Center for Education Policy

Center for Education Policy

The videos below were recorded during the American for Prosperity & Caesar Rodney Institute's Education Freedom event held in September 2023. Many people attended this event and found value in the presentations, so we were encouraged to share some key points from that night!
  • Delaware Public Schools: Tops in Spending, Bottom in Academic Performance.
  • The Shocking Truth about Student and Teacher Absenteeism.
  • An innovative Approach to Education.
  • The Importance of a Two-Parent Home to a Child's Education.
Delaware Public Schools: Tops in Spending, Bottom in Academic Performance
 The Shocking Truth About Student and Teacher Absenteeism
An Innovative Approach to Education  The Importance of a Two-Parent Home to their Child's Education


Despite the state’s standing as a corporate capital and reputation as a model of business efficiency, the business of education in Delaware is in dire need of a drastic upgrade.


The statistics are alarming. According to the Delaware Department of Education State Report Card, Delaware spent $20,231 per student in 2023. This places the state among the top ten states in per pupil spending in the country. 


In contrast, Delaware’s outcomes on the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2022, which is the test that compares educational performance in all 50 states, indicates that Delaware is 3rd from the bottom in fourth grade math, 4th from the bottom in fourth grade reading, and 5th from the bottom in eighth grade math and eighth grade reading.


If you take the average of these four test results, Delaware is 4th from the bottom overall when compared to all 50 states. This is terrible. 


 According to the Delaware Department of Education, in 2023 41% of students were proficient in ELA and 31% of students were proficient in math. The scores have been decreasing since 2013. Despite these low proficiency numbers 88% of students still graduate. These students are graduating without proficiency in math or reading.


There are 17 schools in the state in which less than one in ten students can read or do math at grade level. Many of these schools are in the city of Wilmington and have a majority of minority students. Some of them even spend over $30,000 per student! This is 50% more than the average school and yet the students cannot read or do math. How is this possible?!


Delaware experienced the largest educational declines in the country due to COVID-19 school closures and statewide policies.



Education Problems and Solutions


Utilizing strategies that have been successfully employed elsewhere, CRI will continue to educate the public about the problems caused by school boards that are influenced more by teachers' unions than the local community, as well as advocate for various educational changes that will improve student learning.


Delaware has experienced a disproportionate increase in non-educational spending over the past 20 years. Spending on teachers has increased in proportion to the increase in students - both at 11%. Support services on the other hand have experienced a 49% increase over the same period. “Support services” includes administration. Reallocating funds toward educational expenses and away from administrator salaries is necessary to improve education in Delaware.


Delaware is seeing an increase in the level of discipline problems, violence and bullying in schools. This is due in part to “restorative justice” policies that have replaced traditional discipline. School closures, remote learning, and mental health concerns resulting from the statewide response to COVID-19 have also likely contributed to this increase in school discipline problems.

The state is experiencing a shortage of several hundred teachers likely due to the lack of discipline, the focus on activism instead of on academics, and the lack of support from administration. As already stated there are too many administrators and not enough teachers. The funding going to administrators who do not contribute directly to student outcomes should instead be used to pay for those who work directly with students.

Delaware has a very high level of student absenteeism. Twenty percent of students are “chronically absent” meaning that they miss at least one out of every 10 days of school. A return to consistent recording of absences and timely follow up with students who are missing can turn this problem around.

Delaware education is currently in a very embarrassing and disappointing state. But if the above issues are addressed and logical changes are made we can turn education in the state around and make Delaware “The First State” in education.

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All scores are the % of students performing at grade level or above on the test.   The test used for Elementary Schools (ES) and Middle Schools (MS) is Smarter Balanced:  English Language Arts (ELA) and Math portions. The test used for Hig...

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The Reason Foundation, a public policy think tank in California, compiled data from the U.S. Census from 2002 to 2020. They have kindly shared their data with the Caesar Rodney Institute and given us access to their interactive map of the country and their various graphs depicting education spending...

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