Posted on a wall in my second-grade classroom is a motivational poster that states, “We’re all in this together!” These five powerful words remind my second-grade students the importance of unity, perseverance, and teamwork.
This simple catch phrase empowers them to tackle any challenges that they face. It reinforces that they are supported by the adults in their lives and their peers in the classroom. As my students tackle the challenges of the current school year, this mindset affords them the opportunity to be “all in” and invested in their own learning.
As a classroom teacher at an interdistrict magnet school, my colleagues and I serve a wide variety of students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, races, and ethnicities. Every year, we are tasked with the challenge of meeting all our student’s educational and socio-emotional needs; often spending hours at home and using our own personal resources to do so, whether it is going out and purchasing supplies with our own money, having snacks available for the students who might not have enough to eat, or building relationships with families in the community all of which are necessary for any significant learning to occur.
These commitments and actions by my colleagues demonstrate that as teachers and educators we are “all in” and invested in our students’ learning.
The current proposed budget for Connecticut schools does not embody this sentiment. Like the previously used educational cost sharing model, the current proposal for funding schools continues to value the education of some students more than others. It pits school districts, schools, families, and students against each other competing for scarce resources. It does not give every child the chance to succeed independent of their Zip code or whether they attend a public, magnet, or charter school. This budget is not an indicative of an institution that is “all in” and invested in the education of tomorrow’s leaders.
If Connecticut truly values the education of all students, the solution is simple and clear; one funding formula for each child in our state so that all schools are equitably funded. While budgetary discussions in Connecticut continue to remain contentious and are indubitably complex, it is vital that message our state sends to its students and future leaders is that we are “all in.”