State of the State: Governor Markell Remains Dedicated to Education
On January 19th, Governor Markell gave his annual State of the State address to the General Assembly. This speech provides an opportunity to gauge the priorities of the executive branch, and this year Governor Markell did not disappoint. He noted a continued commitment to supporting business and bringing jobs to Delaware, attracting and keeping business through an investment in infrastructure, addressing the health care needs of the state, and to providing a quality public education system. The value of a strong education system is clearly not lost on our governor as it prepares the workforce for the future and also provides a significant draw for existing companies to relocate to our state.
In terms of education initiatives there were a number of highlights from the 2012 State of the State:
- Moving forward with the Performance Appraisal System (DPAS II), with its focus on student progress.
- The World Language Expansion Initiative began with the requirement to take a foreign language to qualify for graduation, but also creates language immersion programs in twenty schools statewide over the next five years.
- Follow through on commitments to early childhood educations, as outlined in the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge application which includes training for early child care professionals, improved teaching and learning tools, monitoring of programs to learn from the successes and challenges, and finally a new kindergarten assessment.
It has been said that Delaware is a national leader based on its plan for improving the state’s education system and the subsequent award of the Race to the Top grant in 2010 and the Early Learning Challenge – Race to the Top grant in January 2012. We’ve made great strides as a state in planning, and Governor Markell acknowledged, “I realize there are those who are uncomfortable with the changes that are being made and that not all of these changes will work exactly as intended on day one.” As the details of some complex and important initiatives are being ironed out – such as DPAS II and the kindergarten assessment design—we remain committed to forging ahead without letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.