Ten years ago, educators, business and community leaders, and leading public officials led a charge to provide a world-class education to every student in our state. Our alliance, known today as the Vision Coalition of Delaware, brought together the expertise necessary to undertake the pressing task of moving education forward.
Hailed as one of the most comprehensive and coherent education plans in the nation, Vision 2015 focused on nearly every aspect of our public education system to provide students with greater and fairer opportunities. We set out to disrupt the status quo, and we did. We set out to shift structures, and we have. Nine years later, Delaware has moved on more than 75 percent of the policy recommendations set forth in the Vision 2015 plan. These include higher academic standards, stronger teacher and principal preparation, expanded early learning, and greater access to higher education and careers.
Delaware is and should be proud; our student achievement has grown at the third-fastest rate in the U.S. over the past two decades (1990-2009). But we haven’t yet achieved all that we hoped. And as the world continues to evolve, so must our thinking.
- Raised academic standards
- Increased the quality of the teacher evaluation process
- Built more time for collaboration and training for teachers and principals
- Established highly selective recruitment strategies for new teachers and principals working in high-needs schools
- Increased requirements for teacher candidates
- Built a system of quality ratings and incentives to evaluate early learning services statewide
- Constructed new statewide initiatives to expand college and career access
- Established one of the best data systems in the country to inform improvements in the system over time
And has achieved
- Increased access to quality early learning opportunities with more than 10,000 children with high needs served by highly rated Stars early learning programs
- More students succeeding on a challenging state assessment with 7 out of 10 students scoring proficient or advanced on the DCAS in 2014, compared to 6 out of 10 students in 2011
- A 30-year low annual high school dropout rate
- 84% of high school students graduating in four years, more than ever before
- A greater percentage of high school students taking AND passing one or more Advanced Placement exams, increasing from 7.6% of the class of 2000 to 17% of the class of 2013
- A greater percentage of Delawareans ages 18-24 attaining education greater than a high school diploma, increasing form 41% in 2005 to 54% in 2013
Delaware Can and Must Do More
Despite the headway we’ve made, there remains a lot of work to do. There is an urgent need to eliminate the persistent gaps in achievement and opportunities between low- and high-income students, as well as the gaps between Delaware students and those in other countries. There are countless examples of excellence in schools across the state, but Delaware can and must do more to turn these pockets of excellence into excellence for each student.