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Questions loom ahead of final ESSA draft plan release next week

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s Department of Education is set to release its final Every Student Succeeds Act draft plan next week.


Some parents like Solange Clarke are anxious to discover what it includes for pre-K and kindergarten education.

Clarke moved to Delaware from New York a few years ago, and says she had a hard time finding information about daycare and preschool programs for her two young children.


“It’s just a lot of having to ask people and rely on people," Clarke said. "And my concern there is, I’m an educated person working in the field of education and these are the hoops I have to go through, so I can imagine what it’s like for somebody who doesn’t have this much experience or doesn’t have the right resources.”


She’s now paying for her son to attend preschool at the Goddard School in Wilmington, but says she has just as many unanswered questions about kindergarten options now.


Delaware’s second draft ESSA plan states a commitment to strategies shifting to a pre-K through 12 model – instead of just K-12.


But it’s still unclear how the state plans to incorporate pre-K data into its accountability model.


“When you go into kindergarten, you’re expected to be able to write your letters: A, B, and C," Clarke said. "But if you went to a daycare where you just sat and watched TV all day, and scribbled on paper, now you’re in kindergarten with 15 other students who do know their A,B,Cs and 5 students don’t – that’s an issue, that’s an issue for the teacher.”


Measuring K-3 literacy academic achievement is a new measure under the First State’s ESSA plans.


Education advocates like Atnre Alleyne are happy the state’s plans are also adding factors like chronic absenteeism, but says the goal of cutting the achievement gap in half by 2030 isn’t ambitious enough.


“But what are the interim benchmarks that will let us know that students are actually getting towards their goals so that we don’t get to 2020, 2025 and 2030 and then once again it’s another reset?" Alleyne said.


The final draft plan will be released next Tuesday. That draft will be provided to the Governor and available for public comment for 30 days.

The Department of Education has said there could still be changes to the plan before it’s submitted to the US Department of Education on April 3rd.



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