New standards for Delaware teachers as school ratings report shows decline

    Delaware’s Governor Jack Markell signs off on new standards for teacher performance on the same day a report highlighting falling school ratings is issued.

    Delaware Governor Jack Markell (D) signed legislation clarifying requirements for teachers to achieve an “effective” rating.  Under SB 263, teachers must show two years of satisfactory student growth within a three year period in order to earn the ranking that allows them to get the highest level of notice and hearing protections.

    Markell says the bill fits well with new regulations approved by the Board of Education earlier this year that changes the way educators are evaluated.  “These regulations strengthen the link between a teacher’s or a principal’s evaluations and the student’s growth.  It requires that student growth be measured in a rigor0us and comparable way.”  SB 263 will allow teachers whose students perform the best to receive the best protection from termination.

    The reform measure was signed on the same day the Delaware Department of Education issued a report showing declining ratings for public schools in the state.  For the 2009-2010 school year, the report shows that the state has 20% fewer “superior” schools, and only half as many “commendable” schools.  66 Delaware schools were rated “superior”, and 17 were “commendable”, which represents about 43% of the state’s schools.  That means more than half of Delaware schools have not met their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) or State Progress Determination for at least one year.

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    Delaware Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery says since the state was approved for Race to the Top federal education reform grant money, education leaders around the country are paying attention to reform efforts in Delaware.  “Race to the Top is the catalyst for change.  We must still do the hard work to use that catalyst to bring about reforms that are so strong and complete that public education in Delaware will barely resemble in the next generation what it looks like today.”

    You can find the complete list of school rankings on the state’s website at

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