Sussex County Delaware

Education Reform ...

Educator Bill
Stalls in Dover

DOVER -- Educator Accountability legislation, called the last critical piece to education reform in Delaware by Gov. Thomas R. Carper, stalled during a special session of the General Assembly on Thursday, Oct. 28, 1999.

Legislators said there were too many amendments to the bill to consider during a single session and that they will re-visit the bill when they return for the next regular session in January 2000.

The House of Representatives recessed at 9:30 p.m. after waiting for the Senate to act on the proposal. The Senate must pass the bill before it goes to the House.

In a special address to the state on Monday, Oct. 25, 1999, Gov. Carper said the original legislation was endorsed by the Delaware Parents-Teachers Association, the Delaware State Education Association, the Business Public Education Council, the Delaware and New Castle County chambers of commerce, and his administration, including the Delaware Department of Education.

That legislation would have:

  • Create a professional standards board comprised of teachers, administrators, parents, a local school board member and a representative of the higher education community to work with the state Board of Education to develop certification, compensation and evaluation systems for teachers and administrators;
  • Institute aptitude and specialized knowledge tests for entry level teachers in the state;
  • Raise pay by 15 percent for entry level teachers in the state;
  • Require professional development for veteran teachers for re-certification every 5 years;
  • Provide smaller pay raises to veteran teachers;
  • Pay teachers more for assuming additional responsibilities such as working with students after school hours;
  • Provide a 12 percent pay raise to teachers who earn rigorous national board certifications;
  • Create an annual evaluation system for teachers and administrators to measure how well they improve student achievement.
  • Require educators seeking employment in other school districts to present their last three evaluations to the districts they are seeking employment in so those districts can base their hiring decisions on past performances.

House members, however, felt they couldn't vote on the bill after numerous Senate amendments had been added during closed negotiations during the special session on Thursday night. House members said at 9:30 p.m. that they still hadn't seen the final Senate version when they decided to recess.

Gov. Carper was disappointed in the evening's events. "This has been an uphill fight," he said. "It need not have been."

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