March 31, 2014

Early Teacher Hiring Program Keeps Quality Teachers in the State


New Castle—Last week Governor Jack A. Markell signed H.B 259 into law after it passed unanimously in the House and Senate. 

The Bill will make the Pilot program, originally created in 2011, permanent. The program forced the Delaware Department of Education to estimate enrollment in each district for the following year by May. It also guaranteed that the Department of Education would cover 98% of the state’s share of hiring teachers as long as it was justified by the enrollment estimates.

The Pilot program allowed Delaware to compete with surrounding states in offering new teachers jobs, and to provide quality training to them before the start of the school year. Before being recommended by a taskforce chaired by Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn and State Senator David Sokola, Delaware was losing teachers to surrounding states that were able to offer positions earlier in the year. As a result of the change the state saw a 44% increase in teachers that were hired prior to August.

“This bill improves our public schools,” said Lt. Governor Denn.  “We are always trying to hire the best and brightest to teach our children and now we will hopefully be able to do more of that in a timely fashion.  This is a win for students and teachers alike.”

Governor Markell said, “I’d like to thank Lt. Governor Denn, Senator Sokola, and Representative Scott for their work on getting this important piece of legislation passed.  This will allow us to offer attractive jobs to new teachers on par with our surrounding states and supports our ongoing effort to recruit and retain talented educators.” 

State Representative Darryl Scott, prime sponsor of H.B 259 and an original sponsor of the 2011 Pilot program, said, “We want to hire the very best teachers and make sure they’re ready to start strong on the first day of school. We’ve seen conclusive evidence that tells us early unit counts are helping our districts achieve that goal, and I am glad we have now made that policy permanent.”