Dover, Del.–March 17, 2005 The State Board of Education, along with the Department of Education, contracted with the Evaluation Center at Western Michigan Universityin 2003 to conduct an evaluation of Delaware’s charter school program. Dr. Gary Miron is the Chief of Staff of the Center and was the principal researcher on this project. Year one of the report is being released today.
According to Dr. Miron, “This is one of the most rigorous studies of student achievement in charter schools. There are still limitations and the study cannot be seen as definitive. Nonetheless, this is a positive study for charter schools in a growing body of research that is otherwise mixed at best.”
Dr. Miron continues, “The positive findings in Delaware likely are due to a number of factors including the rigorous application processand oversight, clear and measurable expectations for schools, provision of technical assistance by DOE, relatively strong funding,and bipartisan support.”
The report looked at all 13 charter schools in Delaware; compared Delaware’s charter school laws with those of other states; surveyed charter school teachers regarding their satisfaction, qualifications and characteristics; looked at how charter schools were accomplishing their missions; analyzed student performance of those in charter schoolscompared to a like population in the traditional pubic schools; and reviewed the dilemmas and issues related to charter school oversight.
The State Board and the Department of Education are pleased with the findings and recommendations.According to Dr. Joseph Pika, President of the State Board of Education, “this study confirms that we are on the right trackin demanding high quality when reviewing charter school applications and renewals. We want charter schools in Delaware to serve their students well. The bottom line is clear evidence of student learningand progress in meeting the State standards in the core academic areas while also having increased autonomy to be creative and try new things.” He continued, “we are all still learning about the needs and possibilities of charter education. The charter movement in Delaware continues to mature, and the State Board, the Department,and charter school advocates are working together to improve the authorizing process as well as the oversight functionswith an eye to ensuring student growth.”
Secretary of Education Valerie A. Woodruff echoed Dr. Pika’s comments. “Implementation of the charter school law created an enormous learning curve for everyone involved. This report confirms the importance of the role of charter authorizers.It also confirms that strong partnerships among the State Board of Education, the Department of Education and charter school leadershipresult in increased student achievement.”
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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