Delaware Is More Proof that Strong Standards and Parental Choice Work

A couple months ago I told you about the state of Florida’s amazing success in improving early reading test scores. Here were the main things to which former Gov. Jeb Bush attributed the successful gains:

Raising standards, measuring progress, grading school performance, providing educational options and targeting resources to reward success and reverse failure are all tools that are transforming schools and raising student achievement….

I also believe we need to better apply free-market principles to the way we deliver education in order to improve the entire system. We should expand educational options so all parents can make the best choices for their children. Teachers and principals should be paid based on performance. Educators that teach subjects with a shortage of teachers, teach in low-performing schools or carry increased responsibilities should be paid more. We should also give merit pay to teachers based on student learning gains and other objective measures….

But blogger Charlie Barone says, hey, wait a minute, let’s take a closer look at Delaware, too. It seems that the First State has shown remarkable improvement, as well. As Matt Ladner points out, some of the same success story themes emerge that have come from Florida:

It turns out that Delaware is discretely a haven for parental choice. Delaware has the nation’s 7th ranked charter school law according to the Center for Education Reform, and active inter and intra district choice programs. Add all of those up, and 15.5% of all K-12 students in Delaware are exercising choice through public options.

Delaware also has a large number of students attending private schools, and a little less than 2% home-schooling. Combine those, and you get over 20 percent of students exercising private choice.

If you add it all together, 35.7% of Delaware students are attending schools other than their assigned district school.

It just goes to show- standards and parental choice are two great tastes that taste great together.

I don’t know anyone who has ever been to Delaware, but it sounds like good things are going on there. I hope Colorado lawmakers are paying attention. The same sort of authentic, systemic reform that took place in a large Republican state like Florida also took place in a small Democratic state like Delaware. Are we paying attention to what works?