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: http://regulations.delaware.gov/AdminCode/title14/100/103.pdf

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:
7.6.1.1 Selection of one of the models outlined in section 7.6.2;
7.6.1.2 Provisions for regular oversight of the Partnership Zone school by the Department or its designee;
7.6.1.3 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:

7.6.1.3.1 Limitations on hiring, reassigning and transferring covered employees into and out of the Partnership Zone school, such as seniority limitations;
7.6.1.3.2 The methodology for determining which teachers will be transferred or reassigned as part of the model;
7.6.1.3.3 Work rules relating to the educational calendar and scheduling of instructional time and noninstructional time,
7.6.1.3.4 Instructional reform;
7.6.1.3.5 Professional development requirements and other specialized training;
7.6.1.3.6 Retention and employment incentives, including performance incentives for effective teachers and principals; and
7.6.1.3.7 Any other subject required by these regulations to be addressed in the Partnership Zone school’s selected model.
7.6.1.4 In the event the parties are not able to reach the agreement required by 7.6.1.3 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 (7.6.2.1) or convert to a charter (7.6.2.2) or restart the whole process under the turnaround (7.6.2.3) or transformational (7.6.2.4) 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:

http://regulations.delaware.gov/register/december2009/proposed/13%20DE%20Reg%20708%2012-01-09.htm#P9_211

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

  1. minnehanh

    Isn’t it a question of whose has the authority over the schools? That does not seem to be well defined but past practice gives the district the advantage. Right?

  2. John Kowalko III

    Minnehanh, in response to your question, I would point out the language of Title 14 of the Delaware Code: “§ 1043 Authority. In each reorganized school district there shall be a school board which shall have the authority to administer and to supervise the free public schools of the reorganized school district and which shall have the authority to determine policy and adopt rules and regulations for the general administration and supervision of the free public schools of the reorganized school district. Such administration, supervision and policy shall be conducted and formulated in accordance with Delaware law and the policies, rules and regulations of the State.”

    Compare that language with the “powers and duties” of the DDOE: http://delcode.delaware.gov/title14/c001/sc02/index.shtml

    I think the statutory code makes clear that the authority over the schools is placed in the hands of the locally elected school boards. The DDOE only has the authority to exercise “general control and supervision,” which is limited to the specifically enumerated conditions.

    On the other hand, the regulations implemented by the DDOE would give large amounts of authority to the DDOE that they do not possess under the statutory code. With regards to this aspect of the law, I would point out the following language from Title 14 of the Delaware Code: “§ 122 Rules and regulations. (a) The Department shall adopt rules and regulations, consistent with the laws of this State, for the maintenance, administration and supervision throughout the State of a general and efficient system of free public schools in accordance with this title, including the rules and regulations specified in subsection (b) of this section. Such rules and regulations, when prescribed and published, shall not extend, modify or conflict with any law of this State or the reasonable implications thereof, and shall be binding throughout the State.”

    If the statutory code and past practices give authority to the districts over their schools, and the regulations give this authority to the DDOE, such as the supposed power to force a school to close, then this would seem like a “conflict” with both the laws of Delaware and the reasonable implications thereof.

  3. A question...

    John-

    Is there any reason why CSD does not just comply with DOE? By comply, here is my suggestion:

    Select convert to charter school as your new model.

    Have the Christina BOE issue a charter for the school. This way they retain oversight as the charter authorizer.

    Once the charter is in place, select unique names like Bancroft Charter, Stubbs Charter, and Bayard Charter. Interview all of the sitting administrators for their current jobs. Hire them all. Pay them $160,000. What the hell, use the DOE money for the pay raise and laugh at DOE all the way. Get the three admins to use the extra pay to host a giant party for the teachers who have been living on pins and needles beacuase of DOE. Have it in Dover at that little tavern across the street from the Townsend Building. Interview all of the teachers for their current jobs. Hire them all. Give them all a bonus using the DOE funding. Call it a retention bonus and I am sure the TLEU would love it.

    Tell DOE to pound sand as you have complied with the rules, regs, and laws. Now that the word CHARTER is in the school names, they are guaranteed to be successful, right?

    I know that there are a lot of steps to convert to a charter (like getting the teachers and parents to vote in support of the conversion) but I think they would all get the required permission if they were assured that you would run the schools with DOE having no control that they are trying to seize.

    I watch DOE claim to have no authority over the Charter School of Wilmington and Delaware College Prep in Red Clay because Red Clay is the authorizer. CSD can take advantage of that and call DOE’s bluff. The focus has been on the transformation models that would cause the least disruption. Conversion to charter only causes disruption when it is turned over to a charter management company. Make CSD the authorizer and cut out all of the disruption.

    At a minimum, I would like to see you do this just to see the look on the face fo the Charter Network folks when your schools join their organization and vocally demand their support…….

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