2017 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 0%
Charter Schools Score: 65%
Delaware’s charter school law is average on paper and has been implemented in a way that further limits the autonomy of charter schools.
While Delaware’s law allows for both districts and the state charter school commission to authorize charter schools there has been a de facto moratorium on authorizing from districts which means effectively the state only has one authorizer giving charters limited independence.
Delaware earned a D on CER’s most recent charter school law ranking. Delaware’s score was hurt due to having a de facto moratorium on charter school authorizing because districts can refuse to accept charter school applications, and because there are large impediments for charter schools scaling up. However, Delaware is spared a failing grade due to the fact that their charter schools operational funding equity is fairly good.
- Fast Facts
- Law Passed 1995
- Number of Schools: 29
- Estimated Charter School enrollment: 15,300 (up 6percent from 2015-16)
- Delaware has a legislative moratorium on chartering in Wilmington (where most charters are located)
- Virtual Charter Schools are banned
- Charter Schools are allowed to contract with EMOs and CMOs for management purposes
- Delaware earned a five out of fifteen for their authorizers. They earned this score because there are two entities who are able to authorize charter schools in Delaware, the state board of education and local school districts. However, there has been a moratorium on district authorizing which means that the board of education is the only entity able to authorize charter schools in Delaware. Having a variety of schools that operate differently is the hallmark of a successful charter school environment. Having one and only one authorizer ensures that this will not happen. Additionally with one and only authorizer there is a large potential for regulations from the authorizer since every charter school needs to be authorized by the same entity and can’t pick one that is less regulative.
- Delaware earned a three out of fifteen for growth. This is because there is a legislative moratorium on chartering in Wilmington (where most charter schools are located), until 2018. Furthermore, Delaware has several policies that limit the expansion of successful charter schools, such as requiring new applications for extra campuses. These policies, combined with the moratorium on chartering, i has led to poor growth in the charter school sector which harmed Delaware’s score.
- Delaware earned a twelve out of twenty for operations. Delaware has a blanket waiver in the charter school law, but the Delaware Department of Education has the ability to create new regulations at will that apply to charter schools. These regulations limit the ability for charter schools to act autonomously and in accordance with the best interests of their student,s ultimately harming its students.. Additionally, Charter school teachers must be certified in the same manner that traditional public school teachers are. The resulting effect of this policy is that it prevents individuals who have not gone through the bureaucratic measures of teacher certification from working with students, even if the charter schools think they are qualified l for the job.
Delaware earned a six out of fifteen for funding equity. Delaware’s law states that charters are funded through the same funding formula used for districts, but with exceptions. State monies are based on unit funding formula and local funding amount based on previous year’s per pupil expenditure (in students’ district of residence). Districts do not always pass the full funding amount to the charters, and there are continued inequities with operational and categorical funding.
Online Learning Score: 62%
Delaware launched a statewide virtual school pilot program from 2008 to 2010, but funding was discontinued, blamed on a statewide budget deficit. No school district may restrict student enrollment in full-time online school or in a part-time individual online course through enrollment caps or geographic boundaries.
Teacher Quality Score: 82%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers B-
Expanding the Pool of Teachers B-
Identifying Effective Teachers B
Retaining Effective Teachers B-
Exiting Ineffective Teachers D