Previewing Important Legislation in 2024
(Note: Legislation is introduced and debated on an ongoing basis. The bills and topics listed below comprise only those which have been introduced to-date. More will be added as the legislative session unfolds.)
|Addressing the Burden of Mandatory Educator Trainings
|Christopher Chujoy Act: Addressing Donated Leave
|Bereavement Leave for Pregnancy Loss
|Educator Recruitment Legislation
|Addressing Student Meal Debt Shaming
Last year, DSEA advocated for the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 13, which required the Department of Education to undertake a review of state and federally required trainings for teachers.
During that review, DSEA submitted feedback from members with suggestions on how to improve trainings and lessen the burden on educators, and as you can read in the final report, the recommendations are directly from DSEA members.
Here are a few of the report’s recommendations:
- Stagger trainings across a statewide A/B/C year training schedule/calendar so that not all trainings need to be done by all educators every year.
- New staff should take all trainings at the start of their first year and then follow the A/B/C year schedule.
- Written “refresher” documents with training topic highlights should be provided to and acknowledged by all educators each year for any training that is not scheduled to be taken in that year.
- Reduce the requirement for non-academic trainings (teen dating violence, bullying, and gang violence) to have a 1-hour training requirement every three years and Suicide Prevention to have a 1-hour training requirement every year.
In order to take effect, these recommendations need to be passed by the legislature, so look out for opportunities to advocate.
The full report is available at SCR 13 Mandatory Trainings.
Senator Bryan Townsend has introduced legislation to address the unfair and inequitable 2-to-1 donated leave ratio, named in honor of Delaware educator Christoper Chujoy.
Christopher worked as a paraprofessional at Anna P. Mote Elementary School, where he worked closely with students with autism and was known for his generosity towards his students and colleagues. In 2022, Chris was diagnosed with stage IV cancer and used up all of his available sick time, and his situation raised the issue the bill is focused on addressing. On January 12, 2024, Christopher Chujoy passed away after an inspirational battle against multiple cancers.
Currently, when a school employee donates leave to another employee, they must donate two days of leave for the other employee to receive one day of leave. As the legislation states, the 2-to-1 donated time restriction puts educators in the position of potentially losing their own ability to care for themselves and their families in difficult times in order to help a colleague in need.
SB 20 would change the 2-to-1 ratio to a 1-to-1 ratio, helping to ensure that educator time, specifically accrued leave time, is treated fairly under the law.
The Senate Education Committee approved the bill at its meeting on Wednesday, January 24th. It now goes to the full Senate for consideration and debate.
DSEA-backed legislation to expand leave for educators who suffer pregnancy loss was introduced this week. Representative Debra Heffernan introduced a bill that would provide school employees who suffer a miscarriage, stillbirth or other loss, a maximum of 5 days of paid bereavement leave. House Bill 279 was approved by the House Education Committee and now goes to the full House for consideration and debate.
On the first day of legislative session, the Senate passed two education bills sponsored by Senator Sturgeon to improve educator recruitment. Senate Bill 187 ensures salary calculations for future Delaware educators are based on all of the advanced degrees they have earned prior to their initial date of hire. Senate Bill 188 makes Delaware the 12th state to join the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact (ITMC). Both bills will be considered by the House Education Committee.
Representative Dorsey-Walker introduced legislation to address the practice of school meal debt shaming in schools. House Bill 263 would prevent districts and charter schools from prohibits districts and charter schools from prohibiting a student from participating in a school sponsored extracurricular activity on the basis the student has an outstanding debt for unpaid school meals. HB 263 was voted out of committee and will now proceed to the House floor for full debate.