as a topic in the next meeting.  I received a response from Kim Siegel indicating it would not happen, but the group does want to increase how the state audits IEPs and hold them more accountable.  To say I was disappointed is an understatement since I have been pushing for this since day one.  But yet things like vocational schools and services for the blind (mainly covered by the Department of Health and Social Services) are topics discussed at length during meetings.  What is the point of this task force anymore?

We will all know when the draft of the task force is released to the public what made the cut and what didn’t.  I sincerely hope the task force can bring it back yet again to the parents, but more importantly, the student with special needs.  They need to remember, as one task force member said, what got them there in the first place.  It wasn’t to discuss matters that did not put Delaware in hot water with the Feds and put the state on a “needs intervention” label.

Delaware Board of Education Dewey Beach Agenda @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @Apl_Jax @RCEAPrez @ecpaige @nannyfat @roof_o #netde #eduDE #edchat #Delaware

While the rest of Delaware is either working or going to school, the Delaware State Board of Education is down at Dewey Beach for their Fall retreat.  Take a look at their agenda.

I wonder who else may have been invited to this interesting two-day event.  Anyone from certain non-profit agencies the DOE works very closely with?

Even more interesting is this tweet they posted just a little while ago:

A lot of bloggers seem to look at the threat from the DOE in regards to charter schools, but I am hearing the words “vocational school” come up more and more lately.  It was a huge topic of conversation at the IEP Task Force the other night.  Something to look into…

DOOM comes to schools in Delaware! Parents, Go To School Board Meetings This Month, and do this…

Okay Delaware parents!  This is it.  It’s October and the DOE is very occupied with this priority school takeover.  That’s a good thing.  Cause every single parent in the state who has a child in a public school needs to go to their district’s school board meeting this month and do one easy thing.  And trust me when I tell you some of them WANT you to do this!  But first, here is a schedule of each district’s board meetings:

October 7th, Tuesday: Charter School of Wilmington

October 8th, Wednesday: Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security, Odyssey

October 9th, Thursday: Lake Forest

October 14th, Tuesday: Appoquinimink, Christina, Colonial, Polytech

October 15th, Wednesday: Capital, Laurel, Red Clay Consolidated, Smyrna, Woodbridge, Positive Outcomes, Sussex Academy

October 20th, Monday: Seaford, Delaware College Prep, Delaware Military Academy, Sussex Tech, Thomas Edison

October 21st, Tuesday : Delmar, Family Foundations, Gateway, Newark Charter School, Prestige Academy

October 22nd, Wednesday: Campus Community, East Side Charter, MOT, Reach Academy,

October 23rd, Thursday: Cape Henlopen, Aspiras Academy

October 27th, Monday: Brandywine, Indian River, Milford, New Castle County Vo-Tech, Providence Creek

October 28th, Tuesday: Caesar Rodney, Moyer

*No definitive meeting time posted for Academy of Dover and Kuumba Academy

Now that you know when to go to the board meetings for your child’s school, this is what you need to do. Write a letter indicating you want to opt out your child from the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Make sure the letter has your child’s name, your name, what grade they are in, what school it is, and the date. It doesn’t matter what your reason is for the opt out, because it is your right as a parent. Bring the letter with you to the board meeting and sign up for public comment. Indicate on the public comment list that you will only speak for about 20 seconds. When it is your turn to speak, announce your name, where you live, and where your child goes to school. Then just say these very easy words “My son/daughter ________ will not take the Smarter Balanced Assessment. I am opting them out. Thank you.” And then hand the board president your letter.

So now that you know what this is for, DOOM stands for Delaware Opt Out Month.

Charter and vocational schools, this includes you as well. We haven’t heard too much from parents at the charters about these tests, but then again we don’t know how much you may or may not know about this test. We know teachers at charter schools aren’t really digging the Common Core standards, but they won’t speak of it. If anyone is praising it to the high heavens they are either a) part of some education group sponsored by the DOE or state government, or b) has received some type of great praise or bonus money. It’s very dangerous for your children. Secretary of Education Mark Murphy expects 70% of children to fail the test. How would he know that? Because he has seen how bad students did on the field test last Spring. The Delaware Department of Education hasn’t released those scores or findings yet because they know the backlash will be incredible.

I wouldn’t rely on your PTO or PTA to do anything either. They will have to rely on their state or national organization, and those entities are sitting on the fence, either waiting to vote on it or trying to find out parent’s stance on the matter. It isn’t up to them for you to opt your child out of high-stakes testing. Sure, it adds additional support. The school boards don’t necessarily have to decide either. The teachers can’t publicly speak out about it for fear of losing their jobs. They have the most to lose as their annual review will be tied to this test, which is taken once a year. This is a parent thing. It is your fundamental right to do this. If enough parents do this, the funding threat won’t matter, because the state is not going to cut funding on all schools. Their would be a revolution, especially since they never fully restored funding cuts to education during the recession.

The Delaware DOE received over $100 million in Race To The Top funding. Instead of using those funds to restore that funding (Race To The Top amounted to a very small part of the state budget for education), they spent the money on beefing up the DOE, hiring data coaches, teacher effectiveness groups, and a iot of other wasteful spending. This has been a mess since it began, and your children will suffer from this test. How many times have you looked at their homework and said “What the hell is this?” How many times have you seen them reading a book that you thought was completely inappropriate for their age? Have you noticed more behavior problems with your child? This is because the teachers have so much pressure to drill the daily lesson plan for Common Core so they don’t get behind. The students also have a ridiculous amount of pressure to keep up. The teachers are speeding through material so fast they don’t have a lot of time for proper review of the material. A good deal of the material is beyond the child’s capability of understanding as well. Don’t believe Common Core is meant for catching up with China and other Asian countries. Don’t believe it is there to make your child ready for college and not have to take remedial classes. If you are a parent of a special needs child, the writing is already on the wall for the toll this is having on our most vulnerable of children

After the Delaware DOE’s diabolical agenda with the priority schools, and using test scores that are no longer valid (DCAS) to pump up charter schools, it is obvious the DOE is going to manipulate any scores for their own twisted agendas.  So don’t let them do it.

This is a bold, risky endeavor. But it needs to happen. Parents need to take back education. You will get resistance, and you will be told this can’t happen. It doesn’t matter. Because it is YOUR decision. Not the school, not the government, and not Governor Markell. Certain school boards have already reached this decision. You may start to see some of them voting on this already. But your child’s fate rests in your hands. Do the right thing!