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UD partnership to address education challenges for low-income and at-risk students

Delaware Public Media

Two prominent University of Delaware alumni are establishing a fund to improve education for low-income and at-risk students around the state.


The $100,000 Fund for Urban Education is a gift from alumni Quinetta Roberson, now a Villanova professor, and Tony Allen, a UD trustee who also chairs the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission.

It comes along with the new UD Partnership for Public Education, led by Roberson and Allen.

Allen says the partnership will start by specifically helping implement WEIC's plan to redistrict long-segregated Wilmington schools, which just got conditional approval from the State Board of Education last Thursday.

He says they'll also work on programs for Special Ed and English language learners, and help for students with traumatic home lives.


"So we're trying to bring all those aspects together.," said Allen. "The Education Improvement Commission has given us a specific project to tackle, at least at first blush, and expand from that."

He notes that just over half of all First State students are low-income -- and in fact, most of them are in Sussex County.


With that in mind, Allen says down the line he wants UD's role in education reform to expand statewide. He adds the university stands to gain, too:  

"What I wanted to do is try to direct more attention specifically to public education around low-income kids, lots of which happen to be black and brown, because I think that will help to create a better pipeline of diverse talent, both with respect to the student population but also with respect to faculty and staff," said Allen.

For now, though, they'll focus on the WEIC plan, which transfers control of Wilmington schools currently in the Christina School District to Red Clay School District.


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