State Seeks Public Input on Accountability System
Earlier this month, the Department of Education announced that they would be seeking input on the state’s new accountability system. Last week, I attended a town hall held by the Department to reach parents and community members to discuss potential measures to be included on accountability report cards, which are planned to launch in the fall of 2015. The report cards will be applied to all public schools in the state.
To begin the process of developing Delaware’s accountability system, earlier this year, the Department appointed an Accountability Framework Work Group that includes district representatives from throughout the state. This group will review the feedback gathered from surveys and public meetings, and will make recommendations to the Secretary about which measures should be included on Delaware’s report cards.
In order to make sure that the report cards include information that is important to the public, this fall the Department is engaging the public through an online survey and in-person town halls. In addition, best practices from other states are being considered, including those from Denver Public Schools and New Mexico, among others.
The Department is seeking 10,000 survey responses by the end of this year to help determine which measures should be included on the reports cards. As of November 4, nearly 1,700 responses had been received. Under current thinking the report cards would consist of two parts. Part A would incorporate measures of academic achievement, college and career readiness, chronic absenteeism, and on-track graduation. The Department is seeking the public’s input on Part B of the report card, which could measure school culture through student, parent, and staff surveys, staff attendance, the number of suspensions and expulsions, or other measures. The survey can be taken here.
At last week’s town hall, some members of the public addressed concerns about how these report cards could further the “cycle of instability,” helping contribute to high turnover of staff in low-performing schools. There were also concerns that providing “grades” or “ratings” could result in more students choicing out of low-performing schools.
To learn more about the accountability process and to provide additional feedback to the Department of Education, you can attend one of the three additional town halls scheduled in November.
These town hall are scheduled for:
- 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm, Wednesday, November 12 at the John Collette Education Resource Center, 35 Commerce Way, Dover
- 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm, Thursday, November 13 at Waters Middle School, 1235 Cedar Lane Road, Middletown
- 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.Wednesday, November 19 at the Sussex County Council Chamber, 2 The Circle, Georgetown