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April 13, 2011
NEWARK To help school districts across Delaware make
earlier job offers to hire top new teaching talent, Governor Jack
Markell signed Senate Bill 16 into law today at a teacher hiring fair at
the University of Delaware.
Future educators and their potential employers celebrated
the signing with Lt. Governor Matt Denn, Secretary of Education Lillian
Lowery, bill sponsors Senator David Sokola and Representatives Earle
Jacques and Debra Heffernan and leaders of a legislative task force
created to address this need were on hand for the signing. Nancy W.
Brickhouse, Interim Dean of the College of Education and Human
Development at the University of Delaware, welcomed them to campus.
For too long, future teachers who wanted to make the
First State their first choice to make a difference in a public school
had to wait until two or more states made them an offer. This new law
gives our schools the chance to move more quickly to get the best
available talent, Markell said. Someone who worked hard to succeed in
college should have the chance to put their time and talent to work in
our schools to help them learn to think, work and succeed.
Previously, districts were not guaranteed their full
share of state funding for teacher salaries until the official September
30th student count was issued by the state. That meant most new
Delaware teachers received job offers in the late summer and early fall,
after other states and other districts had made offers. That could and
did result in late hiring which caused Delaware to lose talent to other
states and made some teachers have to enter a classroom with limited
notice or time to prepare their year of lessons.
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
Being here, at a well-attended a teacher fair, is
an indication that we have qualified men and women who are excited to
teach our children, said Denn. Senate Bill 16 lets our school
districts get them signed up and get them in our classrooms. I am
thankful for the work of the Task Force, some of whom are here today,
for their hard work on this important legislation.
Senate Bill 16 was the direct result of the Teacher
Hiring Task Force created in 2010 by Sokola and Denn in 2010. In
addition to Sokola, Jacques and Heffernan, S.B. 16 was sponsored by
Representatives Darryl Scott and Terry Schooley, whose district includes
the University of Delaware community.
has so many reasons to be proud of the hard work done by our teachers
in our states public schools. This legislation means our districts will
be able to recruit and retain top teaching talent into our public
schools much earlier in the process. It gives them the chance to make
clear to the great teachers of tomorrow that our schools are as
committed to them as those teachers will be to their students, said
Sokola, who chairs the Senate Education Committee.
S.B. 16 establishes an estimated unit count for the
states school districts in April of each school year. An estimated
unit count determines how many students will be in each district and how
many teachers will be needed for the following year. School districts
will then be guaranteed to receive funds for paying teachers in the
following school year that are equal to 98% of the funds justified by
the estimated unit count. This estimated unit count will allow school
districts to have greater confidence in the amount of state funding that
they will receive to pay new teachers, and therefore extend earlier
"This gives our districts more flexibility and makes it
easier for them to secure great teachers earlier," said Secretary of
Education Lillian M. Lowery, who joined Markell for the signing.
Senate Bill 16 also establishes a review process to recommend new
steps if the late hiring problem persists after establishment of the
estimated unit count.
School boards and administrators all recognize
the advantages of a teacher hiring process that begins earlier in the
calendar year, said Jack Buckley, President of Red Clay School Board
and also a Task Force member. S.B. 16 offers some protection to
districts that might have an unanticipated drop in enrollment and, just
as importantly, it creates the expectation that Delaware school
districts will develop strategies locally to recruit and place teachers
by early summer. I'm most hopeful that results will prove the
effectiveness of this legislation.
The University of Delaware was a proud host of the bill signing.
"This bill not only provides financial support for
districts to hire teachers during a timeframe that facilitates their
hiring the best teachers, it also sends the message that hiring
well-prepared teachers is of critical significance to the goal of
dramatically improving student learning in Delaware schools. New
standards, longitudinal data systems, data coaches, new assessments -
all of these initiatives rely on strong implementation by capable and
wise teachers," said Brickhouse.
The University of Delawares Jeff Raffel, who studies
teacher hiring in Delaware and advised the task force, added, I am
delighted that the applied research and public service work conducted in
the Institute for Public Administration and the School of Public Policy
and Administration at the University of Delaware laid the foundation
for the Teacher Hiring Task Force's report and this reform legislation.
For almost a decade, our DOE-funded survey of personnel directors has
documented the hiring of a majority of Delaware's new teachers in August
or later. This late hiring has restricted the pool of available
candidates, led to too many teachers starting their positions after
their school or district orientation--pressing to set up their
classrooms for the start of school, and sent a negative message to
teachers about their value to society. The passage of this legislation
should put Delaware's school districts in a more competitive situation
to hire the best teachers in the nation. Our children deserve nothing
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