Liberals, be grateful for conservative court’s ruling on sports betting

Liberals are not in the habit of expressing gratitude for the five conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, especially since one of them, Justice Neil Gorsuch, presides where some liberals believe President Obama’s nominee should rightly be. But liberals should be grateful, at least this week, in the wake of a ruling that struck down a federal anti-gambling law because the decision strengthens blue-state resistance to President Donald Trump. Moreover, it might deepen appreciation for something liberals historically dislike: federalism and the doctrine of state’s rights.

Children of color are drowning — in pools … and in schools

Our children are drowning. The rate of drowning, in a literal sense, for children of color is three times that of white children in this country per Jeff Wiltse, author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America. The rate of academic drowning is much the same.  Now New Haven has lost three more of its schools due to racial isolation standards. However, I can’t help but ask if districts that are predominantly white would also be forced to close due to their lack of minority student enrollment.

Time to curb transportation pollution

The cars, trucks, buses and trains that make up our transportation system are responsible for more pollution than any other sector. Tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide are Connecticut’s largest contribution to global climate change, but our vehicle emissions are also directly responsible for problems in our communities. Pollution from transportation is a leading cause of asthma, strokes and heart attacks in the state, and our most vulnerable populations are being hit the hardest. It’s time we get serious about cleaning up Connecticut’s transportation system, and we don’t have to look far to find the solutions.

On access and success in advanced placement courses

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas’ excellent article about access to AP (Advanced Placement) courses being elusive for low-income students should lead us all to ask why.  It should also lead us to ask how we change this reality. Having worked in school districts across eight states, I have found there are several reasons why the enrollment of low-income students in AP and other advanced courses is low.

All students should have access to AP courses, and I am living proof

I took my first advanced placement class – world history—when I was a sophomore in high school. This year, I’m a junior currently taking three AP courses. Next year, I’ll take four more. As a student of color who lives in Hartford, this makes me unique. It doesn’t have to. Studies have shown that students of color and students from low-income communities do not have fair access to Advanced Placement classes. That’s true in nearby New York, right here in Connecticut, and across the country. I am proof of what happens when that access is granted.

Dysfunctional schools are crippling our children — and it’s our fault

I’ve taught English at Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford for six years. We currently have five math teachers for grades 6-12, and during my tenure, I’ve seen eight other math teachers come and go. Some left for other opportunities. Some left because they were unprepared for the demands of this job; at least one left teaching all together. Three left mid-year, forcing us to use a long-term sub while we looked for a suitable replacement.

Let’s get legal sports gambling on the books

Now since the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision has struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which banned sports betting nationwide except for Nevada, states across the nation are scrambling to grab onto this judicial breakthrough by seeking to legalize sports gambling. However, we cannot be too hasty in this endeavor before proper legal statutes are established to regulate the proper way to ‘play the game.’ Aside from Nevada’s policy implementation, Connecticut lawmakers would have to quickly tend to a series of simple but tedious legal disputes.

Diversity — Middletown’s greatest weapon to close the opportunity gap

I was born and raised in Connecticut by my mother, a woman who was a strong advocate for my education. Looking back, I have no idea how she was able to be such a fierce and tireless champion of my education, while working incredibly hard as a single parent to provide for her only child. Meeting with my teachers on a daily basis and demanding more rigorous coursework to ensure I was prepared for college. Forcing school administrators to see past their own lowered expectations because of my race. Molding me into an avid (now, lifelong) reader. As a kid, my mother’s advocacy was something I took for granted until many years later in my academic and professional career.

What’s next for CT’s unfunded pensions, since the legislature did nothing

Connecticut’s unfunded pensions for state employees – about $127 billion in debt borne by today’s taxpayers – are much talked about.
As the legislative session ended, once again, nothing was done to stem the continuing losses and increasing debt payments.  Those who blocked reform may think they won, but the victory is truly Pyrrhic. Likely consequences?

If taxes are raised again, expect to see more and more people moving out of the state.

To effect change, Connecticut needs to pay legislators a living wage

“Still revolutionary?” Hardly! Connecticut isn’t the least bit revolutionary. But it could be if we stopped preventing good people with good ideas from running for office by making it impossible for them to support their families. There are many different things that we could be doing, but none of it will get done because our legislature is too insulated. There are no new ideas because there are no new people. Why? State legislators in Connecticut only earn $28,000 per year. In one of the most expensive places to live in this country our legislators earn the equivalent of around $13.50 an hour, and that’s only if you pretend they only work 40 hour work weeks.