Yesterday, I attended an AFWG meeting that was called by Secretary Godowsky; the group had finished their work last month and had their recommendations ready to send to the State Board. The Secretary called back the Accountability Framework Working Group; he wanted to discuss with them some changes that he and State Board have decided to make to the AFWG recommendations. The State Board and the Secretary have decided that they are going to alter this group’s recommendations (AFWG) after the group had met 16 times over the last 1 1/2 years. When the group had made their recommendations last month, all members of the group, except for Donna Johnson who was representing the State Board, all agreed with the proposed recommendations which would be submitted to the State Board for approval and then sent to US DOE. The only other person who had an issue with this group’s recommendation was the Governor. It makes me wonder why Ms. Johnson serves on all of these committees and the actual State Board members do not. They are the ones who were appointed to the board. When I served on the Red Clay School Board, I was assigned to committees and when the committees met, I went to the committee meetings. It is important to attend these meetings so board members can get the views of the entire committee and not just one person’s views.
During Secretary Godowsky’s opening remarks, he spoke about how he wanted a workable agreement that included all stakeholders. I was a little confused by his statement because he and the State Board were making changes to the AFWG recommendations and their changes have not been vetted through the DESS advisory committee which is the DOE’s stakeholder group. DESS approved the final recommendations of AFWG but they have not seen or approved these new proposed changes from the Secretary or the State Board.
DOE will be submitting the AFWG recommendations which will include the Secretary and the State Board’s changes to the US DOE. At the meeting, I requested that DE DOE make it clear to US DOE that the changes to the AFWG recommendations were not supported by the AFWG members. The changes were not vetted through DESS, the stakeholder group, and that members of the General Assembly spoke out against these changes.
I just cannot understand why the State Board and the Secretary want to punish schools who have no control over parents opting their children out of the state assessment.
I have to say I was so disappointed that our newly, appointed Secretary did this, he is a long-time educator. The State Board did not think that the recommendations that were put in place by the AFWG with regards to participation in our state assessment was not a strong enough penalty; they wanted something a little harsher.
I am hopeful that the Secretary listened to the group and public yesterday and will have a change of heart tomorrow and will do the right thing at tomorrow’s State Board meeting.