In 2016, we explored the importance of teacher diversity in schools and discovered a myriad of benefits such as:

And while national as well as local organizations are working on this issue, new data from the state’s school report cards paint a clearer picture on how teacher diversity is faring in Delaware.


Delaware teachers and principals are less diverse than the students they serve. There are approximately 138,000 students in 220 schools in Delaware—56% of them are of color. About 9,600 teachers teach in Delaware schools—but only 17% of them identify as teachers of color (TOC).

After 2 years of teaching, TOC leave the field. Delaware only retains 50% of TOC in the same school after two years and 70% in the state, which is 10% lower than non-TOC.


The K-12 Teacher Academy Pathway can diversify the profession. 1,500 Delaware high school students are enrolled in K-12 Teacher Academy courses—50% of color.

Increased concentration on teacher residencies has led to more prepared new teachers and higher retention potential: The state will invest $1 million in programs this year and plans to expand their efforts to double the number of teacher residencies in three years.

These data indicate our state is on the precipice of change. Delaware is on the forefront of leveraging a grow-your-own strategy with significant cultural and policy changes.

The positive momentum underway—including K-12 Teacher Academies, teacher residencies, and much more—could lead to higher recruitment and retention rates among TOC and close the teacher diversity gap.


Raising a child is expensive, as any parent will tell you. According to Economic Policy Institute, a family on a full-time minimum-wage salary can expect to spend up to 64 percent of their income on just infant care. A family with just two children—an infant and a four-year-old—can pay more than $19,000 per year—more than 56 percent more than the cost of an average monthly rent in Delaware. Still, the U.S. States invests much less than other nations in early learning, during a critical period of childhood brain development.

It’s not just parents who suffer under the high cost of childcare. Childcare providers also struggle to stay afloat.

For low-income parents that are working, training for a job, or looking for work, the state of Delaware offers some reprieve. Purchase of Care is a subsidy to help pay for early learning tuition. Delaware covers about 15,000 children up to age 12 every year through POC. Families that qualify choose from centers that accept POC payments—not all do—and the state reimburses that provider based on the state’s available resources.

But Purchase of Care reimbursements do not cover the whole cost of care. According to the latest market rate study, the state’s POC payment covers only about half of what it costs a provider to deliver high-quality care to a childDelaware has not increased the amount it pays providers since 2011, in spite of rising costs, inflation, and cost-of-living increases.

Governor Carney proposed increasing this rate to the 2015 “market rate” in his FY20 budget proposal. This is progress; however, it still won’t cover current costs—and doesn’t include a plan to ensure that reimbursement rates are updated annually.

Providers who accept children from low-income backgrounds often face daunting financial decisions.  Providers indicate that financial hardship due to low reimbursement rates has been leading to fewer POC slots in high-quality programs, meaning less access for low-income families. Delaware has not had a waiting list for children on Purchase of Care for decades, but this losing financial proposition may create a waiting list if the supply is not sufficient.

Early childhood education is a no-brainer investment for Delaware. Investing in high-quality early learning can help stimulate the economy, reduce crime, improve academics, and produce more positive overall life outcomes. A recent report shows that some states could see annual returns of up to 13 percent for every dollar invested in early childhood education. Ensuring that providers are better reimbursed will translate into benefits for both children and families.

Join us in urging the Delaware General Assembly to:

  • Increase Purchase of Care and Stars reimbursements in the state budget by $10 million each.
  • Ensure Purchase of Care reimbursement rates are based on the current market rate, which is studied every three years.


[Click here to get a sense for how tiered reimbursement works in Delaware]

New English Course Could Alleviate Remediation

In 2017, Delaware’s Department of Education revealed that more than 40 percent of high schoolers weren’t graduating with the skills needed to do college-level coursework—including 24 percent who weren’t ready for college-level English.  The fallout? Thousands of students who wind up in remedial courses, which cost money and don’t usually provide credits toward college graduation.


A new high school course, the Foundations of College English, aims to combat this trend. Created through funding from Strada Education Network, and in partnership with the Department of Education and local colleges, the elective course itself was designed by Delaware Technical Community College.


It allows high school juniors and seniors to better prepare for college-level English courses. If they pass the class, students are guaranteed entry into credit-bearing English language arts coursework at Goldey Beacom College, Delaware State University, Delaware Technical, University of Delaware, Wesley College, and Wilmington University.


Remedial courses often add student debt and don’t count toward a degree.


Innovative, targeted interventions like Foundations of College English deliver the kind of  support students need as they explore the full spectrum of postsecondary options (certifications, two-year and four-year degrees, apprenticeships, etc.), graduate ready for college-level coursework, and continue through college to gain the credentials needed to achieve their goals.

What’s the Lay of Delaware’s Postsecondary Prep Landscape?

How well is Delaware really preparing students for life after graduation? We know there are many outstanding in-school and out-of-school programs and support services up and down the state, but what are our strongest assets? Our biggest opportunities to improve? Rodel is just one of several partners dedicated to finding answers to these questions, and analyzing what Delaware’s college and career support landscape looks like. In partnership with Jobs for the Future, an analysis and recommendations have been published entitled Supporting Postsecondary Success in Delaware: A Landscape Analysis of Student Opportunities.

The analysis confirmed that while Delaware is a burgeoning national leader in college and career readiness efforts, there is still work to be done to ensure that all students are getting the support they need for success. Recommendations can be found in full detail in the report. Recommendations are divided into four themes:

  • Rethink College and Career Advising: Professional school counselors are an essential piece of the puzzle, but a new approach that utilizes all educators in college and career planning, engages parents, and coordinates state, school, and community-based services is desired to address broad student needs.
  • Address Student Mental Health Needs: Counselors, educators, and community-based organizations address students’ mental health needs, but all providers could do better to understand the current services that are available and how to scale best practices.
  • Expand Access to Support Services and Equity of Distribution: Race, geography, citizenship, and English learner status can reportedly hamper access to high-quality services for students. Current programming does not adequately cover all postsecondary and career preparation topics (such as persistence/completion of postsecondary education and affordability), and student demand is not being met consistently or equitably.
  • Leverage Existing Resources: Cross-sector communities (e.g. counselors, schools, mental health, community-based, higher education, philanthropy, and business) provide critical support services, but there is a need to expand infrastructure, “braid” financial resources, and deliver services more strategically and effectively to ensure that all youth are prepared for college and career upon graduating from high school.


We refuse to allow this report to sit on the shelf without a plan for action. So, representatives from nearly 75 community-based organizations, schools districts, institutions of higher education, state agencies, and the private sector gathered to learn about the findings and recommendations of the analysis and began discussions on opportunities for action. Participants discussed the following priorities:

  • Develop a meaningful family engagement strategy to share new and existing opportunities, such as the SEED and Inspire scholarships or career pathways.
  • Utilize common language and understanding of social and emotional learning supports that can be used in schools, community-based organizations, and homes across the state.
  • Consider a compendium of college and career programming and supports available across the state, including the types of supports available and the age groups served.
  • Brainstorm a collaborative strategy for college and career readiness and success efforts that would more effectively point students to needed resources, share best practices across organizations, and work toward common goals and outcomes.
  • Recognize and capitalize on opportunities to leverage resources to expand collaboration and scale best practices.

Feedback will be used to inform planning and implementation moving forward.


Over the next eight years, Delaware will hire or replace 30 percent of its workforce. In order to prepare students for the future, we must provide them with the academic and technical skills, advising and supports, and leadership and work experiences that will prepare them to be our future leaders. We must continue to work together to provide students with both the college and career supports to prepare them in those endeavors.