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Wilmington schools still struggle, but there is reason for optimism

January 24, 2019 11:58 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

Delaware State University is a member of  Philanthropy Delaware.

Tony Allen is chairman of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, a gubernatorial appointment he took in 2014. He is stepping down from this post at the end of the month as he continues in his role as executive vice president and provost at Delaware State University.

Just over a decade ago, during the 2008 presidential campaign, former first lady and founder of Public Allies Chicago Michelle Obama visited Delaware State University, stumping for her husband. That day, surrounded by hundreds of students and faculty, she said, “Fixing education shouldn’t be that tough. We know good schools, the schools that educate all their students, when we see them. So what we have to do is figure out how to replicate what those schools do across the entire country.”

After four years chairing the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, I now understand that the former first lady was actually issuing a complex challenge.

We do know what high-functioning schools in high-needs areas look like. But it’s not just about replicating schools. The real issue is how to address the structural conditions that prevent us from meeting the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable children.

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