See post below this one…
Now turn your attention to Title 14 Chapter 8: School Shared Decision Making.
First three definitions:
(1) ”School community” shall mean a community comprised of the stakeholders responsible for providing and structuring a child’s education; specifically, the board of education at the district level, certified and noncertified school employees, parents, community members and, as appropriate, students.
(2) ”Shared decision-making” shall mean an inclusive, representative decision-making process in which members of the school community at the school and district levels participate as equals. Shared decision-making may occur at all levels of a school system.
3) ”Structured conversations and activities” shall mean ongoing opportunities for representatives of the entire school community, as defined herein, to collectively and collaboratively explore and become knowledgeable about the processes, systems and governance structures commonly associated with shared decision-making; to identify the skills, knowledge and attitudes which promote successful shared decision-making; to review the research related to the successes and shortcomings of shared decision-making in educational settings; and to determine the readiness and commitment of the various groups within the school community to proceed with shared decision-making as a means to achieve the goal of improved teaching and student learning and improved school safety and discipline. The use of professional facilitators to conduct such conversations is advisable and the Department of Education and local districts shall collaborate with other educational stakeholder groups to make such facilitators available at reasonable costs to districts and schools for such purposes.
The intent is obvious… The districts are in charge of children’s education and the DOE’s position is outlined to only be as a facilitator. It has no executive power.
Next: § 802 Shared decision-making at the school district level.
The advisory panels report and advise the Board. The Board is beholden only to those on the advisory committee. If the DOE is not on the advisory committee. The board under this chapter of Title 14, does not have to listen to them. The DOE was at none of the meetings to decide the future of priority schools. Had they been, they could by this law, offer their opinion to the board. This law states that across this state, school boards are only beholden to advisory groups they pick from among concerned parties.
§ 803 District transition plans and grants.
(a) After the LOCAL board has endorsed the district transition planning process pursuant to § 802(e) of this title, the LOCAL board shall initiate the district transition plan by applying for a transition planning grant as authorized in the annual state appropriations act or through the Department of Education’s allocation of federal funds.
This is about applying for grants to fund the transition. There is no mention of closings, privatization, or management companies.
(b) The Department of Education with the approval of the State Board of Education shall adopt guidelines for the approval of district transition grants, based upon the recommendations of a State Board advisory committee comprised of representatives of the school community.
The department of Education’s only authority comes in the approval of district transition grants. which are based on the recommendations of the State Board. It appears the DOE employees have no right under Delaware Law to insist on the firing of a teacher, the removal of principals, or the liberalization of school board control over finances.
The guidelines shall require, but not be limited to specifying, that the district demonstrate that the district has:
(1) Conducted structured conversations and activities to make the transition to shared decision-making as evidenced by local board action and the Report and Recommendation of the District Advisory Committee signed by representatives of school community as specified in § 802(d) of this title;
(2) Established a District Transition Team;
(3) Established a working procedure for the District Transition Team to reach decisions and resolve conflicts;
(4) Validated significant support from members of the school community;
(5) Established plans for communicating the results of the district transition plan to the broader school community for information and critical review;
(6) Specified within its district transition plan its policy for supporting such activities from its local budget, including the school improvement planning process set forth in § 806 of this title, and specifically identified funds to be made available to school committees for their use, such as funds for professional development and classroom materials; and
(7) Described how the various stakeholder groups will formally express their opinion regarding the district transition plan prior to its adoption by the local board of education.
If you glance at the post below, you can see Christina district has already done all of the above.
(c) The Department of Education shall provide local school boards and District Transition Teams with assistance, guidance and strategies to initiate, develop and formally adopt their district transition plans.
The Department of Education is there to assist districts achieve what they wish to achieve. There is no interpretation available stating they get to mandate to districts what they should and should not do.
(d) The local board of education, following public review and comments, shall be responsible for the final form and formal adoption of the district transition plan.
Whatever Christina District decides, the law states that is the transition plan that must follow… The Governor cannot take over the schools. Well, he can if he has machine guns, but, the law at least if ever enforced, and taken to court, would be decided on the side of Christina.
§ 804 Shared decision-making at the school level.
(a) Any school in a school district which has adopted a district transition plan as specified in § 803(d) of this title shall establish a school-level shared decision-making advisory committee (“School Advisory Committee”). Such school may also submit a written request to the Department of Education, via its local board of education, in order to receive funds to conduct structured conversations and activities among the school community to decide whether or not to apply to the Department of Education for a school-level shared decision-making transition grant as specified in § 807(d) of this title and as provided for in the annual appropriations act.
Again, the ball is entirely in the local districts’ and local schools’ court. Schools may write to the DOE requesting funds to conduct structured conversations and activities among the school community.
Each school creates its own transition plan, The DOE can assist. But this is the exact opposite of what we have, mind you, where the DOE creates the transition plan and the local district “can” assist…..
§ 805 School transition plans and grants.
(b) The Department of Education with the approval of the State Board of Education shall adopt guidelines for the approval of “school transition grants”, based upon the recommendations of an advisory committee comprised of representatives of the school community, and promulgate such guidelines by January 1, 1997. The guidelines shall require, but not be limited to, specifying that the school demonstrates that the school has:
(1) Conducted structured conversations and activities and has agreed to make the transition to shared decision-making as evidenced by the Report and Recommendation signed by representatives of the School Advisory Committee (2) Established a School Transition Team;
(3) Established a working procedure for the School Transition Team to reach decisions and resolve conflicts;
(4) Validated significant support from members of the school community;
(5) Committed to develop a school improvement plan including comprehensive school improvement goals tied to state and local academic performance standards and strategies to achieve these goals and including staff development for building the necessary capacities and skills to successfully implement shared decision-making and improve parental involvement;
(6) Established plans for communicating the results of the school improvement plan to the broader school community for information and critical review; and
(7) Described how the various stakeholder groups will formally express their opinion regarding the school transition plan prior to its adoption by the local board of education.
As anyone can see from this very detailed elongation of the law, that Christina School District has more than adequately subscribed to all of these tenants; the department of DOE, none.
(c) The Department of Education and the relevant local district administration shall provide school transition teams with assistance, guidance and strategies to initiate, develop and formally adopt “their” transition plans.
Delaware Code makes quite clear that the intent of Delawares entire educational structure is that all control is local.
(d) The local board of education, following public review and comments, shall adopt the school transition plan unless evidence demonstrates that the school’s transition plan is inconsistent with specific provisions of the adopted district transition plan and such disapproval shall extend only to such inconsistent provisions of the school transition plan.
It is quite clear that the local district calls the shots. The only reason for not adopting a local districts transition plan, it that it is inconsistent with the local district’s plan. Even then, the bill must be adopted if it was developed locally, and those provisions worked on at a later date to bring into compliance.
The DOE has no authority to tell any district what to do.
§ 806 School improvement plans.
The guidelines offered to Christina and Red Clay by the DOE were as followed.
- Hire a leader at $160,000 and give him autonomy from district oversight.
- Fire all teachers and hire only half back.
- Extend the school day
Notice how different they are from Chapter 8 of Title 14 of Delaware Code.
(1) Comprehensive school improvement goals tied to state and local academic performance standards and strategies to achieve these and other goals identified by the school, including staff development and parental involvement;
(2) A description of the rationale for the proposed governance structure, stating how and why the governance process should improve decision-making and support continuous improvement in teaching and student learning;
(3) Review by the broader school community with agreement that the school improvement plan is consistent with the school district plan and evidence that the local board of education has formally adopted the school’s improvement plan;
(4) A proposed budget that explains the use of resources allocated to the school to support strategies for achieving the school improvement goals;
(5) The structural changes or procedures for providing the necessary time and skill-building to support shared decision-making and continuous improvement in teaching and student learning;
(6) The assessment and evaluation process that the school will use to measure its progress toward achieving its stated goals;
(7) A proposed timeline for phasing-in its school improvement plan; and
(8) A proposed budget for the use of the school improvement grant.
AS the post below well shows, Christina district has absolutely dotted the “i’s” and crossed its “t’s”
The DOE is over stepping. That is why an injunction for one year needs to be implemented now for these schools, just as were done for other charter schools which were being closed down.
We need an injunction to stop the forward movement as soon as possible. Current law is on the side of Christina….