HOW IS DELAWARE USING THE $600 MILLION FOR STUDENTS?
The 2022 NAEP test results show that throughout the country, and particularly in Delaware, COVID-19 had a devastating effect on students who now have a lot of catching up to do.
Delaware received over $600 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to assist schools in recovery from COVID-19. In reviewing the Delaware Department of Education Financial Transparency Report, the school districts have used less than half of these funds. And little has been allocated to ameliorating learning loss.
We recommend school districts use these funds to provide extra tutoring, counseling, and support services to assist students in overcoming learning losses and in coping with the mental health issues that arose during lockdowns, remote learning, and masking. These services should be "outsourced" rather than adding full-time employees because these are one-time funds.
ADDRESSING THE ISSUE AND LOOKING FORWARD
The poor response to the virus only amplified problems that already existed. Students continue suffering from years of bad pedagogy decisions made by the education administration, especially in reading.
We applaud the most recent action to address Delaware's poor reading scores, with the Governor signing the "science of reading" bill. However, action is still needed to address the poor math scores.
For instance, Delaware schools still use Common Core which parents and teachers alike believe does not effectively teach mathematics to our students. A survey by The Hechinger Report Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation found that just 41 percent of high school teachers are positive about Common Core standards.
States throughout the country are developing new educational standards to replace Common Core. Our state's educational leaders must face and take responsibility for the terrible scores of Delaware's students. They must return to effective methods of teaching math just as they are returning to teaching phonics to Delaware's students.
Given the terrible test results for Delaware, parents, the community and stakeholders need to continue putting pressure on the Governor, the Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education, and the Executive Director of the Delaware State Education Association.