Education Equity - Students Can't Afford to Wait


This fall, a settlement was announced in the school funding lawsuit between Delaware and the NAACP of Delaware and Delawareans for Educational Opportunity. Click here to read the official release from ACLU Delaware or from the Governor’s office.

The lawsuit, filed in 2018, claimed that the state had for many years been aware of substantial deficiencies in the educational resources provided to low income students, students with disabilities, and students who are English learners, with those groups performing lowest in state testing data and other metrics such as high school graduation. Despite reports from Delaware’s own state-commissioned task forces about this issue over the last 20 years, no significant changes were made and disparities grew. The lawsuit sought to have those students provided with the systematic educational resources required by the Delaware Constitution.

Students can’t afford to wait

  • In the middle of a pandemic and social justice movement, now is the time for important structural change. Delaware’s families and schools can’t wait. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we must act.
  • Years of study in Delaware and nationally show us where we need to go. We know we can do this. It won’t happen overnight, but we must start now.

  • Delaware spends less and gets worse outcomes than our neighboring states.

The recent lawsuit settlement is the floor, not the ceiling, and we must implement student funding.

  • More money for student needs is good, but changing how much without changing how money is allocated doesn’t address the root inequities.

  • The proposed $60 million of flexible Opportunity Funding for student needs is still less than 5% of the total state education budget, layered on top of the existing system. We can’t ignore the other 95%.


  • Update the underlying system: Begin multi-year transition to weighted student funding formula by codifying the basic requirements of a new system and transition plan.

  • Start now and focus on equity: Ensure the independent evaluation supports transition plan by focusing on equity and allocation structure, and occurring within four years.

  • Increase funding for student needs starting immediately and gradually increase until we reach best practice.