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by Beverly Stewart, M.Ed.

This article was originally printed in the Community News, January 2010:

“It’s impossible pick up a newspaper these days without reading doom and gloom about the state of the economy. And while its effects are being felt all over the country, it’s especially true here in Delaware. According to a recent Delaware Business Ledger article (January 3, 2010), “Delaware is likely to see a shrinking economy well into 2010. Delaware is being weighed down by an increase in unemployment claims [currently 8.5%] and a decrease in building permits.”

The trickle down effect of the national economy can be felt in every aspect of our daily lives, but nowhere is its effect more detrimental than in our education system. Budget cuts from every corner are forcing districts, schools and even individual teachers to make truly tough choices.

But, there is good news! Delaware most creative educators are somehow still able to provide our children with the services that they need by identifying their unique population and its individual needs! No strangers to squeezing the most from every dollar, this year Delaware education professionals been challenged to go ever further – and are answering the call with innovative solutions.

For example, most schools continue to provide important after school programs — a safe haven, homework assistance, and a sense of community. Others with a high population of non-native speakers offer crucial English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. There are free remedial math and reading programs.  And, alternatively, Talented and Gifted classes for exceptional students. Because it is crucial to address the diverse needs of all students, somehow each of these programs must be financed.

So, just how are Delaware educators able to surmount the obstacle of critical budget shortfalls? One way is the growing number of partnerships between public schools and private educational service providers.

These contracts make more sense than ever before. Independent educational services can provide teachers “a la carte” – sometimes for just one marking period — allowing the school to realize a substantial cost savings. And, by working with independent firms for certain applicable educational services, schools are able to maximize their use of budget dollars for other necessities like teachers’ salaries and classroom materials, while continuing to offer a quality education including a full range of subjects for the students.

As a nation, our economic woes will not disappear overnight. But I want to commend the educators of Delaware for their innovation and their dedication to finding educational solutions that provide the next generation with a solid foundation for success!”

For 25 years, Back to Basics has been recognized as the area’s undisputed leader in one-on-one tutoring. In addition, the firm offers a unique Delaware private school for grades K-12 and a Private Business and Trade School for adults. Back to Basics is the 2010 Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics.

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