THREE KEYS TO STRONGER, HEALTHIER SCHOOLS
A ROADMAP TO THE EDUCATION SYSTEM WE DESERVE
AS A FOURTEEN-YEAR LEGISLATOR, member of the Senate Education Committee, and a mom, SEN. BETHANY HALL-LONG understands that the number one issue for any parent is their kids’ future. Delawareans from Blades to Brandywine work hard and sacrifice so that their kids can grow up safe, happy, and prepared for a world that changes faster every day—and they deserve elected officials who understand and share their commitment.
We can’t have that conversation without talking about education. A child’s education is a predictor not only of their ability to find a good job, but the likelihood that they will come into contact with the criminal justice system, the neighborhood they’ll live in, and even their lifespan. In essence, a good education is one of the central pillars for a stronger, healthier Delaware.
DURING HER TIME IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Bethany has sponsored more than 1,000 pieces of legislation. Her efforts on education have ranged from sponsoring HOUSE BILL 12, which would ensure that every public school in Delaware has access to a school nurse, to co-sponsoring SENATE BILL 213, or “Erin’s Law,” legislation recently signed by Gov. Markell that develops a curriculum on personal bodily safety and signs of child abuse for faculty, parents, and students in K-6 classrooms.
BETHANY’S EDUCATION PLATFORM comprises three vital steps to develop a world-class education system: recognizing and cultivating educator impact; setting up students for success; and preparing Delaware’s students for careers and college.
RECOGNIZING EDUCATOR IMPACT
EVERYTHING FROM POVERTY TO INDIVIDUAL PERSONALITIES AFFECTS the quality of a child’s education. But the research is clear: the single biggest in-school factor in a child’s education is the person at the front of the class. Educators hold the most impactful position in our classrooms, and therefore in our state and our nation’s future.
THE COUNTRY’S BEST education systems rely on a highly-trained workforce as the engine behind their success. Delaware needs to attract and retain the best and most dedicated of these professionals, and to that end must commit to several key enhancements to its educator salary scale.
WITH OVER 1,000 sponsored bills in her legislative career, Bethany was recently named the General Assembly’s most productive legislator. Her work ethic and years of experience have shown her firsthand the challenges that Delaware faces—and the solutions to move us forward.
AS LT. GOVERNOR, Bethany will advocate to:
- COMMIT to making Delaware educators’ base salary the highest in the region. Great educators are the bedrock of our schools, and we owe them—and ourselves—that investment.
- RESEARCH proven programs and best practices from across America to identify reasonable, sustainable models that deliver additional, meaningful compensation to educators who dedicate their lives to our most challenged student populations.
- ACKNOWLEDGE that, like any profession, the highest levels of professional learning for educators must be incentivized with substantial salary increases for those who attain nationally recognized professional status (e.g., National Board Certification).
SETTING UP STUDENTS FOR SUCCESS
DELAWARE HAS MADE IMPORTANT PROGRESS in improving its high school graduation rates, but our student achievement gap persists. Research shows that students with the greatest need will struggle to succeed without early identification and deep interventions from highly-skilled educators—not only in the K-12 system, but beginning at the pre-kindergarten level.
“Improving our schools is key to a stronger, healthier Delaware—but there is no silver bullet for the challenges we face. Whether you’re in Wilmington or Farmington, education is an all-hands-on-deck community effort. If we’re serious about reform, then we need to engage and address the needs of multiple populations: students, educators, parents, job-seekers, and employers.”
BETHANY WAS PROUD to support the development of Delaware’s early childhood education framework, and knows that it is our state’s best opportunity to tackle the achievement gap. Bethany’s education platform calls for Delaware to:
- MAINTAIN its investments in early childhood education and collaboratively plan for long-term sustainability, which includes robust early learning curriculum, early learning licensure for educators, and improving early learning access for students across Delaware.
- CULTIVATE and “skill up” our existing early childhood workforce, and learn from other state’s efforts to attract new graduates for their early childhood education careers.
- EXPLORE public-private partnerships for early childhood programs, such as the Star Program, which can deliver a return on investment for our workforce, economy, and the health of our communities.
- CREATES opportunities for employers, secondary schools, and post-secondary schools to work collaboratively to develop workforce opportunities for students.
- ENABLES students to enter the workforce earlier, helping them obtain on-the-job technical training and resulting in greater access to middle-to-high skilled jobs in critical fields.
- DEVELOPS a statewide career preparation system tailored to regional demands for workforce opportunities, all while building upon the excellent career-technical programs currently in place in many Delaware high schools.
PREPARING STUDENTS FOR CAREERS AND COLLEGE
A “ONE-SIZE FITS ALL” APPROACH to life after high school doesn’t work for every student. Delaware has some of the country’s best colleges and universities—but in preparing students for life in college, we cannot overlook the importance and value of other career paths, including technical and trade occupations.
FOR OUR ECONOMY to remain the region’s strongest, Delaware needs to take bold steps toward a system that prepares its students to go on to college, while recognizing that college isn’t for everyone—and that it isn’t the only path to a good job with fair pay—by committing to enhancing its career preparation programs.
AS LT. GOVERNOR, BETHANY would use her position to fight for a more dynamic approach to career development that:
“We deserve a lieutenant governor who has worked with educators and parents, who can draw on her experience, her record, and her position between the governor and the legislature to use the office as a vehicle for change, not just a political launching pad.”
BETHANY HALL-LONG UNDERSTANDS how important our schools are to our state. Education is an all-hands-on-deck effort, and Delaware deserves a lieutenant governor with the initiative and experience to be an agent for change in the education system. Her education platform outlines three key steps to improving students’ experiences before, after, and during their time in the K-12 system, supporting our economy, and leading to a stronger, healthier Delaware.
“Too many candidates for office use their campaigns to pay lip service to our kids’ futures. Anyone can recognize a problem, but it takes experience and know-how to address it. I’m proud to offer a data-driven, policy-focused, and specific platform that pulls not only from my experience, but from the knowledge and experience of educators, policy leaders, and employers across the state.”