The Delaware Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens (GACEC) website appears to be in severe disarray. The last agenda for one of their meetings is for their March 17th, 2015 meeting. The last minutes are from their June 2015 meeting. When does this group meet? On the Delaware Public Meetings Calendar it shows their last meeting was November 17th, 2015. No agenda was on the calendar either. Are they even meeting anymore?
I used to get emails from this group when I was on their distribution list. But once I blasted them for their opposition of the parent opt-out legislation, House Bill 50, I was banned from this email list. My guess, this is now an “inclusive club” in Delaware that doesn’t have to follow state law for public meetings or transparency. As a group that is supposed to represent the disabled of Delaware, this is very disheartening to see. I expect more out of any state agency or council, but I expect much more out of this group. Is Wendy Strauss still the Executive Director? Is Robert Overmiller still the Chair of GACEC? When are their meetings? They do have a calendar of their meetings for the year, but that isn’t saying much without the other necessary state law compliance in effect.
Why does this group think they don’t have to be visible with their activities?
This may provide schools with an incentive to encourage student participation in the assessment system.
I would think, after seeing the abysmal Smarter Balanced Assessment results for Delaware, especially for students with disabilities, the Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens would change it’s tune on parent opt-out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. But in their public comment for Regulation 103, which the State Board shot down for action yesterday, they felt the participation rate penalty could be a good way for schools to convince parents the kids need to take the test.
What is it with this council? I appreciate a lot of the work they do. Don’t get me wrong on that. But this is HUGE. Yes, it is a group with the word Governor in it, but that doesn’t mean they have to stick with his opinions. I would love it if they could give any factual basis for their claims aside from the News Journal. This isn’t the first time they have based their opinions on articles in the News Journal. Don’t read a newspaper, or even my own blog. Just look at the statistics for students with disabilities on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. 10% in Math, 15% in ELA. That’s ALL you need to know. These are kids. And I’m sure a lot of them wanted to do good on this test. Imagine the pain and confusion they will feel when they get their results. Imagine the struggles they had taking this test. It’s not right, and it isn’t fair that a group of adults speaking for these children should go against the public consensus on this. This test is horrible, and everyone knows it.
I’ve met Robert Overmiller and Wendy Strauss, and they are good people. I know quite a few members on this council. I just don’t get why they would do this. Luckily, this Regulation is going to be reviewed and hopefully reworked. But I would love a compelling reason why they are so adamantly against parent opt-out.