Gov. Jack Markell challenged the DSU education majors to aim high, work exceptionally hard and become teachers in Delaware.
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell met Oct. 22 with about 150 education majors to share the state’s direction with its new teacher preparedness requirements and emphasis their importance for the state and especially for young elementary and high school students.
In his address in the MLK Jr. Student Center, Gov. Markell noted that a recent state report done in collaboration with Harvard University showed that only three out of 10 Delaware students make it from ninth grade to their second year of college. He further noted that 65% of the jobs in Delaware will require college graduates by 2025.
“We can’t sugarcoat the challenges we face,” he said.
Gov. Markell said that the research clearly shows that teacher quality is the most important school-related factor in a student’s academic success.
Toward ensuring that success, Gov. Markell told DSU’s education majors that the state wants to make a deal with them.
“We are asking you to work exceptionally hard, to meet higher standards than ever and to become a teacher in Delaware,” he said. “We need you to aim high. You will be evaluated more rigorously than those who sat in these seats before you.”
Gov. Jack Markell (far right) poses with student members of the DSEA/NEA Student Association. (L-r) Nefertiti Washington, Devon Conventry, Diogenin Matos, Jessica Brower, Justine Jenkins, Renee Horne, Raykeem Ward, Jasmine Manley, Davon Lewis and Rayshaun Ward.
Earlier this year, Gov. Markell signed Senate Bill 51 that established a more rigorous standard for teacher preparations in the state. "It raises the requirements for what it takes to teach in Delaware," he said.
Among the new requirements, all teacher preparation programs will be required to conduct regular reviews of candidates, followed by exit assessments. All new educators must then pass a state performance assessment in addition to a written exam to ensure that they understand and can apply the content they will teach.
Gov. Markell told the DSU education majors that if they make the commitment to qualify for and pursue a teaching jobs in Delaware’s schools, they will find that the state is determined to provide the resources and other support they will need to have a successful and fulfilling career.
The governor noted the following state education initiatives that are either already underway or being worked toward:
- The state has recently launched www.joindelawareschools.org  as a one-stop easy-to-use resource to find and learn more about education jobs throughout the state.
- The governor said his administration is committed to reworking the teacher pay structure, which would include raising starting salaries and rewarding educators who provide leadership to their peers, as well as those who teach high-need students or hard-to-staff subject areas such as math and science.
The state has established “professional learning communities” to provide interactive opportunities for educators to learn from each other.
Gov. Markell gave the DSU education majors an opportunity to ask questions. He fields a question from Aqsa Siddiqi.
“This is an exciting time to be involved in education in Delaware,” Gov. Markell said. “I am realistic about the challenges we face, but also extremely optimistic that we will continue to see great progress.”
He added that to make that progress a reality, the state needs high-quality students like the education majors at DSU to stay and teach in the First State.
The governor ended the meeting by fielding a number of questions from the education majors.