As reported by Amy Cherry and WDEL:
“A lawsuit that seeks equity in Delaware’s education system and challenges its current funding system is heading to court mediation.
The lawsuit, filed in January of 2018 by the Delawareans for Educational Opportunity and the NAACP Delaware State Conference of Branches with involvement from the ACLU of Delaware, seeks weighted funding systems for high-poverty schools, children with special needs, and children who have English as a second language.
As part of the lawsuit, the plaintiffs collected expert testimony from an assortment of education professionals across the country with specialties in school funding and instructional and program design.
We collected seven of the most standout quotes from the experts.
The share of low-income students scoring below proficient on the assessment tests is not the same across all schools. Some of these differences across schools in the performance of low- income students are structural – that is, (1) schools with higher concentrations of low-income students have worse outcomes for low-income students, and (2) schools with larger shares of students with a disability have lower performance of low-income students. However, some of the differences in performance are related to the quality of instruction provided by the school.Kirabo Jackson, Northwestern University
. . .
Absent a systemic policy for dividing responsibility for school funding between state and local dollars, Delaware winds up with two types of inequities: first, lower-wealth districts having less overall funding to provide educational opportunities; and second, lower-wealth communities must contribute the same or larger share of education funds as wealthier communities despite meaningful differences in local ability to pay.Ary Amerikaner, The Education Trust
. . .
A review of data from Delaware shows that schools serving low-income students in Delaware have systematically lower quality teachers, whether this is measured by their education, their experience, or their performance ratings from the Delaware teacher evaluation system, than do schools with fewer low-income students. By any of the available measures, Delaware is not ensuring that students in schools with high shares of low-income students have the same access to high-quality teachers as their peers in more advantaged schools.Dr. Jesse Rothstein, University of California, Berkeley
. . .
Delaware can improve academic outcomes [for English learners] by revising program structures to reflect appreciation for students’ increasingly complex academic and language needs, and mandating that English learners spend the majority of their instructional time with teachers who are qualified to teach them.Dr. Tamara Sniad, College of Education at Temple University
. . .
By failing to make sufficient investments in effective educational interventions Delaware is trading off short-run budget “savings” for much larger long-run economic burdens. Approximately, these long-run economic burdens are almost as much as the entire spending per child during their years in K-12 schooling. In economic terms, this lack of investment in public education is (by definition) inefficient. Clive Belfield, Queens College Department of Economics
. . .
Disproportionately, low-income students, students with disabilities, and English Learners (ELs) are not on track for college readiness. In Delaware, the high percentages of [low achievement among] disadvantaged students should be seen as the educational emergency that it is: substantial proportions of Delaware students are not on track. Andrew Ho, Harvard University
. . .
The American School Counselor Association’s (ASCA) recommended ratio of 250:1. Delaware’s ratio at 436:1 is highly discrepant from that ratio. Hunter Gehlbach, Johns Hopkins University