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.
Twenty years ago this weekend, Gov. John Rowland signed a bill into law and by doing so changed the trajectory of the lives of thousands of Connecticut children. The bill he signed established public charter schools in the Constitution State and was a monumental step forward that has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of children, and it will continue to do so in the coming decades.
Charter schools like the ones my children attend have answered many parents’ prayers, encouraging personal and academic growth and providing an appealing alternative to failing district schools. However, despite these schools’ high performance, they receive $4,000 less per student per year in state aid than Connecticut’s low-performing district schools. This funding gap has had a real impact on charter schools in Bridgeport and throughout the state.
Connecticut’s education funding system is broken – with charter school students receiving on average $4,000 less in funding than their peers in district schools. And this disparity in funding hurts low-income children of color most because those are the majority of the students charters in Connecticut serve.
It is difficult to believe as a life-long educator that the media has yet to ask any of the presidential candidates about their views on K-12 public education. It is a well known fact the public education in Connecticut and across the nation has suffered immensely as an outgrowth of the policies of the George W. Bush administration with its No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program. Likewise, public education continued its downward spiral as a result of President Barack Obama’s appointment of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who ushered in the disastrous Race to the Top along with the Common Core State Standards.
Let’s set the record straight. Public charter school students do not receive a funding increase in Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposed budget. They will still receive the same state per-pupil grant that they have received for several years. Put simply: all public schools are flat-funded across the board. A recent story by the CT Mirror suggested otherwise, and we want to ensure the facts are front and center.