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Politics & Government

Action for Delaware’s Children lays out its legislative agenda

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Delaware Public Media

The group Action for Delaware’s Children launches its legislative campaign to help disadvantaged students.

The group’s first goal over the next three months is to see the General Assembly adopt and implement the recommendations of the Redding Consortium for Educational Equity.

Those recommendations call for significant expansion of home visitation programs for infants and toddlers in poverty, quality Pre-K, expanding the school day and year in high-poverty schools, providing preventative and mental health care to students and improved teacher development.

Reverend Shanika Perry, a member of the Brandywine School Board, highlights the significant expansion of home visitation programs for infants and toddlers in poverty.

"These programs have a solid record of success in all sorts of measures and their positive impact continues well into adolescent years," said Perry. "Children who have the benefit of these programs are more likely to meet developmental milestones, do better academically and have better school discipline records safeguarding them from the school to prison pipeline."

It’s second goal is to improve re-entry services for youth leaving juvenile detention centers.

Former state Attorney General Matt Denn is on the Action for Delaware’s Children board, and says they need to be voices for those who can’t speak for themselves.

"The 3-and-4-year-old kids who deserve a fair start, the 16-year-old kids who need and deserve a second chance they're not here tonight, they're not in Legislative Hall and we really need to make sure that their voices are heard because this is not an academic exercise these are real kids, real people, with real names, and they're counting on us and every year that these goals don't get accomplished real kids are losing out on the hope and the opportunity that is their birthright," said Denn.

The group argues there are two pre-existing conditions in Delaware that are barriers to success before kindergarten - race and income, and they hope to tackle those issues by getting the General Assembly act on their agenda 

They say these initiatives would cost $15-to-20 million.

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