Malloy’s budget cuts add to Connecticut education funding crisis

Connecticut’s education system is facing a crisis, and it seems to be growing every day. Over the holidays, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced his proposal to end education aid to certain towns. Last week, he told some mayors and town managers that they are in “substantially better shape” than the state and advocated for a “fairer” distribution of state education funds. While the governor’s office points out that the cuts he proposes are being made to the wealthiest towns, it matters to everyone.

CEA report mischaracterizes Trailblazers and Stamford academies’ spending

We write in response to the recent Connecticut Education Association report on charter school management fees, and more specifically about two of the schools mentioned in that report, Trailblazers Academy and Stamford Academy. Throughout that report, there seems to be a misunderstanding of what our schools are, who we serve, what we do, and the costs associated with running our schools.

Additional cuts to public education will hurt our students

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.

Truth or consequences: Failing America’s youth

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.

A practical solution to funding special ed in Connecticut

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.

In CCJEF v. Rell, a troubling outlook on funding students with disabilities

Deep in Judge Thomas Moukawsher’s decision in the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Educational Funding v. Rell is troubling language regarding funding for students with severe disabilities. Judge Moukawsher is correct that identifying students with disabilities remains imprecise and subjective. And yes, school funding issues are negatively and disparately impacting students with disabilities. However, the language Judge Moukawsher uses in his ruling regarding determining educational benefits for students with the most severe disabilities is disturbing at best.

The expectations gap dividing Connecticut’s schools

he gap dividing Connecticut’s schools is much more than wealth. I would argue that it is also a gap of expectations. A major problem driving what Judge Thomas Moukawsher so aptly called the Connecticut’s “ irrational” education and financing systems is the lack of expectations for all of its students. A student can still get a high school diploma and not be able to read and write. This is because all that a Connecticut student has to do is to pass the requisite number of courses prescribed by the district and the state. However, as has been made clear over time, passing a course does not require meeting any specific literacy standard.

Hillary’s choice for Education Secretary could be ‘anti-public’

A recent survey of educators across the nation reveals that, when elected, Hillary Clinton may follow in the footsteps of President Obama concerning her choice of Secretary of Education in the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. Obama’s choices of Arne Duncan followed by John King were the most anti-public education appointments in the history of the Democratic party. Now it appears, based on the recent survey, that Clinton may continue the anti-public education tradition during her administration with yet another education secretary who will espouse the downward spiral of public education that has occurred for the past eight years.

Moukawsher got the problem right, and the solution wrong

Judge Thomas Moukawsher has performed a remarkable service by shining a bright light on the profoundly unfair, counterproductive, and irrational way Connecticut funds public education. While the odds against a court-overseen remedy of the type contained in his Sept. 7 order are long indeed, the children of Connecticut should hope that the governor, the State Department of Education, and the legislature seize the opportunity to make radical change.

Why Connecticut should think twice about asking to ‘end Sheff’

In the wake of the recent CCJEF v. Rell trial court decision on school finance, we should take a moment to consider the continuing benefits of the Connecticut Supreme Court’s 1996 Sheff v. O’Neill decision for low income children in our state, and the importance of keeping this crucial legal mandate in place. The City of Buffalo’s experience with court-ordered integration 30 years ago is a reminder of how these independent constitutional rulings can maintain political will for reforms on behalf of low-income children that would otherwise get lost in the political process.

Closing Connecticut’s real achievement gap

There‘s a lot of talk in Connecticut about closing the achievement gap between affluent students who are predominately white and poor students who are predominately black or brown, but there have been no effective actions taken and none are on the horizon.

Instead, Connecticut gave up its own well-founded state standards and adopted the narrow and inadequate Common Core Standards, called them rigorous which they are not, and gave students standardized tests to measure their achievement of those quite limited standards. Then Connecticut waited for the test scores to see if the impoverished would catch up to the affluent. They haven’t and they won’t.

CCJEF v. Rell appeal more dangerous than status quo

On Sept. 7, there was a moment when interest-convergence was happening right in front of us. As Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher read his ruling on CCJEF v. Rell, advocates like myself started to believe that remedies for inequality were being granted permission to stand up and be recognized. To my consternation an appeal was filed. I believe this appeal, filed by Connecticut Attorney General Jepsen, represents an unqualified dismissal of potential remedies.