Tag Archives: IEP

Trump, St. Andrew’s School in Florida, school choice and state vouchers – the appearance of helping disadvantage students – Fake News!

On February 28, President Trump addressed Congress, speaking briefly about school choice for disadvantaged youth, breaking the cycle of poverty.  He talked about how families should be able to choose the schools that are right for them, whether they be public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home schools.

On Friday, President Trump visited a private school in Florida  – St. Andrew Catholic School – Florida is one of 14 states and DC, which has a state-funded school voucher program to qualifying students.

If you look at St. Andrew’s admission requirements you must provide most recent report card and state assessment, which would be ok since it is a private school. But President Trump though is pushing for school choice and vouchers. There is a $250 registration fee (non-refundable) per child is assessed. There is an admission test for students 2nd through 8th grades.  A parent needs three teacher recommendations.  There is a list of priorities, one being you must attend church on a regular basis and ENVELOPE USE AS DEFINED BY THE PASTOR.  

How are policies like this going to help break the cycle of poverty?  Folks living in poverty cannot afford a $250 non-refundable registration fee, $25 application fee or financially supporting any church every week? How are they going to pay for the balance of the tuition that is owed after using their voucher?

It is very interesting when you look through the qualifying student requirements for school-funded voucher programs, because most states require that a student has an IEP, certain disability or specific income level tied into the federal poverty level.  THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART – In Delaware, most students who have an IEP or disability, and leave a private or charter schools, do so because the school does not provide the necessary special education services or the school tells a family that they cannot provide these services for the child – this school is not a good fit.

We have people creating policy that really have no idea as to what is really going on in our public schools, because if they did, they would understand that they are not helping disadvantage students.

Dual Certified Spec Ed Teachers, Good Thing or Not?

I am extremely concerned with the direction our districts are going with respects to dual certified special education teachers. We have elementary schools which are serving ELL, Spec Ed and general education students and many of these students are also low income students. What seems to be the norm, correct me if I am wrong, if you are a dual certified special education teacher you have additional responsibilities than a teacher who is not dual certified. I am not saying that general education teachers who are not dual certified are not working as hard as a dual certified teacher; what I am saying is dual cert. teachers have more responsibilities that require an action with documentation such as IEP meetings, IEP paper work, implementing the IEP etc. The school districts and the State are getting two teachers in one at the same pay scale.

I was in Dover recently for the JFC meeting when JFC members were asking DOE questions about DOE salary scale. It was interesting to hear the Department of Education and their reasoning behind the salaries. They spoke about the need to be competitive in order to attract the best people. They spoke about people doing multiple jobs under one title and there was a need to pay them more.

We have teachers performing multiple jobs as well under one title and not receiving one penny more. We really need to rethink how we are educating our children here in Delaware and what is expected from our staff who are responsible for making this happen. The necessary resources that are needed in our classrooms are not there. We are demanding our teachers to do more and more with less and less. The teachers I know, want  to make a difference but cannot do that because of what is expected of them and what is lacking in their classrooms.

 

What Happened to Kindergarten?

kids

I have been meeting with teachers with Mike Matthews and what I have learned, there are no more play times for our children during their day. Yes, every grade in elementary school has recess but kindergarten students are being pushed and pushed and pushed. They do not have extra recess. They do not dress up or play house. They do not allow for make believe. Our kindergarten children are in school all day without a nap or any down time.

Both of my children (both had an IEP entering kindergarten) went to kindergarten for 2 1/2 hours a day and learned their letters and numbers, even mastered a little bit of reading but most of all they learned to love school. They learned to use their minds to pretend and to have dreams and they made friends. We made cupcakes, we had class parties, and we had fun all in 2 1/2 hours. We have taken all that away from them. We are creating a generation of children who will grow up being stressed or disliking school.

I thought kindergarten was suppose to be fun, letting children explore. I am so thankful that my children did not have to go to school for the entire day, they are five years old and have nine to ten hour days, think about it. They are sitting behind tables working all day long with no fun. Children learn at that age by exploring, creating and watching other children. When is this craziness going to stop?

Delaware Met Will Remain Open; Highlights of Meeting

I attended the Delaware Met Special meeting tonight with Rep. Kowalko. Here are a few things that I wrote down during the meeting.

  • During September the school has had climate issues.
  • Ms. Hunter the school’s leader is out on leave and the interim leader is Sean Gallager
  • Board member Nash Childs could not be there due to medical issues.
  • 218 students are enrolled – well below their necessary enrollment number 264 students
    • 60 of the students are students with IEPs – how many are basic, complex and intensive?
    • There may still be undocumented students who need an IEP.
  • Staff
    • 10 full time teachers
    • 2 Special Education teachers
    • recently hired 2 para
    • 1 Specialist – who does PE, Driver’s Ed, etc.
    • Principal
    • Counselor
    • Student Support person
    • They recently hired 3 full-time mentors
  • Line of Credit is available for unexpected short-term cost
  • Innovative Schools reported that the school is good to go financially
  • Going to block scheduling
  • Project Based Learning
  • Big Picture Model
  • Thursday Back to School Night
  • Once a month survey out to parents.
  • Students will received a survey every quarter.
  • Staff will receive a survey as well, did not mention how often.
  • It was mentioned that a personal connection was made with each family with a robo call and teachers were suppose to be contacting families, no one could report how many teachers actually spoke to a family member.