Delaware’s Public Schools System Highlighted in Annual “Education Week” Report Card
Accountability, School Climate, Financial Resources and Teacher Quality Given High Marks
Dover, Del.–January 4, 2006The annual “State of the States” report card in public education, released earlier today by “Education Week,” a national weekly publication in Bethesda, MD., has given Delaware’s public education system some of the highest marks in the country in areas of school climate, standards and accountability, controlling of financial resources and efforts to improve teacher quality.
Today’s nationwide report specifically features Delaware’s public schools, its decade-old reform initiatives, its commitment to standards-based accountability and its efforts to raise instructional quality. Calling Delaware “A Small Wonder,” the report praises state and educational leadership over three administrations and recognizes the First State in pushing National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test scores from the low tier of states to well above the U.S. average in reading and mathematics. It also commends Delaware for moving students out of the “below basic” in NAEP testing as well as closing achievement gaps far greater than the national average.
In school climate, the Delaware public school system received an overall grade of “B” which was the highest grade given in the U.S. in this category. The grade was based upon a number of criteria including the strength of existing charter school laws, class-size reduction programs, and the fact that the average class size in elementary schools is below the national average.
Today’s report also highlighted Delaware either matching or outpacing the average state in the three remaining graded policy categories. The overall grade given to Delaware by Education Week was a “B” with the average state receiving a “C+.”
In Standards and Accountability, Delaware was given a “B+” grade while the average state was graded a “B-.” The report states that Delaware performs well in this area because it uses assessments aligned to state standards for all grade spans in all of the four core subjects.
In Resource Equity, Delaware received a “B-” while the state average was a “C.” Delaware received the second-highest grade in the nation for the coefficient-of-variation measure which indicates a low level of disparity in per pupil funding across school districts.
In Teacher Quality, Delaware’s grade received a boost because the state finances professional development for all of its districts and requires and finances mentoring for all its new teachers.
The annual report, now in its tenth year, also highlights Delaware’s trends in student achievement and how it compares with trends of the nation as a whole. Using the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) as their guide, the Quality Counts report shows that from 1992-2005, Delaware was one of only four states above the national average in fourth grade reading results; one of only three states that was above the national average in grade 8 reading. The report also highlights that Delaware was one of only 9 states above the national average in grade 4 and 8 mathematics.
“I am pleased with today’s Quality Counts report from Education Week,” said Secretary of Education Valerie A. Woodruff. “This is a fair snapshot of where we are and where we need to go. Our state can be proud of our accomplishments. We must continue to work together to keep our focus on improving in order to support the needs of all of our children.”
For additional information, please visit the Education Week website at:
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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