A bus waits outside Stubbs Elementary School in Wilmington.

Stronger schools

Report to Delaware governor recommends significant changes in Wilmington


11:52 a.m., April 13, 2015--The Wilmington Education Advisory Committee, which recently issued its final report to Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, has made numerous recommendations for policy changes to strengthen public education in Wilmington.

Recommendations include restructuring school districts, a state plan to guide the development of charter schools, a charter consortium to facilitate collaboration, enhanced support for schools with high concentrations of low-income children and a revised public education funding system focused on meeting the differential needs of students.

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The chair of the committee is Tony Allen, a UD undergraduate and doctoral alumnus and a University trustee. He wrote a major op-ed piece about the report’s findings, headlined “Wilmington school reform: Waiting is not an option,” in the April 5 edition of the Wilmington News Journal

In addition to Allen’s leadership, the committee also worked with UD’s Institute for Public Administration (IPA) in the School of Public Policy and Administration, which provided research, analysis and technical assistance. Daniel Rich, University Professor of Public Policy and senior public policy fellow at IPA, served as counselor to the committee.

The committee was appointed by Markell to provide direction for addressing education issues facing students in the city of Wilmington. In his March 31 letter submitting the report to the governor, Allen noted that the document “reflects months of review and analysis and extensive conversations with key decision makers and stakeholders throughout our community.”

He wrote that the committee had invited and received “significant comments” from Delawareans about its interim findings, including more than 1,400 members on the social media site “Solutions for Wilmington Schools.” 

A community forum, “IMAGINE Delaware,” attracted 700 participants and thousands of online followers. The letter urged Markell and the state legislature to act promptly to implement policy changes as recommended in the report.

The advisory committee focused its analysis on four key issues: creating responsive governance; meeting Wilmington student needs; funding student success; and implementing change. These areas are of urgent community concern and are critical to strengthening the overall quality of public education in Wilmington and across Delaware, the committee said.

To read the report, click here.

Allen, who is director of communications for Bank of America’s Consumer Banking Division, earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations in 1993 and his doctorate in urban affairs and public policy in 2001, both at UD. He earned a master’s degree at Baruch College.

Before joining Bank of America, Allen was an executive vice president with MBNA and earlier served as the founding president of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League and was a co-founder of Public Allies Delaware.

Article by Ann Manser

Photos by Evan Krape

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