Tag Archives: ESEA Flex Waiver

Trust is Not Given; Trust must be earned!


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.


Accountability Framework Working Group Update

I attended the Accountability Framework Working Group (AFWG) meeting on September 23rd from 1:30 to 4:45. I was the only member of the public present. The working group is made up of school/district members, a DSEA member, a parent member and a State Board member. The group is responsible for developing and recommending a new, multiple measure accountability system called Delaware School Success Framework. It does concern me that the State Board has a seat on this group and my reason for my concern is the State Board ultimately will approve these recommendations.

The AFWG was to finalize their recommendations at this last meeting, they could not come to an agreement on a rating system, so another meeting is scheduled. Most members do not support the use of ANY rating system other than what is federally required and most members do not agree with the federal mandates either. Most members of this group are outraged that we continue to label our schools causing damage that takes years to undo and the lack of support they receive after being branded as failures.

The AFWG recommendations must be completed before October 6th Delaware Education Support System (DESS) Advisory Council meeting. DESS is the stakeholder group which is to provide guidance on the overall Delaware Education Support System, guidance on enhancements to the Education Success Planning and Evaluation System, guidance on Title 1 Implementation and recommend changes to the Accountability Workbook and focus on Professional Development. You will see the DESS Advisory Council mentioned throughout Delaware’s ESEA Flex Waiver.

DESS Advisory and NCLB Stakeholders merged back in May of 2010. Our new Secretary of Education, Steve Godowsky, was a member of this group (New Castle County Votech) and was chair of the council in July of 2010.

The recommendations from AFWG must be to the State Board by October 15th. The State Board of Education will vote on the recommendations and then the recommendations must be presented to US DOE by the end of October.

  • AFWG members want to know what supports will be in place before recommending ratings.
  • They want a rating system in place that is least damaging to schools.
  • Members are against 1 to 100 scale.
  • One member stated that the A through F ratings system is like a restaurant rating system.
  • Members commented on how they could send final recommendations to the State Board and how the State Board/Secretary could overturn their recommendations.
    • Members commented that Secretary Murphy did exactly that. The lowest performing schools were to be selected as priority schools. Secretary Murphy did not select the lowest performing schools, he selected the schools he wanted as priority schools.
  • Members commented that the US DOE Accountability System is just a NAME and BLAME game.

Items that have been agreed to:

  • Proposed 5/6 Year Graduation Calculation
  • Accounting for Significant Gaps
    • Option 2 – gap between student gap group and non student gap group performance is greater than the state average gap.
  • Participation Rate must be included in the accountability system, this is a federal requirement.
    • No school under 95% participation may receive a highest performance rating. The group selected this one, they selected the one that is least destructive.