To the new governor: Dismantle, rebuild the Board of Regents

To the 2018 CT Gubernatorial Candidates

Throughout the gubernatorial primaries and campaigns, while facing Connecticut’s enormous financial challenges, you have all made clear your interest in helping the state’s businesses and industries. We are a group of community college advocates who would like to encourage innovative thinking and the potential for changes in public higher education that would benefit the state’s businesses and industries, as well as its students.

Creating systems in which all children can be happy, healthy, and successful

Last week, both CT Voices for Children and the Connecticut Health and Development Institute (CHDI) issued publications focusing on the young child. CT Voices addressed access to high-quality early care and education; CHDI promoted a system through which early childhood professionals become more skilled in detecting mental health problems early. Both publications hit the nail on the head; early childhood professionals are in the ideal position to detect developmental delays and early childhood mental health concerns. The importance of revealing developmental delays at an early stage has been addressed since the 1960s; more recently the early identification of mental health concerns gained traction too. Addressing mental health concerns at a young age can increase the likelihood that children will grow up happy, healthy, and successful.

Connecticut requires a governor committed to education

Congratulations to each gubernatorial candidate on gaining a place on the November ballot. The next governor will encounter many fiscal, structural, and social challenges in the state of Connecticut. In nearly every government sector, from social services to transportation to economic development, you will be faced with a series of challenges and decisions that will define your leadership as governor. I have listened intently to your campaign and debate commentary. Notably missing in your respective platforms has been any reference to education. The purpose of this letter is to inspire you to adopt education and educational attainment as the most important asset that any state governor can endorse.

Fairness for Kevin Ollie

The University of Connecticut has a coaching contract with former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie, and despite their ongoing disagreement, it is way past time for the school to live up to its obligations to pay Coach Ollie the money it owes him.

This issue is bigger than basketball, it’s bigger than Ollie’s win-loss record at UConn and it is bigger than UConn itself. In this matter, UConn represents all of Connecticut, and in this matter UConn is creating the impression that Connecticut and its people do not stand behind the agreements they make. And that is a terrible mistake.

Student finds tech future requires design for human needs

Hoping to broaden my worldly outlook, I took an opportunity to attend Education First’s Global Leadership Summit with my fellow classmates. Going to London, Paris, and Berlin with thousands of international students for a leadership conference was more than a vacation. It was founded on an intriguing premise: “The Influence of Technology on Society.”

Bridgeport educator: What gives me hope after a terrible year for teachers

After the disappointing Janus Supreme Court decision that eliminated the “fair share” laws that fund teachers unions like mine, thousands of educators from across the country marched through the streets of Pittsburgh to show support for their unions. After a year of blows to the teaching profession — a U.S. Department of Education that focuses less on protecting students and more on its own destruction, federal and state budget cuts, and the heavy, ever-looming threat of violence in the classroom — my heart warmed when I saw my colleagues resisting after yet another attempt to undermine our collective bargaining rights and disregard our voices. Teachers are willing to speak up on behalf unions. But unions will in turn have to show they understand teachers’ most pressing concerns and are ready to speak up for them.

CSCU successfully graduates students prepared to become productive workforce members

A recent CTViewpoints opinion — Connecticut’s four year public state university graduation rates fall short — correctly observed that Connecticut’s state universities “have a responsibility to help students graduate.”  Their success would “provide the state with more educated individuals equipped to enter the workforce and ultimately, enable them to become more productive citizens.” The good news is that the CSCU universities are in fact successful in achieving that objective. But that was not the conclusion of the author of the op-ed, who argued that six-year graduation rates of the CSCU universities were unacceptably low.

Connecticut’s four-year public state university graduation rates fall short

Low completion rates are a problem at some of Connecticut’s four-year public state institutions. A recent report outlining the number of bachelor’s degree earners reveals a significant gap in the graduation rates between the four-year public state institutions that make up the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities and the University of Connecticut. Although in-state, undergraduate tuition costs at each of the five public institutions are the same, their graduation rates are vastly different. The CSCU graduation rates are lagging behind those at UConn, and strategies need to be instituted in the CSCU system to correct this discrepancy.

Lawmakers let Connecticut sex traffickers off the hook

Little attention had been paid to a proposed bill — An Act Concerning Human Trafficking — that unfortunately died at the end of the 2018 Legislative Session. Given the significant attention and gains that Connecticut has made in recent years in the fight against human trafficking, it was a heartfelt defeat. For nearly a decade, Connecticut has been a leader in the nation in human trafficking reforms that better protect victims, more vigorously prosecute traffickers, and prevent continued victimization.

It’s time for Connecticut to adopt paid family leave

The governor of Massachusetts signed a bill into law recently that would create a paid family and medical leave program, which will go into effect in 2021. Massachusetts’ paid leave program is similar to one that was recently enacted in New York state, as well as a program has been proposed in the Connecticut state legislature. It is time for Connecticut to act by passing a bill during the next legislative session to create a paid family and medical leave program in our state.