23rd 2008
Delaware Is More Proof that Strong Standards and Parental Choice Work

Posted under Grades and Standards & Homeschooling & Innovation and Reform & Parents & Private Schools & Public Charter Schools & School Accountability & School Choice

A couple months ago I told you about the state of Florida’s amazing success in improving early reading test scores. Here were the main things to which former Gov. Jeb Bush attributed the successful gains:

Raising standards, measuring progress, grading school performance, providing educational options and targeting resources to reward success and reverse failure are all tools that are transforming schools and raising student achievement….

I also believe we need to better apply free-market principles to the way we deliver education in order to improve the entire system. We should expand educational options so all parents can make the best choices for their children. Teachers and principals should be paid based on performance. Educators that teach subjects with a shortage of teachers, teach in low-performing schools or carry increased responsibilities should be paid more. We should also give merit pay to teachers based on student learning gains and other objective measures….

But blogger Charlie Barone says, hey, wait a minute, let’s take a closer look at Delaware, too. It seems that the First State has shown remarkable improvement, as well. As Matt Ladner points out, some of the same success story themes emerge that have come from Florida:

It turns out that Delaware is discretely a haven for parental choice. Delaware has the nation’s 7th ranked charter school law according to the Center for Education Reform, and active inter and intra district choice programs. Add all of those up, and 15.5% of all K-12 students in Delaware are exercising choice through public options.

Delaware also has a large number of students attending private schools, and a little less than 2% home-schooling. Combine those, and you get over 20 percent of students exercising private choice.

If you add it all together, 35.7% of Delaware students are attending schools other than their assigned district school.

It just goes to show- standards and parental choice are two great tastes that taste great together.

I don’t know anyone who has ever been to Delaware, but it sounds like good things are going on there. I hope Colorado lawmakers are paying attention. The same sort of authentic, systemic reform that took place in a large Republican state like Florida also took place in a small Democratic state like Delaware. Are we paying attention to what works?


4 Responses to “Delaware Is More Proof that Strong Standards and Parental Choice Work”

  1. Kathy Kullback on 23 Sep 2008 at 10:52 am #

    Until the focus is on student improvement and politics are removed from the classroom, even choice, quality instruction, and a student focused environment will not improve academic performance.

  2. Ben on 24 Sep 2008 at 9:34 am #

    But don’t choice and standards work as mechanisms to put the focus on student improvement? And what exactly do you mean by removing politics from the classroom?

    I think we essentially agree here. I’d like to go back and see specifically if there’s anything else that distinguishes Delaware and Florida, because their NAEP improvements are remarkable and undeniable.

  3. me updating on 13 Jul 2009 at 7:18 pm #

    YIkes. Google David Figlio , Northwestern University, and Florida’s vouchers and see how the voucher students did not llearn more.

    I am curious how Jeb failed to see that the grade 3 retention policy filtered the grade 4 of its low scores. Could it be plain old Math in action? Google Walter Haney of Boston University and see what he did in regards to Florida, NAEP scores, and the retention policy.

  4. diane on 30 Aug 2009 at 2:43 am #

    2008 and 2009 FCAT Reading scores for Florida’s grade 10 Hispanic students:
    70% scored in the lowest 2 of our 5 levels. Hadn’t the 2009 group been fully exposed to the A+ Plan??????????

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