Tag Archives: DE State Board of Education

Sunset Joint Committee Reviews Delaware State Board of Education

The Sunset Committee reviewed the State Board of Education, they met on February 1, 2017. You can see all the documents that the State Board of Education submitted to the Sunset committee members, I have highlighted a few of the documents below. I sat in during the review, here are a few things that I took away from the review. I found former Rep. Scott’s comments supporting the State Board of Education interesting, I believe former Rep. Scott  was the enabler with respect to the State Board of Education when he chaired the House Education committee. I was also surprised by Dr. Allen’s letter of support, the State Board of Education would not allow Dr. Allen or Dr. Rich to speak at certain times during the WEIC presentations.

  • School districts do not feel that the State Board of Education is an ally.
  • They do not hold meetings in the evening; teachers, community members, parents, and legislators cannot make their meetings.
  • They do not allow for public comment for all items on the agenda.
  • They are not accountable to anyone.
  • Their meetings are too long.
  • They do not take a formal vote when they oppose or support legislation, the executive director attends House/Senate Education Meetings and gives comments.
  • Sunset Committee requested a list of State Board of Education members and the committees/task forces etc. that they have served on.
  • Charters go to the State Board of Education first instead of the local boards.
  • One person who came out and offered a positive comment with respect to the State Board of Education was former State Representative Darryl Scott.
  • A few charter school leaders were there as well.
  • No school districts were present or to my knowledge sent in any comments about the State Board of Education.
  • Dr. Tony Allen sent in a letter of support as well.

State Board of Education Questionnaire

State Board of Education FOIA Complaints

State Board of Education – Executive Directors Job Description

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Email from DOJ regarding DOE Charter School Accountability Committee

The one thing I learned from all of this, the laws surrounding DOE’s Charter School Accountability Committee are very loose and the lobbying laws need to be changed. The Department of Education does not seem to think the public needs to be updated on changes to this committee’s membership or do they seem to have regulations in place to appoint people to this committee.  This committee should have additional members who are not employed by the Department of Education, work for the State Board of Education and who do not serve on a charter school or who lobby for charter schools — we need a balance.

Reardon, Allison E (DOJ)
Thu 4/14/2016 10:11 AM

To:

Williams, Kimberly (LegHall);
Dear Representative Williams:
 
Please allow this to respond to your additional concerns following receipt of our letter dated March 30, 2016. First, you provided an e-mail from David Blowman to you dated July 15, 2015 in which you were advised that  Chuck Taylor stepped down from the Charter School Accountability Committee “for the current major modification application under review.”  We followed up with the attorney for the CSAC and she confirmed that Mr. Taylor did in fact step down from the CSAC in July, 2015. However, he was invited to rejoin the committee and agreed to do so in January 2016 after Providence Creek Academy had completed its renewal process. Along these same lines, you also advised that Paul Harrell participated in the CSAC, made the motion to recommend closure of the Delaware Met School, and voted  at the CSAC convened in December 2015 when he was not a member of the  CSAC. Again, the attorney for the CSAC confirmed through DOE that Mr. Harrell was on the committee at the time he participated.  Membership on the CSAC is apparently somewhat fluid and the website apparently does not keep pace with changes in membership, but those are not issues for the Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust to address.
 
Also, you submitted that the calculation of time one spends lobbying should be based on the amount of time an individual spends lobbying while the Legislature is in session. However, our analysis is based on the specific language in the applicable statute which requires us to look at the amount of time spent lobbying “ in relation to the usual duties of [the person’s] employment.” 29 Del. C. § 5831 (b)(3).  Hence, our calculation arrived at the percentage of the person’s total work days in a year, not a percentage of days the legislature meets.
 
We hope this additional information is of assistance to you.
 
Regards,
Allison

Second Week in Dover, It Has Been an Interesting Week

The second half of the 148th has been busy. Over the weekend, I will give you a run down of what has happened during this last week. Today, Governor Markell will give his final State of the State and the State Board of Education will be voting on the Wilmington Improvement Commission’s Final Plan.

Folks You Should be Paying Attention to This – Information on Statewide Review of Educational Opportunities

Yesterday during the State Board meeting, they gave an update on the Statewide Review of Educational Opportunities (SREO) – formed through House Bill 56. I would pay close attention to this and DOE and the State Board’s recommendations which will be released next month at the December State Board meeting. I am not sure if the State Board and DOE are heading in the direction of the bill’s original intent, time will tell if they are or not.

House Bill 56 – Section 2.  There shall be a moratorium on all new charter schools opening until June 30, 2018 or until the State Board of Education develops a strategic plan for the number of charter, district, and vocational-technical schools in the State, whichever occurs first.  The aforementioned strategic plan shall be based on a systematic evaluation of educational needs using national models and best practices that align with the public education system, such as the National Association of Charter School Authorizers guidelines.

If you look at the two guiding questions DOE and the State Board are using, there appears to be some difference between what House Bill 56 was looking to accomplished and what DOE and the State Board are looking to do. Below is a one page document explaining what DOE and the State Board are looking to accomplish. The word that they use in their two guiding questions is “DEMAND”, I know practicable is used as well, I just don’t see best practices.

I know there is demand for more schools like Cab Calloway School of the Arts and Conrad Schools of Science. I know that they have high numbers of families applying to these choice schools and the waitlist numbers are huge. Same goes with Charter School of Wilmington and DMA, very popular schools with our Red Clay families and across district lines. I am interested in seeing DOE and the State Board’s formal recommendations.

  • Public Consulting Group (PCG) – was awarded the contract in August
  • September started the project
    • Data is being collected from DOE, charters and districts
  • October collecting of data and survey responses
  • PCG will start the data analysis and working on draft map
  • Next week the draft map will be available
  • Final report will be given at State Board meeting in December

Trust is Not Given; Trust must be earned!

group

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.