The School Registration Bill is Here

March 10th, 2021

Category: News, Policy and Practice

Back in January, we wrote about Delaware’s frustrating school registration process. It’s an all-over-the-place approach that involves a ton of paperwork and offers little help to non-English-speaking families.

But help could soon be on the way. SB 82 was introduced this week by Sen. Elizabeth Lockman, and aims to rewrite Delaware code on public school registration.

With 2021 technology, there’s no reason Delaware can’t adopt a modern, one-stop digital shop that allows families to choose the option more convenient for them—paper or online, and in multiple languages. Ultimately, a common, uniform system would simplify the process for families and districts, enable schools to engage with families and plan in advance of the school year, and integrate data systems.

There are currently 29 school districts and charter schools in Delaware that provide kindergarten and 41  that accept students in other grades; each with its own registration and enrollment process. Parents are often asked to fill out paper forms in-person at schools during the workday. In kindergarten alone, there are 29 different registration systems.

The Delaware Readiness Teams was instrumental in the issue gaining traction. Responses to a 2018 Delaware Readiness Teams survey about families’ experiences with the current Kindergarten registration system showed us that parents, caregivers, and families have asked for a more streamlined, simplified process for registration. The survey showed that three out of four caregivers call the registration process hard or extremely hard. Further, almost 100 percent of Spanish-speaking families who took the survey believe the process is hard or extremely hard.

Not surprisingly, the DRTs have also come out in support of the bill. Want to join them in advocating for this common-sense bill? Tell your legislator to support SB 82 as a first step toward a system that works for families.

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Matt Amis



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