Office of the President

Dr. Patrick T. Harker is the 26th president of the University of Delaware. He also serves as professor of business administration in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering.

Delaware’s Race to Deliver/Vision 2015 Leadership Forum
Clayton Hall
September 28, 2010

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I’m Pat Harker, president of the University of Delaware, and I’m delighted to welcome you to Delaware’s Race to Deliver, part of UD’s conference series engaging public- and private-sector leaders in the collective challenges that demand our partnership.

Race to the Top
This is our third conference focused on public education, but it’s the first one we’ve held since Delaware’s school-improvement efforts got their biggest endorsement yet—$119 million in federal Race to the Top funding.

We won a first-round award in the biggest and most competitive federal grant program in history. We were one of only two states to do it. That was a breakthrough moment for Delaware—and a huge responsibility. There’s no doubt the nation’s eyes are on us as we begin transforming teaching and learning across the state.

I know we’re up to the challenge. When U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced Delaware’s winning application, he talked about those things that make this state a natural leader in education. He said we have strong education policies and good laws supporting them. He said we have the courage, capacity, and commitment to turn our ideas into achievement-improving practices.

But the first thing he acknowledged is the statewide backing we have in Delaware for comprehensive school reform. We’ve got the buy-in of all those who have a part in our fundamental goal: Excellent schools—no excuses, no exceptions. And there’s no substitute for this kind of support.

Acknowledgements
Your support is certainly on display today, and I thank you all for coming. I’m grateful to everyone involved in the design and implementation of Vision 2015—everyone who embarked four years ago on this path to build a world-class public education system.

Of course, there are many, many people responsible for our progress—the entire plan is predicated on partnership. But I need to specifically mention Governor Jack Markell, Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery, and Vision 2015 Chair Skip Schoenhals. They’ve been great architects and powerful champions of our efforts, marshalling our ideas and our will.

I thank today’s speakers, who will offer a broader perspective on school reform: Brad Jupp, senior program advisor at the U.S. Department of Education; Chad Wick, president & CEO of Knowledge Works; and Joel Klein, chancellor of the New York City public schools.

And I thank our many sponsors, partners, and affiliates—especially the Rodel Foundation—that have made this conversation possible. You’ll see them in your program.

College of Education and Human Development
As we begin the hard work of delivering on our Race to the Top promises, I want to acknowledge the University of Delaware’s new College of Education and Human Development. Through its immersive research, the college is already helping to drive K–12 policy, programming, and interventions.

And I know it will be an indispensable resource for schools as we tackle the tough challenges of world-class standards and assessments, instructional improvement and teacher effectiveness, leadership development, longitudinal data tracking, and school turnaround.

Conclusion
We’re ready to start the national research-based conversation on education reform. Four years ago, Vision 2015 was our school-improvement launch-pad. Four years later, we’re able to celebrate so many successes and see even more clearly the work ahead.

So I thank you all for being here today to roll up your sleeves and dig into what it’ll take to achieve our collective vision—for every school, for every student.

Lillian Lowery
It’s my privilege to introduce the woman who’s keeping that vision and channeling it into policies and programs that herald great achievement in Delaware. Please help me welcome Delaware Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery.

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