What I learned from watching three hours of the Senate confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education:
1. Betsy DeVos demonstrated a lack of any understanding about student assessment.
2. Betsy DeVos said that permitting guns in schools is a decision that should be left up to individual schools.
3. Betsy DeVos did not commit to preschool for all children.
In a few days the Mastery Examination Task Force will be submitting its Final Report and Recommendations to the Connecticut Legislature’s Education Committee which had asked for a study of student assessment practices in our public schools. Having monitored the progress of this task force during its one-and-a-half years of meetings, I contend that their findings were predetermined at or even before the task force began its deliberations.
The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) are very concerned about the mid-year cut of $20 million in education aid to municipalities announced by the Office of Policy and Management yesterday. These cuts are schedule to take effect immediately and will result in diminished educational opportunities for the students who attend Connecticut’s public schools.
Connecticut’s public universities have much to offer; it is why I chose to return here. It is why I hope to continue to achieve personal and career goals in Connecticut and to contribute to its economic growth. Our state universities helped me grow to be a productive adult and lifelong learner, and make me proud to be a resident of this state. There has already been a 22 percent reduction in state funding since 2009, and it would be a great loss if, due to continual defunding, future CSCU students wouldn’t be able to have the opportunities that I had.
Connecticut Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher wrote in his September school funding decision of the “alarming” condition of education in the state’s neediest districts, citing that “[A]mong the poorest, most of the students are being let down by patronizing and illusory degrees.” He has a point – one that extends far beyond Connecticut and our poorest students. The latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), referred to as the Nation’s Report Card, found that nearly two-thirds of 12th-graders in the U.S. perform below proficiency in reading, and three-quarters perform below proficiency in both math and science.
Last week, parents, childcare providers, and legislators gathered in Hartford to discuss the crucial role childcare plays in supporting Connecticut’s economy. The forum was held in response to recent news that the Care4Kids childcare subsidy program, which helps low-income families pay for childcare, will be closed to almost all new applicants. The message of the forum was clear: childcare is a critical component of the state’s economic infrastructure. Removing access to childcare for thousands of Connecticut families will cost the state more money than it will save.
Every student who walks through the doors each morning at one of Connecticut’s more than 1,300 public schools has their own unique skills and abilities, as well as their own needs and challenges. But despite their differences, each of these students has something in common: the right to a quality, equitably funded education. For Connecticut’s more than 74,500 students who need some type of special education service, this right is particularly important.
How do students learn about Connecticut? Let’s hope it’s not from a textbook that sugar coats Connecticut’s history of slavery. In 2015 the Department of Education recommended incorporating Connecticut content into the public school social studies curriculum and created frameworks for doing so. But that doesn’t actually get content into the classroom.
Eroding revenues, red ink and poor fiscal management continue to undermine Connecticut’s state budget. Unaltered, the present approach will make it increasingly difficult, even impossible, for our children and future generations to have a state government that fulfills its fundamental and constitutional duty to provide for a healthier, safer and more equitable society. … But the problem is about to get far worse.
The sale of the 66-acre GE campus to the university could be construed as a final poke in the eye to the Malloy administration. As the former owner, GE paid the town of Fairfield $1.6 million a year on taxes, but because Sacred Heart is an educational institution it will pay no taxes to the town on this property.
A recent story described concerns raised over the State Board of Education’s rapid approval of a new teacher training program. According to that story, members of the Minority Teacher Recruitment Task Force are frustrated with the level of information that they had received about the program prior to its approval. These concerns, I am sure, can be worked out among our branches of government. What is more important is ensuring that Connecticut continues with its efforts to solve the longstanding problem of minority teacher recruitment.
As a faculty member at the University of Connecticut for more than 25 years, no two years have been the same, let alone two days!
My Ph.D. is in Immunology and I am based in the School of Pharmacy on the Storrs campus as a tenured associate professor. In this position, I have served as a teaching/research faculty member, as an associate dean and now primarily as a teaching faculty member. This semester I am teaching in three courses to pharmacy students and to new college freshmen as well as graduate education courses.
I am a pediatrician and I vote. I vote on behalf of kids who cannot speak up for themselves. I vote so that the needs of children are prioritized by our elected leaders. I vote on behalf of the children I see in my clinic every day.
In a few short days, all of us will have the opportunity to make a difference by casting our votes, and I plan to use my vote to support our country’s future – our children.