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New standards for Delaware teachers now law

Training teachers who can work better in the classroom and holding those teachers to a higher standard of accountability are part of new law aimed at guiding teachers for their future in Delaware classrooms.

Governor Jack Markell (D-Del.) signed Senate Bill 51 into law Wednesday in a ceremony on the Dover campus of Wilmington University. The legislation is one of the commitments he made in his 2013 State of the State address. The Governor describes the law as raising the bar for those entering the teaching profession.

He says there will be new requirements in the law where prospective teachers would complete a rigorous assessment, and the state would track their performance. “Raising the standards for our teacher preparation programs and raising the bar for the students admitted to these programs helps us to ensure that we are graduating high quality teachers from our state universities and teacher certification programs,” said Rep. Darryl Scott, D-Dover, the bill’s lead House sponsor.

Supporters of the law also hope the new standards will slow down the rate of teacher turn-over in Delaware classrooms. Currently, 2 in 5 new teachers leave their posts in the state within 4 years. Delaware ranks in the bottom 10 of states in teacher retention. 

Many of the state’s teachers are taught in Delaware colleges and universities. 59% received their bachelor’s degrees in Delaware. Delaware State Education Association President Frederika Jenner and Jon Sell of Sussex Tech, who was named Delaware’s 2013 Teacher of the year, are supporters of the new teaching standards.

Markell has made it a point to focus on education during his first term in office. Delaware was the first state to land “Race to the Top” funds, which have been used to implement new testing and support methods throughout the state.

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