Proposed federal cuts jeopardize programs that save children’s lives

In the time since the Trump administration released its budget proposal, many have raised alarms about cuts to well-known, popular programs and agencies like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, and NASA. What’s gotten less attention is that the administration’s proposed budget also includes cuts to programs that help children facing adversity to become successful, productive adults.

One teacher to others: Our voices can shape Connecticut education

In some ways, it can be easy as teachers of young children to understand the power our voices have in our students’ lives, and in their self-esteem. Our words can urge a child to struggle through a difficult problem, or shape the way they see themselves. Despite this, we often forget the power we can wield outside the four walls of our classroom.

The true crisis in Connecticut higher education

I recently had the honor of speaking at an event to support the Student Crisis Fund at Charter Oak State College, my alma mater. This is a fund that helps students – and their education – survive unexpected financial challenges, from broken computers to dental emergencies. For many students, these $100 – $1,000 problems can stop an academic career dead in its tracks. And yet, colleges and universities – ours included – raise tuition and fees by easily the amount of the average withdrawal from the Student Crisis Fund. For too many students, these increases themselves create a widespread financial crisis every year.

Is our state legislature failing Connecticut’s immigrant communities?

In times of open hostility, from the President of the United States, trickling down to our institutions and communities toward immigrants and people of color, we find it outrageous that the Connecticut General Assembly has refused to respond to the demands of the people for peace and equity and to pass legislation that would benefit our immigrant community.

Connecticut college funding cuts killing our intellectual souls

Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher, wrote more than a century ago about “the sickness that is not until death.” He did so in an essay about despair, loss, and fear. Notwithstanding the gloomy topic, Kierkegaard was an optimist. The sickness about which he wrote, after all, is “not until death.” The sickness until death, he wrote, would be a deeper sickness—the one that comes from the separation of one’s soul from the spiritual core that is deepest part of one’s being. Welcome to the world of Connecticut higher education, college and university-style, circa 2017.

An ECS tale of two cities: It is the best of times, the worst of times

For some Connecticut cities and towns, it has been and continues to be the best of times, at the expense of others for whom it has been and continues to be the worst of times. And those at the state Capitol, like Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, continue to ignore the state’s education funding inequity or claim they are helpless to resolve it.

Why keep a ‘promise’ that hurts birth mothers?

One of the most persistent myths surrounding adoption is that birth mothers like me were “promised” privacy to hide the shame of having had sex (and getting caught at it). Single pregnant women like me had few viable options, and did not consider the relinquishment of our child an exchange for the promise of privacy. Senate Bill 977 extends an existing 2014 law to pre-1983 adult adoptees to restore the right to an original birth certificate to all Connecticut adoptees. Let’s keep it in the family, between those personally affected, where it belongs.

We need higher standards of high school competence, not looser

It is truly sad that the legislature has voted and sent to the governor a bill to loosen graduation standards. Frankly, I am aghast that the children who will most likely suffer are low income and minority children. If we look statewide at test results either on state measures of proficiency or national measures, the children who have the lowest scores are often the same children.

Education funding: An investment in Connecticut’s future

The lawsuit decided last fall and currently in appeal, CCJEF v. Rell, confirmed what we already know about the way we fund public education in Connecticut: while we might spend enough to educate our state’s public school students, we do not share our funding equitably. The reality is that many of our highest need communities need more resources to support their students. This is too important to wait to address for another year.

Hartford teacher: I have no choice but to speak up

I look forward to a day when quality and equitable educational opportunities for all students is not just a vision, but a reality. Until that day comes, I know I have an obligation to use my voice as a classroom teacher to inform legislator’s decisions and help drive progress in the right direction.

We should all be concerned about college student retention

The degree to which college students are capable of successfully moving from matriculation to graduation, described as “retention” or “persistence,” should be a concern for all of us. Employers regularly complain that the skills needed for the workplace are lacking. Policy wonks lament the declining ratio of productive workers to retirees, now about three to one, down drastically from decades ago – an ominous threat to the solvency of the Social Security system, as well as the viability of the economy and the health care system.