Gov. Carney: Delawareans for Educational Opportunity, DE NAACP Agreement Makes Significant Investment in DE Schools
Settlement agreement in Chancery Court case would make Opportunity Funding permanent and expand funding for high-needs schools
WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Monday announced an agreement with Delawareans for Educational Opportunity and the Delaware NAACP to make significant new investments in Delaware public schools and dedicate additional funding for Delaware’s most disadvantaged students to help close achievement gaps.
The settlement agreement announced on Monday suspends litigation currently pending in Delaware’s Court of Chancery and creates a path forward to provide substantial additional support for Delaware schools, high-needs students and educators.
The agreement announced on Monday will:
- More than double funding for Opportunity Funding to $60 million annually by Fiscal Year 2025, and make the weighted funding program permanent. Funding will increase automatically with enrollment beyond 2025.
- Double funding for the Early Childhood Assistance Program (ECAP) to expand access to affordable early education.
- Provide full funding for K-3 basic special education, consistent with grades 4-12.
- Provide additional funding for teacher recruitment and retention in high-needs schools.
Opportunity Funding provides targeted funding – for the first time in Delaware’s history – for low-income students and English learners statewide. Members of the Delaware General Assembly must approve terms the agreement as part of the regular budget and legislative process.
“It’s important to make clear that both parties viewed this case and these settlement negotiations as an opportunity to make real progress for Delaware’s children,” said Governor Carney. “This is a path forward to support our most disadvantaged students and families – and one that will help close the persistent achievement gap in our schools.
“But our work is just getting started,” said Governor Carney. “The General Assembly will need to consider these changes as part of its regular budget process in Dover. I look forward to discussions with legislators. Delaware’s General Assembly has supported increased investments in public education over the last four years and I believe legislators of both parties will see the merit in this proposal.”
“Every student – regardless of zip code or background – deserves a high-quality public education. And yet, Delaware’s current education funding formula fails to account for the simple fact that in order to succeed, children with the greatest needs require the most support,” said Senator Elizabeth Lockman. “That is the reform we are all working towards and the settlement announced today marks a potential step forward in our efforts to create a funding formula that is truly equitable for all students. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to fully discuss the details of the proposal with my colleagues, parents, educators and taxpayers in the weeks ahead.”
“As a mother of two children who were identified very early as developmentally delayed, I know firsthand how important it is to have teachers in place to provide quality services,” said Representative Kim Williams, a longtime advocate for K-3 special education funding. “Research has proven that early identification and intervention are critical to a child’s overall success. By the time a child reaches third grade, they should be transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn. If we are committed to fundamentally improving the quality of education in our state, then we must make a commitment early on.”
“In 2015, while serving as Chair of the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee, WEAC received input from thousands of Delawareans up and down the state – parents, lawmakers, educators, community partners, politicians alike,” said Dr. Tony Allen, President of Delaware State University. “That input continued when WEAC morphed into the Commission. At that time, not one person said that the last 60 years of K12 education for students from economically distressed communities was sustainable, appropriate, or fair. The settlement reached today proves the point and represents a principled commitment to what I believe is a fundamental American right — every child’s access to a quality education. In the spirit of the indomitable Louis L. Redding, Chancellor Collins Seitz, and many more, may we forever be compelled to a higher purpose and greater sense of responsibility for our fellow citizens – particularly the most vulnerable among us.”
“This agreement will continue our work to support the Delaware students and educators who need our help the most,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “Through our Opportunity Funding program, low-income students and young English learners already are receiving additional support, and that work will expand statewide. We will provide new services for young students with special needs, and early childhood education. Our team at the Department of Education looks forward to working with educators to make a real difference for Delaware children with these additional resources.”
“For years, our members have been advocating for the resources needed to meet the needs their of English Learners, low-income, and k-3 basic special education students,” said Stephanie Ingram, President of the Delaware State Education Association. “This sustainable funding will do just that and continue to supply educators with the resources they need. We are hopeful that the General Assembly will make this a permanent part of our funding, and address the structural short comings in education funding in Delaware.”
“On behalf of the Delaware Hispanic Commission and the many English Learners and their families, we want to thank Governor Carney and Secretary Bunting for their leadership in bringing the much-needed permanent funding for children who are at risk in Delaware,” said Javier Torrijos, chair of the Delaware Hispanic Commission. “Children of poverty and English learners need the resources to keep pace with their peers. School districts will be able to look at long-term programs and provide the resources to meet these students’ needs. We are extremely grateful and after many years of advocacy we see this as a major victory for all Delawareans and more importantly the future of our children and this great state.”
Governor Carney, Secretary Bunting Announce $7.6 Million Early Childhood Education Grant
Grant targets early learning opportunities for children from low-income families
WILMINGTON, Del. – A $7.65 million federal grant will help Delaware expand high quality early childhood education to more of the state’s youngest learners over the next five years.
This new Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grant follows a $7.24 million grant the state received in January 2015. Both grants target early learning opportunities for children from low-income families. While the first grant supported such placements statewide, this new grant will continue the expansion with a focus on high quality care options in Kent and Sussex counties, areas with continued need for high quality infant and toddler care and holistic services, such as health and nutrition.
Governor John Carney, joined by Secretary of Education Susan Bunting, announced the new award today during a visit to the Latin American Community Center’s early childhood center in Wilmington. The LACC is one of participants in the 2015 grant.
“A high quality early learning experience is important for all children, and research shows this is especially true for our children from low-income families. High quality early learning yields substantial benefits for these children,” said Governor Carney, noting a 39 percent reduction in special education placements, 30 percent increase in high school graduation, 50 percent increase in college attendance and 20 percent reduction in the likelihood of serving time in jail. “Thanks to this grant, all children in these centers’ classrooms will benefit from teachers with higher education and classrooms with higher quality materials and structural supports.”
The Early Head Start-Child Care partnership integrates the financial and program support of three programs – Delaware Stars, federal Early Head Start, and Delaware’s Purchase of Care program – to raise the quality of infant and toddler child care with more stabilized funding and by paying for teacher education, infant-toddler classroom materials and playground equipment. The program also provides wraparound health and parent services for children from low-income families, such as developmental, nutrition and dental assessments, referrals to services, home visits and help accessing housing, food and job supports.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Early Head Start-Child Care program “brings together the strengths of child care and EHS programs. Child care centers and family child care providers respond to the needs of working families by offering flexible and convenient full-day/full-year services. In addition, child care providers have experience providing care that is strongly grounded in the cultural, linguistic, and social needs of the families and their local communities.”
The grants support children from birth to age 3 years and their families being served in highly-rated Delaware Stars programs. The Delaware Department of Education is partnering with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services to support the work.
The state has made significant investments and progress in raising the quality of early learning in the state in recent years, and ensuring every child arrives in kindergarten ready to learn is a priority of Governor Carney’s administration. Investments include increased professional learning for early childhood educators, onsite support and classroom materials for early learning programs, and developmental screenings and mental health consultants to detect and address physical and mental health issues.
The percent of low-income children enrolled in a highly rated Stars program increased from 5 percent in 2011 to 76 percent of children 0-5 and 78 percent of all children in 2016. And the number of 5-star programs statewide increased from 24 in 2012 to 203 as of January.
But more need exists, particularly in Kent and Sussex counties, where the newest grant will target its supports.
“Families want high quality early care and learning opportunities for their children. However, in some areas of our state there are few, if any, available options. This grant will provide more infants and toddlers in some of our neediest areas the chance to have the best possible start,” said Bunting.
Governor Carney Announces Kimberly Krzanowski as Executive Director of Office of Early Learning
Krzanowski to begin April
DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney announced today Kimberly Krzanowski, a long-time leader and advocate for early learning in the state, as the new executive director of the Delaware Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning.
Krzanowski has more than 16 years of experience in early learning as a former early childhood teacher, center administrator and higher education faculty member, most recently as instructional director/Education Department chair at Delaware Technical Community College.
“We must ensure all children get to kindergarten ready to learn. Kim is the right leader to help us do this,” said Governor John Carney. “Kim will help our state build stronger connections between early learning and our K-12 schools.”
Krzanowski will join the Office of Early Learning on April 3.
As executive director of the Office of Early Learning, Krzanowski also will maintain support for Delaware Stars, the state’s quality rating system for early childhood centers, and help Delaware provide children and families with the early intervention and coaching they need to ensure the children are ready for school.
“Kim has dedicated her career to advocating for our youngest learners, ensuring they receive access to high quality care and education. I am excited to welcome her to the Delaware Department of Education,” said Secretary of Education Susan Bunting.
Krzanowski also has served on numerous advisory boards and statewide committees to implement policy changes that are needed to ensure all children have a strong foundation from the beginning. These committees include T.E.A.C.H® Early Childhood Delaware, Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children Professional Development, New Castle County Vocational School District Early Childhood Career Program and the Delaware Early Childhood Professional Development Strategic Planning Committee.
As instructional director for Education Programs at Delaware Technical Community College, Krzanowski has collaborated with community stakeholders to develop partnerships amongst numerous school districts and early learning organizations. Additionally, she has provided executive leadership to faculty, students and a nationally accredited child development lab school.
Krzanowski holds a Bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Delaware, a Master’s degree in instruction from Wilmington University and is currently working toward her Doctorate degree in educational leadership with a concentration on the early childhood workforce at Wilmington University.
Governor Carney Reestablishes the Family Services Cabinet Council
Council will help coordinate crucial public and private services for Delaware families
WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney signed Executive Order Five on Tuesday, reestablishing the Family Services Cabinet Council to help coordinate public and private services for Delaware families.
Delaware families continue to face significant challenges – including the high cost of child care; violence and poverty in their neighborhoods; the impact of caring for an aging family member; and the challenges of navigating an economy in transition. The Family Services Cabinet Council will be charged with coordinating public and private services that are often fragmented, and proposing changes to current programs to make the delivery of state services more effective.
Governor Carney will serve as chair of the Council.
Reestablishment of the Council, which was first established under Governor Tom Carper, was an action called for by Governor Carney’s Transition Team in their Action Plan for Delaware. The Council also will work closely with the Government Efficiency and Accountability Review Board (GEAR), which Governor Carney created this month to identify cost savings and efficiencies in state government, and to more effectively operate state programs and services.
“Our challenge is to determine whether the programs and services we offer are effective in moving families out of poverty, improving our system of education and creating opportunities for all Delaware families to succeed,” said Governor Carney. “That requires all of us – government agencies, nonprofits and private business – to work together. That also requires that we measure our progress. The reestablishment of the Family Services Cabinet Council will help us do just that, and make a meaningful difference in the lives of Delaware families.”
The Council will be tasked with implementing innovative tools and strategies for addressing a series of specific issues, including: breaking the school-to-prison pipeline; improving access to early childhood education; increasing the availability of affordable housing; improving access to substance abuse treatment; reducing recidivism in Delaware’s correctional system; expanding job training opportunities; and reducing violence in Delaware’s neighborhoods.
The Council will include eight members of Governor Carney’s Cabinet – the Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families; the Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services; the Secretary of the Department of Education; the Secretary of the Department of Labor; the Secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security; the Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority; the Director of the Office of Management and Budget; and the Commissioner of the Department of Correction.
“It is our duty to ensure that our children and our families have the necessary tools to be healthy, prosperous, and safe,” said Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “The reestablishment of this Council will break down silos in state government and allow for a more collaborative and coordinated approach to address some of the most critical issues we face, so that every Delawarean has a fair shot.”