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Delaware Legislature Targets Underperforming Schools with New Bill

In a bipartisan effort, Delaware lawmakers are pushing forward a bill aimed at tackling the issue of profoundly underperforming schools across the state. Sponsored by State Representatives Bryan Shupe (R-Milford South) and Kim Williams (D-Newport, Stanton), along with State Senator Brian Pettyjohn (R-Georgetown), the proposed legislation seeks to implement immediate measures to address the concerning levels of academic achievement in certain public schools.

The bill mandates remedial action plans for schools where less than 10% of students meet proficiency standards in English Language Arts or mathematics. Under the proposed measure, district superintendents would collaborate with the Department of Education and school administrators to devise both short-term and long-term strategies to improve student performance.

Explaining the rationale behind the bill, Rep. Shupe emphasized the importance of addressing both immediate needs and underlying systemic issues. "We must provide immediate assistance to current students while also working on long-term solutions to improve these schools," he stated.

Crucially, the legislation ensures transparency and accountability by requiring superintendents to present the plans for approval at school board meetings and provide annual updates on their implementation. These plans would be easily accessible to parents and the public on both school and Department of Education websites.

Sen. Pettyjohn, the prime Senate sponsor of the bill, highlighted the urgency of the issue, noting that 17 Delaware public schools have alarming rates of students not meeting basic academic standards. "It’s intolerable that any school would have a grade-level cohort where nearly all the students do not meet basic academic standards," he asserted.

With unanimous approval from the House of Representatives and clearance from the Senate Education Committee, the bill is poised for consideration on the Senate floor. Sen. Pettyjohn expressed his determination to expedite the process, urging Senate leadership to prioritize the legislation and move it swiftly toward enactment.

As Delaware lawmakers rally behind this bipartisan initiative, the focus remains squarely on ensuring that all students have access to quality education and the support they need to succeed academically.

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