Is DE Chief for Change, Mark Murphy and his merry band of teacher destroyers enforcing DE code using extralegal interpretations?

From a reliable source: it looks like when the hammer comes down, it may not only be illegal, it may empower CSD to make the next move!

Here is the link for the regulations:

In addition to the previous information—the only section of the regulations that I know of that provides for consequences of failing to reach an agreement is the failure of reaching an MOU with the DDOE (in 10.3.5): “The district or charter school shall immediately begin negotiating the MOU required by 7.6.1. If the parties to the MOU are unable to agree on the MOU within 120 days, the district or charter school shall select from the Restructuring models found in 7.5.1, 7.5.2, or 7.5.3.”

That section, read in conjunction with these sections:

7.6.1 Districts with a Partnership Zone school and Partnership Zone charter schools shall enter a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) between the Department and the district or the charter school. The Partnership Zone MOU shall include the following provisions: Selection of one of the models outlined in section 7.6.2; Provisions for regular oversight of the Partnership Zone school by the Department or its designee; For schools at which a collective bargaining agreement governs its employees, a further agreement between and among the district or charter school, the collective bargaining unit, and the Department addressing those subjects, if any, that may inhibit the schools’ successful implementation of its model, including but not limited to: Limitations on hiring, reassigning and transferring covered employees into and out of the Partnership Zone school, such as seniority limitations; The methodology for determining which teachers will be transferred or reassigned as part of the model; Work rules relating to the educational calendar and scheduling of instructional time and noninstructional time, Instructional reform; Professional development requirements and other specialized training; Retention and employment incentives, including performance incentives for effective teachers and principals; and Any other subject required by these regulations to be addressed in the Partnership Zone school’s selected model. In the event the parties are not able to reach the agreement required by within seventy-five (75) days of notice as a Partnership Zone school, each party shall present its last best offer on the areas of disagreement along with a draft agreement, to the Secretary of the Department, who shall accept one of the last best offers, or reject all of them. Should the Secretary reject all offers, the parties shall have thirty (30) days to confer and present the Secretary revised offers for reconsideration
pursuant to this section.

I don’t fully understand how the 75 day requirement and the 120 day requirement square with each other, and I don’t really understand what the regulations allow the DDOE to do if the “revised offers for reconsideration” are rejected after the 30 day period. I certainly don’t see, though, how they could allow the DDOE to force the districts to choose a different “model,” especially if they mean the models outlined in 7.6.2, because that would presumably either force the school to close ( or convert to a charter ( or restart the whole process under the turnaround ( or transformational ( models, depending on the one they did not select. Nothing seems to be authorized in the regulations to be a consequence for the schools for failing to reach a new collective bargaining agreement until the MOU is agreed upon after 120 days, and even for failing to reach an MOU, the district (not DDOE) chooses which restructuring model: “If the parties to the MOU are unable to agree on the MOU within 120 days, the district or charter school shall select from the Restructuring models found in 7.5.1, 7.5.2, or 7.5.3.”

Also, a new collective bargaining agreement is not a requirement of being selected as a Partnership Zone school under the regulations. Unless the ESEA Flexibility Request contains other language, the regulations state that the collective bargaining agreement needs to be renegotiated only for “those subjects, if any, that may inhibit the schools’ successful implementation of its model.”
Here are the proposed regulations that put in all this language, in case it is useful at all:

@DEDeptofEd and @GovernorMarkell sick their TFA pit viper on CSD. #hammer #threatdown #privatize #nokidsinhere

Believe it or not, I feel bad for Dr. Schwinn. One day, she will look back on this time in her life, see the wreckage created and have regrets. So many regrets. Alas, life is about choices. Some even say choice is a panacea. Privatizing Wilmington schools not only won’t help the kids, it will hurt them. Moral bankruptcy of epic proportions is required to execute a plan so devoid of efficacious principles and plans. In other words, it takes the Delaware DOE. Behold the first in what is sure to be multiple threats, all ending in a full throated state takeover by our Jack-booted governor.

Before anyone asks, yes, I do know what I am saying there.

DOE MOU response memo, red pen edition.

December 8, 2014

Dear Dr. Williams,

My team and I appreciate the commitment you have made to a process to improve opportunities for students at the Christina School District’s Priority Schools (Very unbelievable based on what follows).  As part of that process, I received draft Memorandums of Understanding at the District’s  planning meeting on Friday afternoon. At that meeting, you requested my feedback by the end of today to be able to provide revised MOUs to the School Board for tomorrow’s meeting. We did not have this for our meeting.

To date, you have declined our offers to meet with you and/or members of your team to specifically negotiate the terms of the MOUs (The DOE and almost 100 pols in DE from the Governor to City council and many other community stakeholders have been invited to this PLETHORA of meetings: ,to make them negotiations all you have to do is 1) attend, and 2) ask.) but we continue to welcome the opportunity to speak with you after lying about being given opportunities, to discuss the broader Priority Schools process, and provide a more detailed response on each part of the MOUs. We remain committed to working with you to develop tailored tailored to whom? MOUs and plans that  by whom? for whom? to meet the specific needs of your students and schools. Given the short timeframe artificially imposed by you in an original ultimatum that remains unsigned and therefore non-binding, I am writing to provide initial feedback about the Department’s key areas of agreement and concern with the document in advance of this week’s Board Meeting. The draft MOU and guidance document that the Department released in September, as well as my comments at the District’s Priority School Meetings, have emphasized a core set of principles about the ways in which we can best serve the students in these schools. We focus on these areas because they have resulted in success for high-need students in Delaware; schools with similar student populations that have adhered to them have seen dramatic improvement in their students’ academic performance. These principles include:



  • Excellent school leaders
  • who have track records of working effectively with youth in high need schools, because principals play a vital role in improving opportunities for students in our Priority Schools.
  • Funding that is flexible at the school level  to ensure school leaders and the school community can allocate resources towards the most critical and prioritized areas for their individual  buildings, recognizing that these areas are likely to be different from schools that do not serve a high proportion of students from disadvantaged communities.
  • Principals who are empowered to make local, student-centered decisions about areas such as the curriculum, instructional practices, and the school schedule.
  •  School leaders need autonomy to build programs that address the specific needs of their students and communities and to ensure that the roles of teachers and other staff are effectively aligned with the schools’ needs

In reviewing the draft MOUs we received on Friday, we are pleased really? here it comes, the backhanded compliment follow by an evisceration to see that you have recognized some of these elements. For example, the MOUs appear to give Priority School principals some authority over some “programmatic inputs” like scheduling and curriculum, and they provide for the possibility of additional pay and benefits for teachers to compensate them for additional duties and time that may be necessary to execute the school plan. However here it comes, despite these provisions, the content of the MOUs does not reflect all of the core elements listed above. Rather, the MOUs dramatically limit the autonomy and authority of the principals to implement the changes necessary to help their students succeed

changes that could include: extending the school year with what monies? the ones you woefully undercommiteed to this behemoth of a project?, providing for robust define? after-school activities, and providing wrap-around social services in school buildings these are free, right?. These documents also do not provide the Priority Schools with adequate support and flexibility from the District. They require principals to take unnecessary steps and obtain District approval for making key changes this is bad because they work for you now in your brazen power grab from the district, while also failing to guarantee even the current level of District support for the schools you mean like the 500K less per year you are committing compared to the PZ, which by your own dysfunctional DOE definition is faiure (as we are here again). Specifically, after a preliminary review, we have the following concerns:

Language embedded throughout the MOUs limits the authority of the principal to implement the school plan, and requires District approval for decisions in running his or her school you mean there needs to be controls in place for the stewardship of public tax monies? that’s CRAZY. For example, while the MOUs purport inflammatory language to give principals authority over scheduling and program changes, the principals may only propose  deviation from any District requirements not mandated by law.” Do you want prinicpals to openly flout the law? I mean, I know you guys do it all the time, but that’s not how real public servants are supposed to act. Please forgive us for trying to honor the oaths we took:


That could severely limit the principals’ autonomy you mean ability to break the law in implementing their visions for these schools. For example, a principal could only “propose” an extended school day, but that proposal could be rejected by the District.You mean like if the DOE didn’t give enough $$ to fund it because teachers do not and should not work for free?

It is also unclear how much funding flexibility the principals will have. The MOU states that “[t]he School  shall have the right to develop and implement its own school budget and expenditure plan with funding allocated by the State to support the Plan,” which implies that the principals will only have autonomy over the additional resources provided by the state,  but not any other parts of their building budgets. We should not have control of our own locally collected tax dollars? This is the crux of the power grab right here folks: reread this one a few times…let it sink in.

The MOUs give the principals the right to “participation  in the employment process for all staff . . . in accordance with … district policy,” but no authority to choose members of their team or shape the roles and responsibilities of their teachers Yes, we negotiate agreements, and unlike the morally bankrupt DEDOE, we are ethically challenged when being asked to switch from responsible employer to union busters. That’s your thing in carrying out the plans for improving outcomes for students. For example, it does not appear that principals would be able to ensure their teachers participate in executing strategies described in the school plan, like implementing a key curriculum change or providing additional one-on-one support to struggling students.This is just a made up talking point designed to stoke fears and denigrate our professionals by suggesting we would not support students

Although the legal status of each Priority School is different, based on when they were previously named a “Partnership Zone” or Priority School and whether they have met exit criteria, all of the MOUs the ones written by the state unilaterally with no district input state that the Department and District will “renegotiate aspects” of the original “Transformation Model” plans to create the new plan for the school.

The MOUs do not say what aspects will be renegotiated, so the language is open-ended about the details on which the District and the Department would agree. Also, the prior Priority/Partnership Zone school plans have not resulted in significant growth for students, and some of the schools are legally prohibited by the U.S. Department of Education from again choosing a “Transformation” model IT WAS NOT CHOSEN THE FIRST TIME, you need to read your own code: of Regulation 103 and the ESEA Waiver). Those issues are not addressed in the MOUs.



The District does not commit to providing each Priority School with its current level of funding and support, outside of the “unit funding” earned by each school and the resources sadly, we are not the U.S. mint and cannot authorize QE6 for CSD. Oh, and that pesky issue of 23 other school with students who happen to have needs too


The Plan is due January 7, 2015, which is an extension to the original date a date only agreed to and set by you: we did not sign the MOU. The MOUs provide that only “portions of the Plan” need to be submitted  by that time. Again really?, we welcome the opportunity to meet and collaborate with you on developing MOUs and school  plans that are tailored to individual school needs, while incorporating key elements, described above, that have proven you mean your non peer reviewed ideologically driven plans? to support students from disadvantaged communities. Although you have thus far declined multiple offers um, mirror check: that would be you sitting in the back row texting your boss during the VERY few meetings you have attended to review components of the MOUs and school plans over the past few months, we remain open to doing so not thinking this is true really, and are happy this either to meet or speak with you or members of your team at any time. We strongly encourage veiled threat you to meet with our team well in advance define? you have had months of unused opportunity DOE of the January 7th deadline to provide the  best chance to develop documents that can be approved by both the District and the State. In addition, while Christina has declined the offer of state funding to support the planning process LIE: state pass throiugh of a federal grant that requires application and has rules


 $50,000 per school


 the district remains eligible love this. There are no additional requirements tied to the funds other than that they must be used in the planning process not true. We encourage you to take advantage of these resources nice try. We all believe in the amazing potential of the children of our state who is we? If you did would we see collaboration and support instead of threats and no evidence plans and ideas from our DOE. Newsflash: you work for us, not the other way around: WE pay taxes., and are committed to providing them with a quality education to help them meet that potential. Please let me know of any questions that arise as we work to ensure that the best possible educational opportunities are available to all of the students at the Priority Schools.Again, who is we? #nolove

A Walton’s Plan to “Fix Public Education.” Uh huh.

John Young:

The Wal-Mart clown show continues

Originally posted on deutsch29:

I used to shop at Walmart.

In September 2012, I couldn’t bring myself to do so anymore.

Several months prior, in April 2012, I began investigating the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) right around the time that watchdog group Common Cause filed its original whistle blower complaint against “nonprofit” ALEC for its lobbying of legislatures nationwide to promote its corporate-interest-serving “model legislation.” Walmart was very involved in helping promote corporate-feeding ALEC legislation, including anti-union legislation, and education and prison privatization legislation.

I began to learn what Walmart owners, the Walton family, really value– and it isn’t their workers, or the workers of vendors with which Walmart conducted business.

I learned that Walmart did business with Arizona-owned and prison-labor-run Martori Farms– a company with a reputation for abusing its female prison workers. (Walmart was active in ALEC when ALEC promoted its Prison Industries Act in statehouses across the nation, a piece…

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Is a Director of Schools the same as a Superintendent? #BRINC #Colonial


Breaking out all the reformy BRINC lingo to boot.

Is Colonial School District supsending 5 years olds with ADHD?

First the disabled parent is forced to place her child in harms way, now this:


@DelawarePTA big pimpin’ CCSS with Gates’ money and nary a public process by which their position was taken

Red Clay working with UVA? What gives? Did RCCSD BOE approve this? #greentotheLawn?

Saw this on Facebook today, is RCCSD admin moving without board authorization?

Guess we’ll find out soon enough. If the board authorized this, did they put it out for public consumption before creating an out of state partnership?  The UVA thing, is that reform infested waters.

Do the Google folks, Do the google.

Always do the Google.

In its Priority School presentation at Warner today, Red Clay admin discussed a partnership they’re forming with the University of Virginia to provide leadership assistance to our Priority Schools. It will be interesting to see how much this partnership will cost us — if anything. I’m concerned here because I don’t feel we need an outside university coming in here telling us how to lead these schools. I think our leaders and professionals in these buildings already know what we need — it’s about getting it. I fear this relationship with UVA is more about impressing the Department of Education than it is about what our schools actually need.

Like · ·
    27 people like this.
    Danny Rufo More carpetbagging interlopers….. For any teacher that’s been here for a while it’s real let down. We know our kids …. We have been dealing with all of this…. Shooting at moving targets for years, yet the chic thing to do is pay for consultants….. The ultimate consultant is a room full of Delaware teachers working for Delaware !
    2 hrs · Edited · Like · 4
    Cassandra Marshall So are we to think that Delaware’s universites are not up to dealing with Delaware’s education challenges? (Whatever they might be today.) Delaware’s educational administration seems to be looking for trendy, not necessarily home grwon solutions.
    2 hrs · Like · 2
    Catherine Ciferni so the DE Dept of Ed will sign off on UVA but not on UD’s review of Christinas schools—this drama gets worse and worse
    2 hrs · Edited · Like · 5
    Amy Lefranc Brunnquell If they’d put that money toward mandatory pre-school, lower class sizes, and increase the amount of support staff for these schools…they’d see improved test results. Period.
    2 hrs · Like · 15
    Harrie Ellen Minnehan Yes, Amy, that is hitting the nail right square on the head!
    1 hr · Like · 4
    Paul J Falkowski Imagine, a Classroom Contract. The student promises to behave properly, be on time for class, prepared to learn, and to sit down, listen, cooperate and do the work required in the classroom, under the teachers guidance.
    YES, I propose, within each Dela
    See More
    1 hr · Edited · Like · 4
    MaryJane Bennett Mike this story just gets worse by the day. UVA….what the hell?
    Dana Rae Davisson Or maybe we can all learn something new, Mike Matthews. If educators knew everything, educational equity would be a reality and all children would be succeeding.
    Alan Coffey Paul j , sounds like the function charters are performing.
    26 mins · Like · 1
    Mike Matthews You’ll get no argument from me there, Dana, however, as we’ve seen, this DoE and many district folks are all about that “flavor of the month.” The professionals in our priority schools know what they need to succeed. They need to be given those tools. See More
    Paul J Falkowski Totally different approach. LEAVE the schools with their current enrollments.
    Segregate some classrooms, by providing classrooms, where the students VOLUNTARILY agree to abide by stricter rules of behavior and discipline.
    The “” classrooms that do no
    See More
  • Kathie Brobeck Young

    Write a comment…

The header on each page says it all! @DEDEptofED RESOUNDINGLY suports the efficacy of CSD’s approach in the “Priority” schools!!

Thank you Delaware DOE for this AMAZING, self-authored endorsement of our schools!!!!!

Wait, what?

LOL, only in Jack’s education cabal.


Originally posted on Reclaim Reform:

The National Education Association is holding its National Council of Urban Education Associations. The Big Data Wars are evident there, but we all need to question data every day in every way.

Simply because a few billionaires seek to monetize children, end public education, and make immense profits for themselves, the “Data Driven” claims of truth need not be believed or acted upon. The NEA uses the interpretations of data from the think tanks, organizations and foundations paid for by these same billionaires.

Big Data not Truth

Read Why Big Data Is Not Truth in the New York Times.
“That promise of certainty has been a hallmark of the technology industry for decades. With Big Data, however, there are even more hazards, some human and some inherent in the technology.”

Read the definition of Data in Technology in the dictionary.
Data on its own has no meaning, only when interpreted by some kind of data processing system does it take on meaning and become information.”

Read Why Nobody Said Big Data is Truth in…

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Exxon CEO Just Knows Common Core Is the Answer

Originally posted on @ THE CHALK FACE:

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are advertised on the CCSS website as “ensuring all students are ready for success after high school”:

Today’s students are preparing to enter a world in which colleges and businesses are demanding more than ever before. To ensure all students are ready for success after high school, the Common Core State Standards establish clear, consistent guidelines for what every student should know and be able to do in math and English language arts from kindergarten through 12thgrade.

The standards …are designed to ensure students are prepared for today’s entry-level careers, freshman-level college courses, and workforce training programs.

That is the extent of any documented connection between CCSS and “the demands of business”: Because the CCSS website says so.

No research exists establishing a sound connection between the claims of CCSS as “ensuring all students are prepared for today’s entry-level careers” and actual…

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Delaware DOE Citing Non-Existent Law Against Parent Opt Out Of Smarter Balanced! Nice Try!

Originally posted on Exceptional Delaware:

This is rich! The Delaware DOE, knowing a massive wave of parent opt outs of the Smarter Balanced Assessment is coming, have put out a letter to all Delaware schools for how to handle this situation.  They even cite laws that don’t even mention the words “parent” or “opt out”.  You have to read this to believe it!

Parent Refusal to Student Assessment

Local education agency guidelines

The Smarter Balanced assessments are a key part of implementing the Common Core State Standards and preparing all students for success in college and careers. Delaware’s move to the Smarter Balanced assessment system replaces previous tests, offering significant improvements over assessments of the past. The Smarter assessments provide an academic checkup by measuring real-world skills such as critical thinking and problem solving.  In addition, through optional formative assessments and a digital resource library and interim item bank, Smarter provides information during the year…

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News Journal Our View cutting across NJ’s bias agenda and I hope Mr. Mayor get’s his head out his butt

Originally posted on Kilroy's delaware:

Once again, who runs Delaware schools? Our View  2:19 p.m. EST November 30, 2014

The news articles said the city of Wilmington has filed suit to stop the state from closing the Maurice J. Moyer Academic Institute. The reality behind the news is that this is just the latest development in the battle over who runs Delaware’s schools.

It is not simply a case of city vs. state. That could be worked out. The real problem is that too many institutions are trying to run the schools and the lines of authority – and responsibility – are not clear. Is it the state? The federal government? The local school districts? Administrators and teachers? All of them have a role. All of them have a say. And at times, all of them are at cross-purposes.

As for Moyer it is a case against the state. If the goal was to ensure…

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Originally posted on DCGEducator: Doing The Right Thing:


Finally, The truth about ALEC appears on national TV.

ALEC is harpooned and lampooned by HBO’s John Oliver.

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Opt Out! Know Your Options.

Originally posted on kavips:

If your public school mandated that all graduates need to jump a 6 foot high bar in order to pass, would you simply let them go through with it, or would you opt them out?

If your public school mandated that all graduates needed to perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto Number 3, with only 7 errors or not graduate, would you simply let them go through with it, or would you opt out?

If your public school mandated that all graduates needed to dance the first half of the Swan Lake ballet perfectly in order to graduate, would you simply let them go through with it, or would you opt out?

If your public school mandated that all graduates needed to memorize the Koran in order to graduate, would you simply let them go through with ti, or would you opt out?

If your public school mandated that all graduates needed…

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Does Your Physician Have a High Value-Added Rating?

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Hah! This is what we have been waiting for! Economists are now borrowing from the education research literature to develop value-added metrics for physicians. Next, I hope, will be the development of VAMs for lawyers and soon you will hear the screams of outrage not only from the American Medical Association but the American Bar Association. With the economists figuring out metrics to measure these politically powerful professions, teachers won’t be alone in their battle against obsessive compulsive metrical disorder. If only someone would come up with VAM for elected officials! Better yet, how about a VAM for economists? For example, how often do their predictions about the economy come true?

Here is how you measure the value-added of physicians according to the link above from the National Bureau of Economic Research:

“Despite increasing calls for value-based payments, existing methodologies for determining physicians’ “value added” to patient health outcomes have…

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