The future success of our state is dependent on how well we educate today's youth -- and their academic success is dependent, in part, on quality educators. As we continue to raise our academic standards for students statewide, we are also enhancing our recruitment and retention efforts for educators.
Earlier this week, Senator Sokola and Representative Scott introduced legislation that will raise the bar for entering the teaching profession, improve teacher training, and better track data on our teacher preparation programs. Coupled with efforts already underway in the Department of Education, this will ensure we are attracting the best candidates to prepare our students for jobs in a global economy.
In addition, we're intently focused on using data, not only to make certain we have high quality teachers, but also to help our teachers track student progress and identify areas for student improvement. The importance of this data was evident during recent visits to John M. Clayton Elementary School and Laurel Middle School. At both schools, I had the opportunity to observe Professional Learning Communities. These are small groups of teachers who meet for 90 minutes each week to discuss student data and share their best instructional practices. What I learned from those educators and others across the state is that the new data-- and the time they are given to interpret that data with their colleagues -- are invaluable assets to improving their collective ability to teach effectively and, in turn, keep Delaware students moving forward.