Welcome to Rodel’s Legislative Monitor, your resource for learning about state legislation related to public education. Below you will find education legislation that saw activity as of January 2017, the start of the second half of the 149th Delaware General Assembly.
Click the hyperlinks in the “Legislation” column for more information such as the current status in the legislative process, full text, and fiscal note. Visitors can now also sort columns by date, number, or sponsor. Synopses include all amendments that have passed or been placed with the bill. This language may summarize the official synopsis of the legislation.
Did we miss a piece of legislation? Let us know. Check back for weekly updates when the legislature is in session.
This bill expands the list of persons eligible to participate in the Ada Leigh Soles Memorial Professional Librarian and Archivist Incentive Scholarship Program to include employees of non-public libraries in Delaware that join the Delaware Library Consortium.
This joint resolution directs the Department of Education to present its plan for compliance with the new federal education law—“Every Student Succeeds Act” or “ESSA”—at a meeting of the education committees of both chambers of the General Assembly prior to the completion of the state plan and its submission to the federal Department of Education.
|HS 1 for HB 12||K. Williams||01/25/2017||
This bill provides state funding to kindergarten through third grade for basic special education. State funding already occurs for intensive and complex special education during these grades. Currently the basic special education funding runs from fourth through 12th grade. This bill is an effort to promote earlier identification and assistance for basic special education needs which should then mitigate costs over the long term. Pursuant to its terms, funding for K-3 special education will be phased in gradually over four years.
This act requires that any student over the age of 16 who wishes to leave school prior to graduation must obtain the written consent of the parent or guardian, and attend an exit interview where information is supplied regarding the likelihood of diminished earning potential and the increased likelihood of unemployment associated with dropping out. The school is also directed to explore whether there are support services, interventions or programs that might assist the student in remaining enrolled. The intent is to lower the dropout rate and encourage students to complete high school.
This bill requires a conference with the parent or guardian of a student who has been absent without excuse for five days from school. A needs assessment will be performed to determine what supports or services will help the student and family improve school attendance. Moving the intervention forward to the fifth unexcused absence rather than the 10th may help to improve outcomes for Delaware’s students and help prevent students from disengaging from the school community and dropping out of school.
This bill increases the minimum age of required school attendance from 16 to the age of 17. The minimum age for truancy has also been increased accordingly.
This bill creates a requirement that all public high schools, including charter schools, shall offer at least one computer science course at the high school level by the 2020-21 school year. Also, this bill creates a requirement that, by the 2018-19 school year, a computer science course may satisfy one year of the total credit requirement in mathematics, excluding Algebra I, Geometry, or Algebra II or the equivalent courses. The State Board of Education shall develop guidelines addressing how computer science courses can satisfy graduation requirements.
|“Delaware high schools could be required to offer computer science course.” Education Week. 2017|
|HCR 4||Briggs King||02/07/2017||
This resolution proclaims January 22 through 28, 2017 as National School Choice Week.
|HB 51||K. Williams||02/07/2017||
In 2016, the Legislature provided a reimbursement for teachers employed in Delaware who had to pay the one-time licensure fee. By using “teacher,” we inadvertently excluded specialists including school media specialists, school counselors, school nurses, et cetera. This bill changes “teacher” to “educator” for purposes of the reimbursement.
This bill requires all new school construction or major renovation to include the following features: an intruder alarm, bulletproof glass in entrance areas and interior doors and windows, and doors lockable with keys on both sides. Further, the bill would require all new school construction plans to be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget’s Facilities Management Section for compliance with these requirements as well as with Crime Prevention through Environmental Design principles.
|“Delaware bill mandates school safety measures.” The News Journal. 2017.|
This act seeks to ensure that every public school in the state has a school nurse. This act provides a mechanism to allow a district or a charter school that currently does not have a school nurse to receive state funds. This act also permits districts that receive these funds to levy a “match tax” to pay for the local share of that school nurse.
|“A nurse in every Delaware school.” The News Journal. 2017|
This act requires public schools to begin their school year after Labor Day.
This act will seek to diminish the performance gap in literacy skills by creating a three-year pilot program for disadvantaged students in primary grades in Delaware public schools. The state will provide $1 million in grant funding per year, over a three-year period, to support the pilot program. Under the act, Delaware State University, Delaware Technical Community College, and the University of Delaware are invited to help collect and analyze data to assess the program.
This act increases the age requirement for compulsory school attendance in Delaware from 16 to 18 years of age. The age increase is phased in over a two-year period; accordingly, there is a one-year interim period where the compulsory school attendance age requirement will be 17 years old. The act further provides that a child may be exempt from the age requirement for compulsory school attendance if the child has received a high school diploma or a certificate of performance or obtains permission to withdraw from school from the superintendent of the district in which the child is enrolled or from the president of the board of the charter school in which the child is enrolled. The act preserves the exemption under which a child may be excused from compulsory attendance upon request of the child’s parent or legal guardian coupled with supporting written documentation from a qualified health professional.
|“School dropout age could rise to 18 under new bill.” Delaware Public Media. 2017.|
This bill creates the right for the parent or guardian of a child to opt out of the annual assessment, currently the Smarter Balanced assessment system.
|“Lawmakers again eye school testing opt out bill.” Associated Press. 2017.|