Delaware Receives a C+
Delaware received a C+ and ranks 22nd among states according to Education Week’s recently released Quality Counts report, which measures six categories (chance for success, K-12 achievement, transitions and alignment, school finance analysis, the teaching profession, and standards, assessments, and accountability)
Key findings include:
- Delaware has the second highest kindergarten enrollment (82.1%) nationally;
- Delaware is outscored by over 30 states in 4th grade math, 8th grade reading, and 8th grade math while outscoring over 30 states in 4th grade reading;
- Delaware has one of the ten lowest achievement gaps in math (8th grade) and reading (4th grade) between our affluent and low-income students; and
- Delaware is one of 17 states that do not officially define college readiness while being one of 35 states that do not align high school assessments with college readiness expectations.
These findings, and subsequent ranking, shouldn’t surprise anyone who has followed education in Delaware. It’s hard to justify being the top ranked state when you spend more than 37 states (adjusted for cost-of-living) on public education yet only score better than 10 states in 4th grade math. However, numerous indicators that pushed us further down the rankings have been previously advocated for in Vision 2015, the LEAD Committee, and Governor Markell’s Blueprint, demonstrating a broad coalition anxious to move forward. These include providing additional funds to students based on various characteristics (ELL and low-income), compensating teachers based on classroom effectiveness, and holding educator preparation programs accountable for their graduates’ effectiveness.
In addition, Race to the Top has given the state and districts enormous resources to pursue additional policies outlined in the report that would improve our overall standing. With over $119 million, Delaware will incentivize highly-effective teachers to take their talents to struggling schools, create an alternative leader pipeline that will place principals in a year-long residency to learn from other highly-effective leaders before assuming responsibility of their own campus, and evaluating all teachers annually and using that information to inform professional development opportunities.
With the additional resources provided through RTTT and support from numerous stakeholders regarding necessary policy and practice changes, Delaware is well positioned to make substantial improvements to our education system that will vault us ahead of other states and, more importantly, move the needle on achievement for all our students.