Public education in Delaware
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- 1 State agencies
- 2 Regional comparison
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Academic performance
- 5 Educational choice options
- 6 Education funding and expenditures
- 7 Organizations
- 8 Taxpayer-funded lobbying
- 9 Transparency
- 10 Studies and reports
- 11 School districts
- 12 Education ballot measures
- 13 Recent news
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
List of school districts in Delaware
Public education in Delaware
School board elections portal
The mission statement of the Delaware Department of Education reads:
|“||Delaware’s Department of Education is committed to promoting the highest quality education for every Delaware student by providing visionary leadership and superior service.||”|
The Delaware State Board of Education has seven members who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Delaware State Senate. Its statutory duties include reviewing and approving regulations and applications for charter schools and setting long range goals for all aspects of public education in the state.
Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Delaware Department of Education adopted these standards on August 19, 2010, and implemented them during the 2012-2013 school year.
- See also: General comparison table for education statistics in the 50 states and Education spending per pupil in all 50 states
The following chart shows how Delaware compares to three neighboring states with respect to number of students, schools, the number of teachers per pupil, and the number of administrators per pupil. Further comparisons between these states with respect to performance and financial information are given in other sections of this page.
|State||Schools||Districts||Students||Teachers||Teacher/pupil ratio||Administrator/pupil ratio||Per pupil spending|
| Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.|
National Center for Education Statistics, Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12
The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Delaware as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.
|Demographic Information for Delaware's K-12 Public School System|
|Ethnicity||Students||State Percentage||United States Percentage**|
|Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students||81||0.06%||0.42%|
|Two or More||2,307||1.79%||2.54%|
|**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.|
Enrollments by region type
More students in Delaware attend suburban schools than city, town or rural schools. That case is the same in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as shown in the table below.
|Student distribution by region type, 2011 - 2012 (as percents)|
|State||City schools||Suburban schools||Town schools||Rural Schools|
|Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD) (timed out)|
- See also: NAEP scores by state
The National Center for Education Statistics provides state-by-state data on student achievement levels in mathematics and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Delaware's scores were lower than three of its neighboring states (Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania).
|Percent of students scoring at or above proficient, 2012-2013|
|Math - Grade 4||Math - Grade 8||Reading - Grade 4||Reading - Grade 8|
|NAEP assessment data for all students 2012-2013|
Graduation, ACT and SAT scores
|Comparison table for graduation rates and test scores*|
|State||Graduation rate, 2012||Average ACT Composite, 2012||Average SAT Composite, 2013|
|Percent||Quintile ranking**||Score||Participation rate||Score||Participation rate|
| *Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Rate (except for Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, which did not report “Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate,” but instead used their own method of calculation).|
**Graduation rates for states in the first quintile ranked in the top 20 percent nationally. Similarly, graduation rates for states in the fifth quintile ranked in the bottom 20 percent nationally.
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express
- See also: Public high school dropout rates by state for a full comparison of dropout rates by group in all states
The high school event dropout rate indicates the proportion of students who were enrolled at some time during the school year and were expected to be enrolled in grades 9–12 in the following school year but were not enrolled by October 1 of the following school year. Students who have graduated, transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. The average public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12. The event dropout rate for Delaware was higher than the national average at 3.6 percent in the 2010-2011 school year, and 3.5 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.
Educational choice options
- See also: School choice in Delaware
Delaware has the country's third highest private school attendance rate. In addition to private schools, the state has a number of other school choice options, including Charter schools in Delaware, open enrollment, online learning, and homeschooling.
Education funding and expenditures
- See also: Delaware state budget and finances
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the state spent approximately 24.6 percent of its fiscal year 2012 budget on elementary and secondary education. This is up 1.5 percentage points, which represents a 6.5 percent increase in the share of the budget from fiscal year 2008, when the state spent 23.1 percent of its budget on elementary and secondary education. Nearly 60 percent of Delaware's education revenue comes from state funding. Local funding accounts for just over 29 percent, and federal funding accounts for approximately 11 percent.
|Comparison of financial figures for school systems|
|State||Percent of budget (2012)||Per pupil spending (2011)||Revenue sources (2011)|
|Percent federal funds||Percent state funds||Percent local funds|
| Sources: NASBO, "State Expenditure Report," Table 8: Elementary and Secondary Education Expenditures As a Percent of Total Expenditures |
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system revenues in Delaware totaled approximately $1.8 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including revenue sources, for Delaware and surrounding states.
|Revenues by source, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Federal revenue||State revenue||Local revenue||Total revenue|
|Public school revenues by source, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system expenditures in Delaware totaled approximately $1.9 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including expenditure types, for Delaware and surrounding states.
|Expenditures by type, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Current expenditures**||Capital outlay||Other***||Total expenditures|
| **Funds spent operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay, interest on school debt, payments to private schools, and payments to public charter schools.|
***Includes payments to state and local governments, payments to private schools, interest on school system indebtedness, and nonelementary-secondary expenditures, such as adult education and community services expenditures.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
|Public school expenditures, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national salary for classroom teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has declined by 1.3 percent from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. During the same period in Delaware, the average salary decreased by 1.7 percent.
|Estimated average salaries for teachers (in constant dollars**)|
|**"Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to a school-year basis. The CPI does not account for differences in inflation rates from state to state."|
In 2012, the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now assessed the power and influence of state teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their rankings were based on 37 different variables in five broad areas, including: resources and membership, involvement in politics, scope of bargaining, state policies and perceived influence. Delaware ranked 19th overall, or strong, which was in the second tier of five.
- See also: Delaware government sector lobbying
The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Delaware School Boards Association.
In May 2009, Governor Jack Markell announced that by July 30, 2009, citizens would be able to see the state's expenditures online in a searchable database. Markell said, "During these historically challenging financial times, it is critical Delawareans are confident their state tax dollars are being spent as effectively and efficiently as possible."
The Caesar Rodney Institute launched an independent government spending transparency website, DelawareSpends.com, which allows users to search state employee payrolls and vendor payments. Visitors to the site can also post their own data, thoughts, questions, and concerns on the DelawareSpends Forum.
Studies and reports
State Budget Solutions education study
State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009 to 2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates and average ACT scores. The study showed that the states that spent the most did not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor did they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. The full report can be accessed here.
Quality Counts 2014
- See also: Quality Counts 2014 Report
Education Week, a publication that reports on many education issues throughout the country, began using an evaluation system in 1997 to grade each state on various elements of education performance. This system, called Quality Counts, uses official data on performance from each state to generate a report card for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report card in 2014 used six different categories:
- Chance for success
- K-12 achievement
- Standards, assessments and accountability
- The teaching profession
- School finance
- Transitions and Alignment
Each of these six categories had a number of other elements that received individual scores. Those scores were then averaged and used to determine the final score in each category. Every state received two types of scores for each of the six major categories: A numerical score out of 100 and a letter grade based on that score. Education Week used the score for the first category, "chance for success," as the value for ranking each state and the District of Columbia. The average grade received in the entire country was 77.3, or a C+ average. The country's highest average score was in the category of "standards, assessments and accountability" at 85.3, or a B average. The lowest average score was in "K-12 achievement", at 70.2, or a C- average.
Delaware received a score of 79.8, or a B- average in the "chance for success" category. This was above the national average. The state's highest score was in standards, assessments and accountability at 87.5, or a B+ average. The lowest score was in K-12 achievement at 68.5, or a D+ average. Delaware had the lowest scores in chance of success and K-12 achievement when compared to its neighboring states. The chart below displays all of the scores of Delaware and its surrounding states.
Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.
|Public education report cards, 2014|
|State||Chance for success||K-12 achievement||Standards, assessments and accountability||The teaching profession||School finance||Transitions and Alignment|
|Delaware||79.8 (B-)||68.5 (D+)||87.5 (B+)||74.4 (C)||80.0 (B-)||78.6 (C+)|
|Maryland||85.9 (B)||83.1 (B)||88.3 (B+)||83.7 (B)||85.2 (B)||96.4 (A)|
|New Jersey||88.2 (B+)||82.1 (B-)||75.5 (C)||67.2 (D+)||84.5 (B)||82.1 (B-)|
|Pennsylvania||82.6 (B)||75.6 (C)||77.7 (C+)||74.6 (C)||82.0 (B-)||78.6 (C+)|
|United States Average||77.3 (C+)||70.2 (C-)||85.3 (B)||72.5 (C)||75.5 (C)||81.1 (B-)|
| Source: Education Week, "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 18, 2015|
A full discussion of how these numbers were generated can be found here.
- See also: School board elections portal
Delaware operates both public school districts and 12 private charter schools. There are also a few schools that constitute their own school district, such as the Family Foundations Academy, Gateway Lab School and Prestige Academy.
- See also: List of school districts in Delaware
The following table displays the state's top five school districts by total student enrollment:
|1.) Christina School District|
|2.) Red Clay Consolidated School District|
|3.) Brandywine School District|
|4.) Colonial School District|
|5.) Appoquinimink School District|
School board composition
School board members are elected by residents of the school district. If it becomes necessary to fill a vacancy (except for expiration of a term), the school district will inform the public and the Department of Elections that conducts elections for that specific school district that the vacancy has occurred no later than five business days following the vacancy. School boards in Delaware generally consist of five to seven members, elected to five-year terms. Elections are held annually on the second Tuesday in May.
Delaware does not impose statewide term limits on school board members.
- The largest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Christina School District with 16,303 K-12 students.
- The smallest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Appoquinimink School District with 9,214 K-12 students.
- Red Clay Consolidated School District, Brandywine School District and Colonial School District are tied for the most seats on the ballot in 2015 with two seats up for election in each.
- Christina School District and Appoquinimink School District are tied for the fewest seats on the ballot in 2015 with one seat up for election in both.
The district listed below served 61,999 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Click on the district name for more information on the district and its school board elections.
|2015 Delaware School Board Elections|
|District||Date||Seats up for election||Total board seats||Student enrollment|
|Appoquinimink School District||5/12/2015||1||5||9,214|
|Brandywine School District||5/12/2015||2||7||10,801|
|Christina School District||5/12/2015||1||7||16,303|
|Colonial School District||5/12/2015||2||7||9,711|
|Red Clay Consolidated School District||5/12/2015||2||7||15,970|
Path to the ballot
A qualified person wishing to become a candidate for election to the board in a public school district in Delaware must:
- Complete a candidate filing form, have his/her signature notarized and submit the form to the Department of Elections
- Complete the Certification of Intention form and mail it to the Office of the State Election Commissioner Office
- Be qualified to vote in public school elections within the school district
- Not have a paid position that is subject to the rules and regulations of the school board
- Have not been convicted of embezzlement of public money, bribery, perjury or other crimes
Delaware state law does not require candidates with campaign contributions less than $1,000 to file a campaign finance report. However, if the campaign receives or expends more than $2,000 (including any contributions or expenditures by the candidate) before the end of the year in which the election for such office is held, the candidate must notify the Office of the State Election Commissioner within seven days of the receipt or expenditure which brings the total to more than $2,000. The candidate must then form a committee and file all required reports with the Campaign Finance Section of the Office of the State Election Commissioner.
Education ballot measures
As of May 2014, there were no education ballot measures in Delaware.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Delaware + Education "
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Delaware state budget and finances
- Delaware Department of Education
- List of school districts in Delaware
- School choice in Delaware
- Charter schools in Delaware
- Education Policy in the U.S.
- Delaware Department of Education
- State Board of Education
- Delaware School Report Cards
- Delaware Charter Schools
- Delaware Virtual School
- Delaware Public School Statistics
- Delaware Public School Ratings by PSK12
- Delaware Public School Ratings by Great Schools
- National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
- ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
- United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD); Table 2.—Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011-12," accessed May 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, "ED Data Express," accessed May 12, 2014
- Delaware Department of Education, "About DOE," accessed May 14, 2014
- Delaware Department of Education, "DOE Secretary of Education," accessed May 14, 2014
- Delaware Department of Education, "DOE Mission Statement," accessed May 14, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Delaware State Board of Education, "About the State Board of Education," accessed May 14, 2014
- Common Core: State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State,” accessed July 12, 2014
- Delaware Department of Education, "Department of Education Common Core Priorities," July 23, 2012
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
- National Center for Education Statistices, "State Profiles," accessed May 14, 2014
- United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
- ACT, "2012 ACT National and State Scores," accessed May 13, 2014
- Commonwealth Foundation, "SAT Scores by State 2013," October 10, 2013
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File, School Year 2010-11, Provision Version 1a and School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a," accessed May 13, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2010–11," accessed May 13, 2014 (timed out)
- Maciver Institute, "REPORT: How much are teachers really paid?," accessed October 29, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 211.60. Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-13," accessed May 13, 2014
- Thomas E Fordham Institute, " How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison," October 29, 2012
- Center for Union Facts, "Delaware teachers unions," accessed November 3, 2009
- State of Delaware, "Delaware State Government Will Open Checkbook to Public," May 7, 2009
- Education Week "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 19, 2015
- State of Delaware, "Delaware Education," accessed July 9, 2014
- Find Law, "Delaware Code - Title 14: EDUCATION," accessed July 9, 2014
- Electronic School, "Survey of the State School Boards Associations on Term Limits for Local Board Members," accessed July 9, 2014
- State of Delaware, "School Board Member Filing Packet," accessed July 9, 2014
State of Delaware
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | Secretary of Education | Insurance Commissioner | Secretary of Agriculture | Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control | Secretary of Labor | Delaware Public Service Commission |