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From the Editor: Private Decisions

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When our annual education special is about private schools, we at DT, like the school administrators we speak with for the story, are careful not to imply that private schools are superior to public schools. They are different, each with their own advantages. Yet the fact remains: The most important factor in choosing a new home, according to two-thirds of adults with children under 12, is the quality of neighborhood schools—and the quality of neighborhood schools directly affects private school enrollments.

Delaware has one of the highest private enrollments in the country: No. 6, with 17.6 of all students attending. That figure is well above the national average of about 10 percent. According to the data, low-quality neighborhood schools are a factor in private school enrollment. On average, students who live near low-quality neighborhood schools attend private schools at a rate four times greater than that of students in high-quality public school areas.

That data is three to five years old and based on national trends. The more discretely you break it down, however, the more interesting local trends become. I’m sure a more recent, more localized study would look different in only one important sense: Delaware students would attend private schools and-or public alternatives such as charters in greater numbers. My point is, no parent should feel compelled to choose a private school because the public option didn’t make the grade. Private schools exist as religion-based alternatives or operate under significantly different educational philosophies, and that should always be the main criteria. If your family is in the process of choosing schools now, see everything you need to know in “Your Guide to Private Schools in Delaware” by Pam George.

Also in this issue, we explore the cultural significance of Alisa Morkides’ Brew HaHa cafés and the changes happening there. For many years, I was an everyday patron at the Trolley Square shop. I could have made coffee at home before work, but I would have missed all the chance meetings and conversations that keep us connected. Which is why Brew HaHa is successful—it’s more than a place for the daily Joe. It’s a hub of community. Read more in Matt Desiderio’s story (“How Brew HaHa’s Alisa Morkides Created a Coffee Empire“).

As Gov. Jack Markell leaves office this month, we take a look at his legacy—so far. As writer Larry Nagengast points out, it’s hard to foretell the long-term results of new initiatives and policy decisions, or how they’ll be viewed in the future. But one thing seems clear at this point: Having begun his term during the country’s worst economic crisis in decades, Markell steered the ship admirably. Read more in What Will Be Gov. Jack Markell’s Legacy?

Kim Hoey explains how one man’s Eureka moment—seeing a battery-powered toddler car in a toy store—is leading to major advances in brain development and improved mobility for Down syndrome children, adults who have suffered traumatic head injuries and others. It’s a remarkable story. See “These Life-Changing Contraptions Were Inspired by a Trip to the Toy Store.”

If you’re thinking about your resolutions, check out Melissa Jacobs’ story (“6 Ways to Be and Feel Better in 2017“). You’ll find new ways to look and feel better, along with a few tips for living a more fulfilling life. But no matter what you’ve decided to do or change this year, it’s wise to heed the experts: If you want to keep your promises to yourself, start with small, achievable goals. 

There is more, as always. Enjoy.

—Mark Nardone


FEEDBACK

In reference to the “Rock Legends” article in December, you made a huge omission: Joey Fulkerson. How could you not include someone who has made music his life? WIth several CDs out with his Nothin’ but Trouble band, the Joey Fulkerson Trio and solo, his original music and covers have made so many happy, from June Jam to club venues to the many benefits he just can’t say no to. As a Rising Sun resident, Joey is known all over Delaware, Maryland and Nashville. Though all the musicians you featured are notable in their own right, they all know Joey and know he’s the best of the best. Geez, you goofed up big time by not including him in your rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame issue.

—P. Williams, Camden (via delawaretoday.com)